Pylos excavation findings make Greek archaeologists revise beliefs on Mycenaean Era civilization

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Pylos excavation findings make Greek archaeologists revise beliefs on Mycenaean Era civilizationClay tablet inscribed with Linear B script, from the Mycenaean palace of Pylos. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Sharon Mollerus License: CC-BY-SA

“The results of the excavations carried out by the Archaeological Society at Iklaina in Messinia have led us to revise our knowledge about the Mycenean states, with truly unexpected findings,” the chief archaeologist in charge of the dig Prof. Michalis Kosmopoulos of Missouri-St. Louis University unveiled in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA) published on Saturday.

He revealed that digs at Iklaina have revealed one of the capitals of the Mycenean kingdom of Pylos but the finds have radically changed what archaeologists believed until that time.

“Cyclopean architecture, developed urban structures (paved roads and plazas, water supply systems, central sewage), linear B signs, exceptionally aesthetic murals. On the basis of what we knew until now about Mycenean Greece, such finds were confined to the big palaces (Mycenae, Tirynth, Thebes, Pylos). The finds at Iklaina force us to reexamine the existing evidence from a new angle,” he noted.

The discoveries also showed that Iklaina was at some point violently taken over by the nearby kingdom of Pylos while others indicated that it may have been part of an early federal state, like the current United States of America.

“Based on the linear B archives found in Ano Eglianos, which is considered the central capital of the Mycenean kingdom of Pylos, even though Iklaina was a secondary capital of the kingdom and under the authority of the central capital, it had some autonomy. For example, its own governor and its own economic production. Based on existing evidence, this system of governance was the most ancient version of a two-tier governance system: in other words, a central authority and subject semi-independent regions,” Prof. Kosmopoulos clarified.

He added the Minoan and Mycenean kingdoms of ancient Greece were the first certified states of the western world and marked the transition from a world without states to a world where the state was the prevailing political institution.

What may (or may not) be a bath at the Palace of Nestor in Pylos. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Alun Salt License: CC-BY-SA

History of Pylos

Pylos has a long history, having been inhabited since Neolithic times. It was a significant kingdom in Mycenaean Greece, with remains of the so-called "Palace of Nestor" excavated nearby, named after Nestor, the king of Pylos in Homer's Iliad. In Classical times, the site was uninhabited, but became the site of the Battle of Pylos in 425 BC, during the Peloponnesian War. Pylos is scarcely mentioned thereafter until the 13th century, when it became part of the Frankish Principality of Achaea. Increasingly known by its French name of Port-de-Jonc or its Italian name Navarino, in the 1280s the Franks built the Old Navarino castle on the site. Pylos came under the control of the Republic of Venice from 1417 until 1500, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans used Pylos and its bay as a naval base, and built the New Navarino fortress there. The area remained under Ottoman control, with the exception of a brief period of renewed Venetian rule in 1685–1715 and a Russian occupation in 1770–71, until the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt recovered it for the Ottomans in 1825, but the defeat of the Turco-Egyptian fleet in the 1827 Battle of Navarino forced Ibrahim to withdraw from the Peloponnese and confirmed Greek independence.

Pylos has evidence of continuous human presence dating back to the Neolithic Age. In Mycenaean times, it was an important centre often referred to as Nestor's kingdom of "sandy Pylos" and described by Homer in Book 17 of the Odyssey when Telemachus says:

"we went to Pylos and to Nestor, the shepherd of the people, and he received me in his lofty house and gave me kindly welcome, as a father might his own son who after a long time had newly come from afar: even so kindly he tended me with his glorious sons."

The Mycenaean state of Pylos (1600–1100 BC) covered an area of 2,000 sq km and had a minimum population of 50,000 according to the Linear B tablets discovered there, or even perhaps as large as 80,000–120,000. It included the important regional capital of Iklaina (ca. 1600-1100 BC).

The Pylos site was excavated by Carl Blegen between 1939 and 1952. It is located at modern Ano Englianos, about 9 km north-east of the bay 37.028°N 21.695°E. Blegen identified the remains found there as the great "Palace of Nestor" described in the Homeric poems. Linear B tablets found by Blegen clearly demonstrate that the site itself was called Pylos by its Mycenaean inhabitants. This site was abandoned sometime after the 8th century BC and burned to the ground.

The ruins of a crude stone fortress on nearby Sphacteria Island, apparently of Mycenaean origin, were used by the Spartans during the Peloponnesian War. (Thucydides iv. 31)

The Pylos Combat Agate, an ancient object found in Pylos, Greece and created around 1450 BCE. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: BrendonTheWizard  License: CC-BY-SA

Classical Pylos

According to the Greek historian Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War, in the 5th century BCE the area was "together with most of the country round, unpopulated".

The ancient city was not located at the modern Pylos, but north of the isle of Sphacteria. In 425 BC the Athenian politician Cleon sent an expedition to Pylos where the Athenians fortified the rocky promontory now known as Koryphasion or Old Pylos at the northern edge of the bay, near the Gialova Lagoon, and after a conflict with Spartan ships in the Battle of Pylos, seized and occupied the bay.

