Excavations

Although the current project has been operating at the site since 2015, the Palace of Nestor has been the focus of archaeological excavations for much longer. As each excavation season passes, the story of the area continues to unfold.

Griffin Warrior Tomb

Tsakonas Field

Acropolis

Romanou

1912

North of the bay of Navarino, the Greek Archaeological Service’s Dr. Konstantine Kourouniotis and his team excavate a tholos tomb.

1926

Kourouniotis and his team excavate a tholos tomb similar to the one first excavated in 1912. During this second tholos excavation, they notice surface-level indications of additional tombs in the area.

1938

In a joint Hellenic-American expedition, Kourouniotis, Dr. Carl W. Blegen of the University of Cincinnati, and their team briefly survey the region. They conclude that the high number of royal tombs in the area indicated a nearby palace.

1939

With the help of local residents, namely Charalambos Christophilopoulos of Koryphasion, the joint expedition finds seven or eight Mycenaean sites in ten days.

April 4, 1939

The team begins a trial excavation on the most striking site, Epano Englianos, a hill that has a comprehensive view of the area and contains two masses of concrete-like debris. On the first day, they find stone walls, fragments of frescoes, stucco floors, five inscribed tablets, and Mycenaean pottery. Throughout the season, they uncover more than six hundred tablets and fragments containing Linear B script. It is clear they have found the palace.

1940

WWII prevents an intended second excavation season at the palace.

1945

Kourouniotis passes away, and Professor Spyridon Marinatos is named as his replacement. Marinatos will go on to prefer working on sites surrounding the palace, leaving the palace excavation and cleaning to the Cincinnati team.

 

1952 - 1966

Across fifteen excavation seasons, the Cincinnati team uncovers the Palace of Nestor and the adjacent acropolis.

1960 - 1961

During the winter, the Greek Archaeological Service builds a metal roof over the palace so that out-of-season it can remain uncovered for visitors.

1990s

The Pylos Regional Archaeological Project (PRAP) is formed to reexamine the area and the original finds, particularly in order to determine the size of the surrounding Mycenaean town. The University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Archaeological Researches in the Western Peloponnese (MARWP) prepare a complete architectural plan of the palace remains.

1991 - 1995

Through PRAP, 30 km² in the area are reexamined and 40 km² are explored for the first time.

2015

Directors Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker and their team begin excavations again in the area near the palace, starting in the Tsakonas Field. On the first day of excavations, they discover the grave of the Griffin Warrior.

May - June 2015

The current project carries out excavations at a Mycenaean site near the town of Romanou a few kilometers down the road from the palace.

2015 - 2017

Excavations  continue in Tsakonas Field, the area in which the Griffin Warrior Tomb was found.

June 12, 2016

A new protective roof with a raised walkway over the palace is unveiled.

2017

The current project returns to work carried out by Rawson and her team on the acropolis beside the palace.