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Thread: The Mycenaean "Griffin" warrior redux

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    3 out of 4 members found this post helpful.

    The Mycenaean "Griffin" warrior redux



    Long article about him in Archaeology Magazine. Great pictures too.

    See:
    https://www.archaeology.org/issues/3...-warrior-grave


    "Scholars are now beginning to believe that the shift from the Minoan to Mycenaean world may not have been a sharp transition achieved through colonization or conquest, but a more complicated process of cultural mixture and communication that only came to an end when mainland Mycenaean culture took over Crete around 1400 B.C. Says Jan Driessen, a Minoan specialist at the Catholic University of Louvain, “There’s no way to overestimate the tomb’s importance.”"

    "
    Just 500 years before the Griffin Warrior lived, in the Middle Bronze Age, it would likely have been easy to distinguish a mainlander from a Minoan. Although Crete is separated from the Greek mainland by only about 100 miles, the people who lived on the island in the early second millennium B.C. did not have much in common with their neighbors across the Aegean Sea. By 1900 B.C., a sophisticated culture existed on Crete, boasting palaces built using finely cut stonework known as ashlar, a belief system that featured a central goddess figure and other divinities, and the widespread use of bull imagery in its art, none of which were in evidence at this time on the mainland. Excavations at Minoan sites on the island undertaken over the last century show that, starting in the late third millennium B.C., the Minoans’ trade networks were far more extensive than those of contemporary mainlanders. Artifacts found at such Cretan sites as Knossos include imported stone vases and jewelry from Egypt and the Levant, rare commodities on the mainland at this time. The Minoans further distinguished themselves from the mainlanders by their artistic prowess, particularly with regard to gold- and stonework. Minoan craftsmanship was, for centuries, superior to anything found on the mainland."

    "
    beginning around 1600 B.C., the comparatively unsophisticated culture on the mainland underwent a radical transformation. “In time, there’s a blossoming of wealth and culture,” Stocker says. “Palaces are built, wealth accumulates, and power is consolidated in places such as Pylos and Mycenae.” The reasons for this leap forward are unknown. For a few centuries, the mainlanders imitated the Minoans. "

    "
    Half a century later, that interpretation was upended. When clay tablets found at Pylos and other sites, including Mycenae, were deciphered in the 1950s, the story was pushed in a completely different direction. Linear B resembled Crete’s Linear A, but recorded an entirely different language—Mycenaean Greek. It became clear that it was related to the language of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and, more distantly, to the other Indo-European languages, from Sanskrit to English. Scholars today can peruse the bureaucratic records left behind in the Palace of Nestor, while Linear A and the language it records remain an impenetrable mystery.[COLOR=#707070 !important][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#707070 !important]The discovery and decipherment of Linear B led scholars to rethink the relationship between Mycenae and Crete. Not only were the Mycenaeans the true forebears of the ancient Greeks, scholars argued, they were indiscriminate thieves who imported or copied Minoan objets d’art without understanding their meaning or significance. “At the time, most scholars were thinking of hostile takeovers, not cooperative ventures,” says archaeologist Cynthia Shelmerdine of the University of Texas at Austin.[/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#707070 !important][/COLOR]
    [COLOR=#707070 !important]The Griffin Warrior’s grave and its contents are once again changing interpretations of the relationship between the Minoans and Mycenaeans. Much of this has been made possible by the fact that he was buried alone, and that his tomb was discovered undisturbed. "

    "Stocker and Davis have spent the last several years building a case that the Griffin Warrior, and the people who buried him, were not just avid collectors of Minoan art but were also highly clued in to its symbolism. “The Griffin Warrior is saying, ‘I’m part of that Minoan world,’” Stocker explains. “There’s a story we can get at with this burial that we haven’t been able to before.” Scholars agree that the grave is more than a random collection of Mycenaean and Minoan objects. “Here, Cretan art is being reused and repurposed in a local context,” says Nakassis. “That tells us there was a strong connection between people living in Pylos and Crete, a highly informed network of goods, and probably of people, across the Aegean. These weren’t unsophisticated rubes who didn’t understand the beauty and grace of the art they were burying.” Instead, they were deliberately creating a reflection of their worldview."

    "The sheer number of carved rings and seal stones reinforces the idea that there was something more than mimicry going on. Driessen says seal stones such as those found in the Griffin Warrior’s tomb were highly individual objects that were used by the Minoans for bureaucratic functions, such as to signal identity on official documents. A Minoan would have had one ring or seal stone, or maybe two—but not 50. “It doesn’t make sense to have fifty seal stones,” Driessen says. “The Griffin Warrior was showing off, or maybe the ones who buried him were showing off. There’s obviously Minoan influence, but I do think some of these objects were not used in the same way the Minoans used them.”"
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    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    Interesting. Thank you very much for the information.

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    what is the date of the grave?

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    2 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    what is the date of the grave?
    Around 1450 BC.

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Around 1450 BC.
    Some more samples of Mycenaeans have been discovered, which are a little later:

    "3300 year old chamber tombs discovered in Greece"
    https://www.archaeology.org/news/793...-chamber-tombs


    "According to The Greek Reporter, two chamber tombs dating to the Late Mycenaean period (1400–1200 B.C.) have been discovered at the Aidonia burial site, which is located near the ancient town of Nemea in southern Greece. One of the rock-cut tombs had an intact roof and contained the bones of 14 people whose remains had been moved from other burial sites, in addition to two complete burials. The roof of the second tomb, which contained three burials, had collapsed. Pottery, figurines, and other small artifacts such as buttons were also recovered from both of the tombs."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Some more samples of Mycenaeans have been discovered, which are a little later:

    "3300 year old chamber tombs discovered in Greece"
    https://www.archaeology.org/news/793...-chamber-tombs


    "According to The Greek Reporter, two chamber tombs dating to the Late Mycenaean period (1400–1200 B.C.) have been discovered at the Aidonia burial site, which is located near the ancient town of Nemea in southern Greece. One of the rock-cut tombs had an intact roof and contained the bones of 14 people whose remains had been moved from other burial sites, in addition to two complete burials. The roof of the second tomb, which contained three burials, had collapsed. Pottery, figurines, and other small artifacts such as buttons were also recovered from both of the tombs."
    so, we can expect more DNA from the late Mycenean elite?

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    so, we can expect more DNA from the late Mycenean elite?
    I would sure hope so, Bicicleur. The value will depend on the quality of the samples, though, i.e. how much information they can get out of them.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, Angela. It seems to me that this new archaeological discovery confirms what Iosif Lazaridis discovered with his study on Minoans and Mycenaeans.

    "the shift from the Minoan to Mycenaean world may not have been a sharp transition achieved through colonization or conquest, but a more complicated process of cultural mixture and communication that only came to an end when mainland Mycenaean culture took over Crete around 1400 B.C."

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pax Augusta View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, Angela. It seems to me that this new archaeological discovery confirms what Iosif Lazaridis discovered with his study on Minoans and Mycenaeans.

    "the shift from the Minoan to Mycenaean world may not have been a sharp transition achieved through colonization or conquest, but a more complicated process of cultural mixture and communication that only came to an end when mainland Mycenaean culture took over Crete around 1400 B.C."
    I think that's right, Pax.

    It might also suggest that as he stated one of the possibilities may be that we have a situation where the people of the two areas were already "related", already sharing not only genes but perhaps certain cultural affinities, but that the mainlanders received some steppe mixture earlier, it spreading only later, and more thinly, to Crete.

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