Greece’s Culture Ministry announced that American archaeologists have discovered two monumental royal tombs dating from about 3,500 years ago near a major Mycenaean-era palace in the Peloponnese.
The Ministry said the archaeologists discovered the tombs near a large Bronze Age palace of Pylos that featured in Homer’s Odyssey. Recovered grave goods included a golden seal ring and a golden Egyptian amulet.
According to the archaeologists, the dome-shaped roofs of both tombs near the Bronze Age palace of Pylos collapsed during antiquity, and the chambers became filled with so much earth and rubble that grave robbers couldn’t get in to plunder them.
Recovered goods from the two tombs included a golden seal ring and a golden amulet of an ancient Egyptian goddess, highlighting Bronze Age trade and cultural links. The ministry said the discovery was particularly important as it shed light on the early phases of Greece’s Mycenaean civilization.
The larger of the two tombs had a diameter of 12 meters (36 feet) at floor level and its stone walls survived to a height of 4.5 meters (15 feet) — less than half its original height. The other was about two-thirds of that size and its walls now stand two meters high. Both belong to the tholos type of tomb, massive domed underground constructions reserved for Mycenaean royalty that could reach roughly 15 meters (45 feet) in height.
The royal tombs feature in Homer’s Odyssey as the seat of the wise King Nestor.
*Images courtesy of Greece’s Culture Ministry