Ancient Greece treasure trove stunned researchers: ‘Nothing like it found in a century’

Ancient Greece: Archaeologists on 'special' discovery

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The ancient Greeks ruled the country from around 700 to 480 BC. They helped oversee major advances in the arts, poetry and technology, and created something known as the polis, or city state. This became the defining feature of Greek political life for hundreds of years.

While Greece was, for its time, modern and advanced, the period before, the ‘Greek Dark Ages’, saw people live scattered across the lands in small farming communities.

As their villages grew in population size, they also expanded into new territories, before building walls, marketplaces and community meeting places.

They developed governments and organised their citizens according to what we might interpret as a constitution or set of laws.

They collected taxes, raised armies, and became a force to be reckoned with.

Myriad relics from the period known as ‘Ancient Greece’ have been unearthed over the years.

Each has offered a brief window into an otherwise lost world, with the discovery of an ancient treasure hoard in 2015 unlike anything found in recent times.

The Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, ‘Secrets’, explored husband and wife archaeology team Sharon Stoker and Jack Davis’ stellar find: a treasure hoard.

They have been working in Pylos, southwest Greece, for 30 years, excavating an ancient site surrounded by tombs dating back to the world of Greek myth and legend.

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The palace of the legendary Greek King Nestor has long been thought to be located in this area.

Believing the site still held secrets, Ms Stoker and Mr Davis cast their net beyond the palace walls, setting to work on an abandoned olive grove.

Ms Stocker noted: “We noticed that there were several stones on the surface of the earth, and immediately we started excavating.”

Mr Davis added: “As we went deeper, the four walls of a fairly small shaft began to emerge.”


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Ten days into the excavation, the team hit something “remarkable”: a thick layer of bronze.

Mr Davis said: “We were about a metre deep into the shaft and had found next to nothing, and then suddenly there was a thick layer of bronze, and we knew we had something special at that point.”

Mr Davis said: “Everything was made of something precious: precious stones, substantial amounts of gold and silver.”

The documentary’s narrator noted: “The team had unearthed a treasure trove so rare nothing like it had been found on Greek soil for more than a century.”

Mr Davis said: “Everything was made of something precious: precious stones, substantial amounts of gold and silver.”

Also in the pit were weapons, armour, gold rings and jewellery with intricate carvings of heroine sciences.

A potential reason as to why the treasure hoard was ever buried was potentially found, too, when the team came across the skeleton of a man.

As Ms Stocker explained: “He was of moderate stature, between 30 and 35 years old.

“His leg bones and his arm bones are slightly bent, which suggests that he was very, very strong.”

Several goods were found in the mystery man’s tomb.

And researchers came across images of animals and mythical beasts which were similar in style to those found on the nearby palace walls.

They named the skeleton the ‘Griffin Warrior’, inspired by the eagle-headed lion of Greek legend.

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