A 110-foot-long courtyard surrounded by a majestic Minoan building have been found at Sissi on Crete’s northern coast. It was built around 1700 BCE and with its fine plastered floors, the site is similar in size and opulence to other palaces on the island from the same period. But Sissi lacks many typical palace features. It has no storage rooms, no administrative materials, and no industrial areas. A variety of ritual objects have been found, suggesting that it was used for religious purposes more than governmental ones.
Nearby, a tomb of a woman dating to about 1400 BCE has also been found. The lady was buried with an ivory-handled bronze mirror, a necklace of gold beads, and bone and bronze pins which held her clothing. The tomb is typical Mycenaean, making it the first such grave found so far east on Crete. Her grave is contemporary with a Mycenaean-era complex constructed around 1400 BCE and abandoned around 1200 BCE.
More than two years ago researchers from the University of Cincinnati unearthed a 3,500-year-old tomb in the southwest of Greece. The tomb belonged to a Bronze Age warrior nicknamed the “Griffin Warrior.“ Inside were beautiful treasures, which made headlines and challenged previous theories about how Greek civilization developed.
Almost a year after the tomb was found, a new discovery was made. A tiny, tiny sealstone – just an inch and a half wide. The “Pylos Combat Agate” meticulously displays two warriors engaged in battle with bodies strewn at their feet, with some details less than a millimeter wide. The carving is perhaps most astonishing because it predates artistic skills that were not associated with Greek civilization for another thousand years.
The anatomical precision in the fighter’s muscles, for instance, is not seen again until the classical period of Greek art, around 2,500 years ago. Also astonishing? Magnifying glasses were not believed to be used for another thousand years, either. The anonymous artist either had hawk-level eyesight, or the magnifying glass was invented earlier than previously believed.
One tiny seal is upending archaeologists’ understanding of how ancient Greek art developed and progressed. It shows a sophistication and interest in true-to-life representational art literally centuries ahead of its time.
It appears to have been built in the 1600s to 1500s BCE, during the Mycenaean Age. At the site, archaeologists found objects of worship, clay figurines, a cup adorned with a bull’s head, swords and fragments of murals.
The recent find is being described as a “palace” – despite having just ten rooms. Times have certainly changed in the last 3,500 years.
A new rock-cut chamber tomb has been found in central Greece, near the city of Orchomenos, which was the most important center in the region during the Mycenaean period. Uncovered in a cemetery filled with similar tombs, the new discovery is distinguished by its size: at 452 square feet (42 square meters) it is the 9th largest Mycenaean tomb every excavated. And more than 4,000 Mycenaean tombs have been excavated since 1850!
What is inside this large tomb is also surprising. Contemporary tombs usually house multiple burials, but this tomb has just one. And the artifacts are unusual, too. Tombs from this time period, heck the other Mycenaean tombs in that cemetery, always have painted pottery, yet this burial has very little. In contrast, it has a lot of jewelry, which was previously considered to be for female burials only. This new find is raising a lot of questions about its occupant, and the Mycenaean society where they lived and died.
THE Mycenaean civilization flourished in the late Bronze Age from the 15th to the 13th century BCE, and their artists would continue the traditions passed on to them from MinoanCrete. Pottery, frescoes, and goldwork skillfully depicted scenes from nature, religion, hunting, and war. Developing new forms and styles, Mycenaean art would prove to be more ambitious in scale and range of materials than Cretan art and, with its progression towards more and more abstract imagery, go on to influence later Greek art in the Archaic and Classical periods.
The Mycenaean civilization was based on mainland Greece but ideas and materials came via trading contacts with other cultures across the Mediterranean. Imported materials included gold, ivory (principally from the Syrian elephant), copper, and glass, while in the other direction went Mycenaean goods such as pottery to places as far afield as Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Levant, Anatolia, Sicily, and Cyprus.