Roadworks in southern Greece have unearthed a rare Mycenaean grave thought to be well over 3,000 years old and containing important burial offerings including a gold chalice, the culture ministry said on Monday.
Archaeologists said it appeared to be the grave of a local military official and was the first time a single grave had been found with such a combination of objects -- including a bronze and gold sword, and a bronze spear point, knife and pot.
Pottery found in the grave dated it to around 1,200 BC.
"It included one dead body in a fetal position, whose bones had disintegrated," the ministry said in a statement. "But the burial offerings are in very good condition and especially important."
The Bronze Age grave, found near the town of Agrinio in the Peloponnese, measures 1.48 by 0.78 meters (yards) and is made with limestone slabs.
The Mycenaean civilization flourished from 1600 to 1100 BC, building great walled cities, such as Mycenae, across the Peloponnese. Homer's Iliad tells of the conquest of Troy by the Mycenaean kings.
"This is a very important discovery because it gives us clues as to the social and military dominance enjoyed by the people of this era," said archaeologist Maria Gatsi, in charge of excavations in the area.