A little later the Athenians captured a number of Spartan troops besieged on the adjacent island of Sphacteria (see Battle of Sphacteria). Spartan anxiety over the return of the prisoners, who were taken to Athens as hostages, contributed to their acceptance of the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC.

Modern day Pylos with Sfaktiria port. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright: Dnalor 01 License: CC-BY-SA

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons Copyright:  License: CC-BY-SA


 

Tornos
  1. 17/02 18:48

    Spokesperson Gerry Rice: IMF’s mission is a debt relief for Greece

  2. 17/02 18:43

    British ambassador to bring more UK companies in Greece for investment

  3. 17/02 18:37

    Two clubs on Mykonos and Rhodes islands among the 100 best in the world

  4. 17/02 18:31

    Nine groups show interest in northern Greece's Egnatia Odos management

  5. 17/02 18:27

    Ambassador Ben-Abba: Great improvement in Greek-Israeli tourism relations

  6. 17/02 18:23

    Two binding offers for majority stake in Greek gas transmission operator

  7. 17/02 18:19

    Fitch upgrades Greece's credit rating from B- to B

  8. 17/02 18:11

    Greek residential prices continue to drop in 2017, but slower than in 2016

  9. 17/02 18:04

    Global olive oil competition shows Greece as top producer

  10. 17/02 17:40

    Patras hotels occupancy at 90% as Carnival 2018 concludes with Grand Parade on Sunday

  11. 17/02 17:18

    Wyndham sells European rentals arm to Platinum for $1.3 billion

  12. 17/02 17:08

    Where did Russian tourists travel in 2017

  13. 17/02 16:56

    Five women from Rhodes fight for repatriation of Parthenon Marbles

  14. 17/02 14:57

    TUI: Greek hotels prevail in new Small & Friendly collection

  15. 17/02 10:38

    Tour operator Thomas Cook returns to Tunisia this year

  16. 16/02 22:10

    Bribery scandal rocks international RIU hotel chain in Miami

  17. 16/02 22:01

    Hotels: Zeus International undertakes management of the Hilton in Milan

  18. 16/02 21:57

    Travelgenio signs new multi-year partnership agreement with Travelport

  19. 16/02 21:53

    Greek state budget records primary surplus of 2.7 billion euros in January

  20. 16/02 21:48

    Greece's trade balance widens in 2017 as exports and imports grow

  21. 16/02 21:44

    Greek merchant shipping fleet grows again in numbers during December

  22. 16/02 21:35

    Chinese New Year: World’s largest human travel has started

  23. 16/02 21:20

    Hydrocarbon exploration to focus on region south of Crete island in Greece

  24. 16/02 21:12

    Greek-Chinese group express interest in Egnatia Road tender

  25. 16/02 21:04

    Thessaloniki Documentary Festival turns 20 amid fake news onslaught

  26. 16/02 20:57

    Naxos island and Small Cyclades presented at BIT 2018 show in Milan

  27. 16/02 19:48

    Media: Greek banks to further ease capital controls in next few days

  28. 16/02 19:42

    President of Ireland to visit Greece on between February 22-23

  29. 16/02 19:33

    Greek War of Independence treasures in Athens National Historical Museum

  30. 16/02 19:26

    Increased traffic measures for mass exodus of Clean Monday holiday in Greece

  31. 16/02 19:20

    Report: Greeks celebrated Valentine's Day by exchanging books

  32. 16/02 19:13

    Markets, bakeries and food shops to stay open until midday in Greece on Clean Monday

  33. 16/02 19:09

    Visit the archaeological site of Cape Sounio near Athens, Greece

  34. 16/02 19:03

    Tourist arrivals from India to Greece expected to rise in 2018

  35. 16/02 18:52

    Pending EU approval for Athens airport concession extension delays selling of shares

  36. 16/02 16:48

    Greek Tourism Secretary-General points to investment opportunities in the sector

  37. 16/02 14:34

    Twitter: Fans want Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt reunion after their divorces

  38. 16/02 12:28

    8th UNWTO Meeting on Silk Road Tourism in Thessaloniki in October

  39. 16/02 10:13

    Intriguing discoveries at Vryokastro ancient sanctuary on Kythnos island

  40. 15/02 22:37

    87% of Ryanair flights arrived on time in January

  41. 15/02 22:29

    Most popular Greek hotels of German holidaymakers

  42. 15/02 22:20

    German tourism: Two-digit increase in summer bookings during January

  43. 15/02 22:11

    Smartwings: Two new connections from France to Rhodes in 2018

  44. 15/02 21:00

    German tourism turns to Greece, Turkey and Egypt as demand for Spain drops

  45. 15/02 20:53

    Aegean: All international destinations with up to 35% off

  46. 15/02 20:44

    Mykonos among the 10 best solo travel destinations for women

  47. 15/02 20:12

    Cobalt Air: New flight connection from Düsseldorf to Larnaca

  48. 15/02 20:07

    Bank of Greece head takes part in World Bank- IMF meeting on climate change

  49. 15/02 19:54

    Greek water bottling company Zaros' turnover grew by 6.3% due to exports

  50. 15/02 19:42

    Multinational Delivery Hero purchases third online food platform in Greece

  51. 15/02 19:39

    Report: Refugee flows to the Aegean islands very low in February

  52. 15/02 19:33

    Ghost village of Sfendyli rises from the water in Crete (video)

