3,300-Year-Old Chamber Tombs Filled With Bones Discovered in Greece

3,300-Year-Old Chamber Tombs Filled With Bones Discovered in Greece

Aerial view of the two newly discovered tombs on the eastern side of the Mycenaean cemetery at the Aidonia burial site in Greece, next to tombs from a previous excavation. (Photo Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Corinth)

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Archaeologists have unearthed two intact chamber tombs dating to the late Mycenaean period (1400 to 1200 B.C.) at a burial ground in southern Greece.

The discovery was made at the Aidonia burial site, which is known for its collection of tombs, near the town of Nemea in the Peloponnesian Peninsula, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport.

One of the rock-cut tombs featured an intact roof and contained the bones of 14 people whose remains had been transferred there from other burial sites, in addition to two complete burials.

The roof of the other newly discovered tomb had collapsed – likely during the late Mycenaean period or late Bronze Age — but still had three primary burials within it.

Both chamber tombs also contained an array clay pots and figurines, as well as other small objects, such as buttons.

The Ministry said the discoveries will help researchers shed more light on the Mycenaean civilization.

Aidonia had been the site of previous excavations which have unearthed burial sites from the early Mycenaean period (1600 to 1400 BC). In the 1970s, 20 chamber tombs were uncovered. However, those tombs had been extensively looted, most likely during the winter of 1976-1977.

Those tombs contained table and storage vessels, as well as weapons and other objects which would have belonged to high-status individuals.

“These [new] findings are contrasted with the burial sites of the early Mycenaean period (circa 1,600- 1,400 B.C.), which were excavated in Aidonia in previous years and included table and storage vessels, weapons and prestigious objects,” a statement from the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport read.

“The two new, asylum-like, Mycenaean chamber tombs at Aidonia pave the way for an understanding of the site’s evolution over time and its relationship to the palatial systems of the surrounding areas, particularly Mycenae.”

The Mycenaean civilization flourished in the late Bronze Age, spanning the period from approximately 1600–1100 BC. It represents the first advanced civilization in mainland Greece, with its palatial states, urban organization, works of art, and writing system.