Friday, October 3, 2008
Mycenaean warrior used 'imported sword'
Confirmation of ancient trade is always good; however, the trade talked about in this article is rather late in the proceedings. Trade was going on at least 1400 years before, among Egypt, the city-states in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley cities, as well as the population centers on the Persian Plateau. There is a wee bit of evidence suggesting trade with ancient China too, long before it became a unified "state" in 22o BCE and the silk road became regularly travelled. A cache of ancient Egyptian maces dating to circa 3400 BCE was discovered in northwestern China a few years back (I read about it in 2001); and a remnant of silk fabric which, at the time, could only have come from China, was recovered in an ancient Egyptian queen's tomb. Over time declines in contacts would arise due to natural disasters and war (such as when the Hyksos attacked and conquered part of Egypt in the 17th century BCE, the explosion of the volcano on Thera in circa 1550 BCE, etc.) that then had to be re-established and built-up once again. This cycle may have occurred several times in pre-history and in historical times, but no evidence remains today. Finds such as this Myceanean sword from Italy are therefore priceless in assisting historians in attempting to fill in so many of the large blanks in our collective past. Many chess historians espouse the theory that chess was a gradual synthesis of several different board games that were played among the merchants of many different cultures travelling along the silk road (and in the centers of trade along the way), and in this way was also spread from west to east (or vice versa :)) From howrah.org 03 October, 2008 03:02:49 A Mycenaean warrior who died in western Greece over 3,000 years ago was the proud owner of a rare gold-wired sword imported from the Italian peninsula, a senior archaeologist said on Thursday. "This is a very rare discovery, particularly because of the gold wire wrapped around the hilt," archaeologist Maria Gatsi told AFP. "To my knowledge, no such sword has ever been found in Greece," said Gatsi, head of the regional archaeological department of Aetoloakarnania prefecture. Tests in Austria have confirmed that the bronze used in the 12th century BCE, 94-centimetre (37-inch) sword came from the Italian peninsula, she said. The Mycenaean remains were discovered in July 2007 near the town of Amphilochia, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of Athens during construction work on a new motorway, Ionia Odos. Archeologists also discovered a second bronze sword with a bone handle, a bronze and iron dagger, a pair of greaves (armoured plates), an arrowhead, a spear point, a golden kylix or wine cup and a bronze boiler in the grave. The finds confirm the Mycenaeans were trading with other civilisations in the Mediterranean basin. The dagger is also considered a rare discovery because of the combination of metals used. Conquerors of the Minoan civilisation, the Mycenaeans flourished between the 17th century BCE and the 12th century BCE, occupying much of the Greek mainland and establishing colonies in Asia Minor and on Cyprus.