  53. 15/02 19:27

    333-year-old French maps of Aegean on show in Greece's Thessaloniki (video)

  54. 15/02 19:21

    Change: The Story of Coins at National Hellenic Museum on March 4th

  55. 15/02 19:14

    Greek supermarket chain Metro expands in home items and HORECA markets

  56. 15/02 19:07

    Athens cheapest destination for German tourists

  57. 15/02 19:03

    FYROM's decision to change airport and motorway name announced officially

  58. 15/02 18:58

    “Creon” weather front with heavy snow hits central parts of Greece

  59. 15/02 18:52

    Bank of Greece: Apartment prices drop 1% in 2017

  60. 15/02 18:41

    Greek Festival of Sydney to be held this weekend

  61. 15/02 17:45

    5th Boat & Fishing Show and Sea & Tourism Expo on March 16-18

  62. 15/02 16:07

    TripAdvisor: Experiences, tours and activities global trends report for 2018

  63. 15/02 12:58

    Costa Navarino welcomes golfers from around the world at the 2nd Messinia Pro-Am

  64. 15/02 10:54

    First TUI Blue Hotel opens in Portugal

  65. 15/02 02:37

    BoG head discusses NPLs and EU regulations with Hellenic Bank Association

  66. 15/02 02:30

    Report: Leadership 100 Conference a Great Success (video)

  67. 15/02 02:26

    Trading of Greek new 7-year bond to commence on Thursday

  68. 15/02 02:23

    Report: Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street turns into biggest ever Greek festival

  69. 15/02 02:17

    Poseidonia 2018: 260 orders by Greek shipping firms at global shipyards

  70. 15/02 02:14

    Greek State arrears to the private sector down in December

  71. 15/02 02:08

    Fans of Greek Feta cheese rush to protect its slice of market

  72. 15/02 02:01

    GNTO officials at IMTM Fair: Bookings from Israel on rising trend

  73. 15/02 01:37

    44 firms from Greece in Sweets and Snacks fairs in Cologne

  74. 15/02 01:22

    Global shipping exhibition Posidonia 2018 in Athens heading for a record event

  75. 15/02 01:17

    Greek Minister discusses ways to boost tourist arrivals with Serbian ambassador

  76. 15/02 01:10

    Numerous fatalities in school attack in Florida - shooter in custody

  77. 14/02 22:56

    Greek government looking to the tech cloud for greater efficiency

  78. 14/02 20:32

    Greece's Piraeus Port Authority reports higher profits and turnover in 2017

  79. 14/02 16:28

    Six-hour work stoppage to halt Athens buses and trolleys next Tuesday

  80. 14/02 10:06

    New Greek stamp dedicated to 5th century BC girl from Athens

  81. 14/02 01:22

    Fraport Greece: -5.1% traffic at 14 regional airports in January

  82. 14/02 00:47

    ITEP-Hotels: Revenues rise but profits fall behind

  83. 14/02 00:41

    Amadeus and Routehappy bring flight shopping to life for global travelers

  84. 14/02 00:35

    Survey: Celebrating St. Valentine’s Day in Greece

  85. 14/02 00:18

    German tourism: Turkey's strong comeback expected by tour operators

  86. 13/02 23:54

    2 out of 5 Europeans in Greece found employment in tourism in May

  87. 13/02 23:44

    Yiorgos Tsakiris' Kubic Athens Hotel distinguished as "Smart Hotel of the Year"

  88. 13/02 23:24

    9 out of 10 Danes would return for a holiday in Greece

  89. 13/02 22:33

    Greek banks plan for additional provisions of €5.5 billion

  90. 13/02 22:20

    Greek-designed aircraft takes off in northern area of Florina (video)

  91. 13/02 22:15

    USAID-funded simulated Trading Room inaugurated in Athens

  92. 13/02 22:08

    Greek island of Rhodes to take part in IFT 2018 tourism fair in Belgrade

  93. 13/02 22:08

    TUI: Strong increase in demand for Greece during 2018 - good Q1 figures

  94. 13/02 22:05

    Sudden bad weather conditions with possible snow in Greece on Tuesday

  95. 13/02 22:02

    Greek FinMin to meet investment firm reps in Paris and London

  96. 13/02 21:54

    Parade in downtown Athens to honor ancient Greek god Dionysus

  97. 13/02 20:48

    Huawei: 53% of Greeks take their mobile phone to the bed

  98. 13/02 20:33

    Greek privatization fund to sell 5% stake in OTE Telecom Group

  99. 13/02 18:27

    Morgan Stanley: Greek banks will not need extra capital after stress tests

  100. 13/02 16:19

    Leading Greek wine show Oenorama 2018 on March 10-12