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UC Researchers Honored In Greece For Discovery Of 'Bronze Age Masterpiece'

UC Classics Department Head Jack Davis and Senior Research Associate Sharon Stocker.

The discovery of what is now known as the "Griffin Warrior" has landed high praise for two researchers from the University of Cincinnati.

Classics Department Head Jack Davis and Senior Research Associate Sharon Stocker, who are married and spend much of their time in Greece, made several groundbreaking archaeological discoveries in Pylos that are shaping our understanding of ancient Greece, including unearthing the tomb of the ancient warrior. 

The president of Greece awarded them the Order of the Phoenix, one of the most prestigious awards given in Greece, for their work.

"Greece is my second home, a nation with a people that I love and respect dearly," Davis said. "I am pleased to have been able to serve Greece in such a way that its government deems me worthy of such a high recognition." 

The award was established in 1926 to recognize Greeks who distinguish themselves in fields such as science, the arts or industry or foreigners who contribute to enhancing Greece's international stature in those fields. The award is named for the mythical bird that rises from the ashes as a symbol of rebirth.

"The recognition bestowed by the Greek government to Professor Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker highlights the value that our researchers in Classics bring to the University of Cincinnati," said Valerio Ferme, dean of UC's College of Arts and Sciences.

"Their world-renowned discoveries in Pylos confirm the significance that committing to humanistic goals has for the development of our educational enterprise: It innovates, it impacts well beyond our region and it bridges cultural oceans to bring people together across time and spatial differences."

In 2015, the UC researchers discovered the tomb of an ancient Greek leader they called the "Griffin Warrior" for the mythological Griffin — part eagle, part lion — adorning his ivory plaque. The tomb contained weapons and other artifacts, including a sealstone depicting mortal combat that contained such exquisite detail and beauty that Archaeology Magazine hailed it as a Bronze Age masterpiece.

So, what can we learn from the Griffin Warrior, his tomb's contents, and the relationship between his people and others' during that ancient period?

Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker join Cincinnati Edition to explain.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.