Greek Archaeologists Unearth 'Palace' Near Sparta
Greek archaeologists say they've found an artifact-rich building complex of at least 10 rooms quite close to Sparta, the famously militaristic city-state that dominated much of Greece at various points in ancient history. Known as Ayios Vassileios, the site, located about 7.5 miles from Sparta, has been excavated since 2009. The archaeologists believe the complex, dating to the 17th–16th centuries BCE, may be a palace built by the Mycenaeans, whose exploits inspired Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.
Among the finds are devotional objects, including clay cattle and ivory male figurines, a bull's head rhyton, a seal depicting a nautilus, stone jugs, decorative objects and gems (including an Egyptian scarab), 20 bronze swords that may have once been stored in a box, and fragments of broken frescos with Mycenaean motifs. Intriguingly, they also unearthed clay tablets inscribed in Linear B, the earliest form of Greek, which mention men's and women's names, place names, and sacred supplies. It's unclear whether the tablets are as old as the complex, but if they are, they could be the oldest known examples of Linear B by a few hundred years.
The complex was largely destroyed sometime around the 14th century BCE, possibly by a fire.