The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.

Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.

Grave of ‘Griffin Warrior’ at Pylos

A bronze age tomb filled with epic treasures was found near the palace of the legendary king Nestor 

Archaeologists in Greece unearthed the skeleton of an ancient warrior that has rested undisturbed for more than 3,500 years with more than 1,400 precious objects.

The tomb, found in Pylos, on the southwest coast of Greece, has been hailed by the Greek ministry of culture as “the most important to have been discovered in 65 years in continental Greece.”

The skeleton of the adult male was found this summer by a University of Cincinnati-led international team who was excavating what they initially believed was a Bronze Age house.

Instead, they were presented with a spectacular find.

Stretched out on his back, a skeleton lay on the floor of the grave. Weapons lay to his left, and jewelry to his right.

This gold ring found in the warrior’s grave depicts Minoan imagery of a leaping bull. Four complete solid-gold seal rings to be worn on a human finger were found. This number is more than found with any single burial elsewhere in Greece.

The remains were literally covered with objects. A bronze sword, with the ivory hilt covered in gold, was placed near the head and chest. Next to it was a gold-hilted dagger, while more weapons were found by the man’s legs and feet.

The hilt of a Minoan sword found in the tomb, which was close to the surface but lay undisturbed for 35 centuries. “So many walked over it so many times, including our own team,” said Jack L. Davis, who with his wife, Sharon R. Stocker, has been excavating at Pylos for 25 years.

A plaque of carved ivory with a depiction of a griffon with huge wings lay between the man’s legs, and nearby was a bronze mirror with an ivory handle.

A bronze mirror with an ivory handle found in a grave of a warrior at Pylos in Greece. Credit Department of Classics/University of Cincinnati

Six ivory combs were discovered within the wealthy Mycenaean warrior's tomb. (University of Cincinnati)

Gold cups rested on the chest and stomach, and near the neck the archaeologists found a perfectly preserved gold necklace with two pendants.

Removed from the earth and cleaned, details of the chain, including finials in a “sacral ivy” pattern, become clear. A unique necklace of square box-shaped golden wires, more than 30 inches long with two gold pendants decorated with ivy leaves.

A detail of the chain’s box weave.

Spread around the head were over 1,000 beads of carnelian, amethyst, jasper, agate and gold. Four gold rings, and silver cups as well as bronze bowls, cups, jugs and basins were found nearby.

A clay oil lamp was also unearthed as part of the cache. Dating from the Hellenistic period, the lamp contained some agate stones that were part of a string of beadsNested in the clay oil lamp, the agate stones are extremely well preserved, as if they were brand new.

“It is truly amazing that no ceramic vessels were included among the grave gifts. All the cups, pitchers and basins we found were of metal: bronze, silver and gold. He clearly could afford to hold regular pots of ceramic in disdain,” said Sharon Stocker who, along with husband Jack Davis, led the University of Cincinnati team.

Stashed inside a niche, one of the spelunkers first spotted two ancient silver coins. On one side of the coins was an image of Alexander the Great, while the other side portrayed  Zeus sitting on his throne. The archaeologists believe the coins had been minted in the late fourth century BC at beginning of the Hellenistic Period during the reign of Alexander the Great. 

Alongside the coins, the spelunkers found a small treasure trove: two coins of Alexander of Macedon, three rings, four bracelets, two decorated earrings, three other earrings, probably made of silver, and a small stone weight.

This is one of more than four dozen seal stones with intricate Minoan designs found in the tomb. Long-horned bulls and, sometimes, human bull jumpers soaring over their horns are a common motif in Minoan designs.
Archaeologists said the warrior society that developed on the Greek mainland liked to show off its power through high-quality goods, like Cretan sealstones and gold cups. The carvings on this carnelian seal stone show three bulls reclining.

Whoever he was, he seems to have been celebrated for his trading or fighting in nearby island of Crete and for his appreciation of the more-sophisticated and delicate are of the Minoan civilization, found on Crete, with which he was buried.

Ancient Gold Helmets

Agris helmet

A ceremonial Celtic helmet from c. 350 BC that was found in a cave near Agris, Charente, France, in 1981. It is a masterpiece of Celtic art, and would probably have been used for display rather than worn in battle. The helmet consists of an iron cap completely covered with bands of bronze. The bronze is in turn covered with unusually pure gold leaf, with embedded coral decorations attached using silver rivets.

Celtic helmet decorated with gold "triskeles", found in Amfreville-sous-les-Monts, France. 400 BC

Golden Roman helmet found in village of Berkasovo (Srem, Serbia). Beginning of IV century AD. Museum of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia  

A Scythian gold helmet from the fourth century B.C.

Brass Corinthian helmet with laurel wreath finished in gold. Worn by the Kings Bodyguard/Basilikon Somatophylax.