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.