NatGeo: 3,500-year-old tomb held treasures of Griffin Warrior

UC Classics discoveries provide better understanding of ancient Greece

National Geographic highlighted the University of Cincinnati's discoveries of an ancient Greek tomb containing weapons, armor and exquisite art that are helping to inform our understanding of life in ancient Greece.

UC Classics professor and department head Jack Davis and senior research associate Sharon Stocker in 2015 discovered the tomb in olive groves at Pylos, Greece, near the Palace of Nestor, itself unearthed by UC Classics professor Carl Blegen before World War II.

"These exquisite artifacts are more than just beautiful; they are evidence of Mycenaean interaction with another culture, the Minoans," National Geographic said.

The tomb belonged to a leader dubbed "the Griffin Warrior" for the half-eagle, half-lion mythological figure emblazoned on an ivory plaque.

The tomb contained a sealstone called the Combat Agate depicting mortal combat between three soldiers wielding shields, spears and swords. Archaeology Magazine called the intricate engraving "a Bronze Age masterpiece."

National Geographic agreed.

"It took roughly a year to clean and preserve the stone once it had been removed from the tomb, but the results were nothing short of amazing. It is considered to be one of the most exquisite hard stone carvings from all antiquity," National Geographic said.

Stocker and Davis were hardly finished with their startling discoveries. In 2019, they found two Bronze Age "princely tombs" containing a trove of engraved jewelry and cultural artifacts that are helping historians fill in gaps of early Greek civilization.

Read the National Geographic story.

Featured image at top: The Combat Agate is one of the more remarkable pieces of ancient Greek art discovered in the tomb of the Griffin Warrior by UC Classics' professor and department head Jack Davis and senior research associate Sharon Stocker. Photo/UC Classics

Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker pose in front of the ruins of the Colosseum.

UC Classics professor Jack Davis and senior research associate Sharon Stocker pose in front of the Colosseum. Photo/Provided

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