Palace of Nestor Excavations & the Griffin Warrior Tomb

Since the summer of 2017, I’ve been heading down to the SW Peloponnese in Greece to work at the Palace of Nestor Excavations directed by the University of Cinncinati. I was brought on to work on the metals finds discovered in the tomb of the “Griffin Warrior” and those artifacts are pretty spectacular. When people find out I work on archaeological excavations they always ask about finding or working on gold (after I get asked what is the coolest object I’ve ever conserved), and now I can say to them I have actually worked on/found on gold on site.

 

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Photomicrograph showing the engraving of Hathor’s face on the back surface of a gold pendant excavated outside the area of the Palace of Nestor (image taken from the New York Times article on the excavation)

 

During the last part of the 2018 season I started working on material from the current excavations at the site.  Because we don’t have permission from the various Greek authorities to post pictures of the objects we’re working on, and we don’t want to share them widely so as not to encourage looting, I don’t get to show people the artifacts I conserve on the project.  But last month the project directors shared their recent discoveries with the media (two tholoi tombs filled with pretty amazing finds) which included a gold pendant with the face of Hathor on it, an Egyptian goddess who’s image on the object provide info on imports and trade.  More exciting for me was the use of an image I took under the microscope of the back of the pendant.  The photomicrograph below which was published in the New York Times (as well as in several other publications) was taken using a DinoLite USB microscope and was done during the cleaning of the back of the pendant which has a shallow engraving of Hathor’s face and some lotus flowers.  Though the object is not entirely cleaned (so not such a great photo) it’s pretty cool to see a picture of an object you worked on in the NYT and your name in the photo credit!

 

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Image of a large handle and gilded decorative strip from a copper alloy vessel found in the grave of the Griffin Warrior. This handle was a piece I worked on during the summer of 2018 which also ended up having gilding under the thick layer of copper corrosion (Image taken from Griffin Warrior Tomb facebook page)

 

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