Channel 5: UC's Griffin Warrior featured in 'Greek Odyssey'

UC Classics' discoveries in Greece tell story of life in ancient Greece

The University of Cincinnati's 2015 discovery of a Bronze Age warrior's tomb in Greece was featured on a new British television series called “A Greek Odyssey.”

The UC Classics Department's Sharon Stocker, a senior research associate, gave host Bettany Hughes a tour of the former site of the Palace of Nestor at Pylos, Greece, where her team is still conducting research on the family tombs found near the tomb of the Griffin Warrior.

“This is like a kind of cathedral. It's incredible,” said Hughes, who is following the mythical trail of Odysseus across the Mediterranean for the new series.

While Channel 5’s crew was filming, UC’s team continued to unearth gold artifacts.

“The color is so bright yellow. Even after thousands of years, it still has that glitter to it. It's amazing,” Hughes said.

Classics Department Head Jack Davis and Stocker discovered the 3,500-year-old tomb of the Griffin Warrior in 2015 in an olive grove where the late UC Classics Head Carl Blegen and Greek archaeologist Konstantinos Kourouniotis discovered the Palace of Nestor. Blegen had wanted to explore the olive groves in 1939 but could not get permission from the land owners at the time, so the startling discovery would wait nearly 80 years for another UC archaeology team.

The Griffin Warrior was named for the mythological creature, part eagle, part lion, engraved on an ivory plaque in his tomb, which contained armor, weaponry and gold jewelry. Among the priceless objects of art was an agate sealstone depicting mortal combat with such fine detail that Archaeology hailed it as a “Bronze Age masterpiece.”

“We can tell he was a relatively young man, probably 30 to 35 years old, and that he was robust,” Stocker told the Channel 5 host. “He probably played many roles in society. I think he was a leader, a warrior and held some kind of religious function as well.”

In 2017, the UC team uncovered adjacent family tombs containing more artifacts that are shedding light on life in ancient Greece.

The UC discoveries have captured the imaginations of historians around the world and were featured in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, the archaeology journal Hesperia and National Geographic, among others.

After seeing four beautiful signet rings depicting Greek life 3,500 years ago, Hughes was nearly struck speechless.

“It’s mind-blowingly extraordinary,” she said. “It’s just wonderful to find history still being made here in this exceptional place.”

Featured image at top:  UC archaeologist Sharon Stocker, center, gives Channel 5 host Bettany Hughes a tour of the excavation at Pylos, Greece. Photo/Channel 5

Bettany Hughes and Sharon Stocker talk at the archaeology site.

Channel 5 host Bettany Hughes, left, talks to UC senior research associate Sharon Stocker about UC's discovery of the Griffin Warrior in 2015 and the more recent discovery of family tombs at Pylos, Greece. Photo/Channel 5

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