The Lord of the Gold Rings: The Griffin Warrior of Pylos

by Jack L. Davis and Sharon R. Stocker

Hesperia, Volume 85, Issue 4
Page(s): 627-655
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.85.4.0627
Year: 2016


In May 2015, a University of Cincinnati team unexpectedly discovered a large stone-built tomb of Late Helladic IIA date near Tholos Tomb IV on the first day of renewed excavations at the Palace of Nestor, Pylos. Hundreds of artifacts of gold, silver, bronze, ivory, and semiprecious stones were found with the body of a single male, 30-35 years old, dubbed the “Griffin Warrior.” Many of the grave goods were manufactured in the Minoan world. Among the gold artifacts were four signet rings decorated with Minoan ritual scenes. Here we discuss the excavation of the grave, describe the rings, and consider the significance of the rings' iconography for the Mycenaeans who buried them.