Newly-discovered Mycenaean tomb near Amfissa, Greece

3,300-year-old Mycenaean tomb and precious artifacts found in Central Greece

(Read the article on one page)

Archaeologists have announced the discovery of a vaulted Mycenaean tomb near Amfissa, central Greece, containing human remains and a hoard of treasures. The 3,300-year-old tomb is the first of its kind to be found in the region, and one of only a few that have been found untouched.  The finding is expected to provide valuable information regarding the habitation, burial customs, and possessions of the Mycenaeans in the 2nd millennium BC.

According to the Greek Reporter , the ancient tomb was found during an irrigation project that required excavation in the area. A preliminary analysis of the monument revealed that grave robbers had tried to gain access to the interior of the tomb in the past, but had failed, allowing the precious grave goods to remain untouched over the millennia.

The tomb is a tholos, or beehive tomb, characterized by a vaulted ceiling created by the superposition of successively smaller rings of mudbricks or, more often, stones. In Greece, the vaulted tholoi are a monumental Late Bronze Age development. After about 1500 BCE, tholoi became more widespread and are found in every part of the Mycenaean heartland. They are typically cut into the slope of a hillside so that only the upper third of the vaulted chamber was above ground level. This masonry was then concealed with a relatively small mound of earth.   After a burial, the entrance to the tomb was filled in with soil, leaving a small mound with most of the tomb underground.  One of the finest examples is the Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae.

The Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae, Greece

The Treasury of Atreus in Mycenae, Greece ( public domain )

Lamiastar.gr reports that the newly-discovered tomb is 9 meters (30ft) long with a circular burial chamber measuring 5.9 meters (19ft) in diameter. The vaulted ceiling had collapsed but the walls of the chamber are well-preserved and maintained a height of almost 3 meters (10ft).

Within the burial chamber, archaeologists found a large number of human bones. The dead had been buried in the floor with their personal belongings until complete decomposition. Their bones had then been pushed near the walls of the tomb in order to create space for newer burials and a few of these were better preserved than the rest. 

The research team, led by chief archaeologist Athanasia Psalti, unearthed many unique and valuable artifacts inside the tomb, including more than forty pieces of painted pottery, bronze vases, small vessels for storing aromatic oils, gold and bronze rings, one of which had an engraved decoration, buttons made of semi-precious stones, two bronze daggers, spearheads, female and zoomorphic idols and a large number of seals with animal, floral and linear motives.

An analysis of the artifacts and remains revealed that the tomb had been in use for more than two centuries, from 1300 BC to 1100 BC.  The full scientific research regarding the finding will be made by a team of archaeologists shortly and is expected to provide new information about the archaeological and historical development of the region.

Video courtesy of Lamiastar.gr showing the newly-discovered tomb and artifacts

The Mycenaean civilization emerged in Greece around 1600 BC, when Helladic culture in mainland Greece was transformed under influences from Minoan Crete. It takes its name from the archaeological site of Mycenae in Argolis, Peloponnese, southern Greece. Unlike the Minoans, whose society benefited from trade, the Mycenaeans advanced through conquest and their civilization was dominated by a warrior aristocracy. Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans extended their control to Crete.

Fresco of a Mycenaean woman

Fresco of a Mycenaean woman ( public domain )

Around 1100 BC, the Mycenaean civilization perished with the collapse of Bronze-Age civilization in the eastern Mediterranean, which is commonly attributed to the Dorian invasion, although alternative theories propose natural disasters and climatic changes.

MORE: 

Featured image: Newly-discovered Mycenaean tomb near Amfissa, Greece.

By April Holloway

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Invention of Wheel - Sumer
In today’s world, technology is developing at an unprecedented rate. The latest gadget today is tomorrow’s antique. As a result of this rapid development of technology, we often take things for...

Ancient Places

Google Earth image of manmade stone structures in Saudi Arabia
Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 peculiar stone structures have been found, dating back thousands of years ago. These stone features were discovered by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an extremely unwelcome and harsh area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article