Found among the Griffin Warrior’s many grave goods, the Combat Agate depicts a scene among three warriors. Two are locked in deadly combat and one has fallen to the ground.

This 3,500-year-old tomb held the treasures of Greece's 'Griffin Warrior'

Discovered in 2015, the warrior's intact tomb not only contained his remains but also weapons, gold, and jewels that all gave new insights into the trade and culture of the ancient Mediterranean.

The fight and the fallen

Found among the Griffin Warrior’s many grave goods, the Combat Agate depicts a scene among three warriors. Two are locked in deadly combat and one has fallen to the ground.
J. Vanderpool/Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati

An olive grove in Southern Greece was the scene of a spectacular discovery in May 2015 when archaeologists discovered the tomb of a man they dubbed the “Griffin Warrior.” Crammed with artifacts, the grave offers up new insights into the origins of the Mycenaean culture whose mythical heroes starred in the Trojan War.

The Griffin Warrior’s tomb is located near Pylos in the Peloponnesian peninsula in southern Greece. The area had been well excavated in the 20th century, leading many to believe there was little left to discover. When the intact warrior’s tomb was uncovered in 2015, experts were surprised and delighted with the discovery. It surely promised to deliver new insights into ancient Greece.

A land of mountains and rugged coasts, the Peloponnese is a place where history and legend are sometimes difficult to separate. The names of its cities and regions—Arcadia, Olympia, Argolis, Corinth—ring out in great myths, legends, poems, and plays. The peninsula was home to Sparta, a key player in the defeat of the Persian Empire in the fifth century B.C., which then took up arms against its former ally, Athens. The grueling Peloponnesian War ended Athens’s brief golden age and profoundly shaped its great tragedians and thinkers.

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