WVXU: Researchers honored in Greece for Bronze Age discoveries

Cincinnati Edition talks to UC Classics researchers about discovery of Griffin Warrior

WVXU's Cincinnati Edition spoke with University of Cincinnati Classics researchers Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker about their incredible discoveries in Pylos, Greece, that are helping to shed light on the Bronze Age.

A sealstone depicts mortal combat between a sword-wielding soldier and another with a spear while a third soldier lies dead on the battlefield.

A sealstone discovered in the grave of the Griffin Warrior depicts mortal combat. Photo/Jeff Vanderpool/UC Classics

Davis, department head in Classics, and Stocker, senior research associate, discovered a Bronze Age tomb in 2015 that contained weapons, jewelry and artifacts. They called its occupant "the Griffin Warrior" for the mythological creature — part eagle, part lion — engraved on an ivory plaque in his tomb. Among the priceless objects of art was an agate sealstone depicting mortal combat with such fine detail that Archaeology magazine hailed it as a “Bronze Age masterpiece.”

"We knew by the end of the first day that we had something significant, but we didn't know just how significant until about a week later when we hit the first piece of bronze," Stocker told WVXU host Michael Monks.

The researchers followed up that amazing find with an equally astounding 2019 discovery of gold-lined princely tombs that likewise contained artifacts that promise to help historians better understand daily life in ancient Greece.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou this year presented the two researchers with one of the country's most prestigious awards, Commander of the Order of the Phoenix, for their contribution to the history of ancient Greece.

Listen to the Cincinnati Edition interview.

Featured image at top: UC Classics researchers Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker were honored by the Greek government this year with the Commander of the Order of the Phoenix medals for their work unlocking secrets of ancient Greece. Photo/Provided

Sharon Stocker kneels to show a correspondent an artifact at the site of the Griffin Warrior and nearby princely tombs.

UC senior research associate gives a tour of UC excavations at Pylos for the British series "Greek Odyssey."