This Is What The Ancient Greek "Griffin Warrior" Looked Like


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Lynne Schepartz and Tobias Houlton/HVIRU, University of the Witwatersrand

Science has already helped reveal the faces of an ancient Egyptian woman and a Bronze Age Highland woman. Now, researchers have pieced together the face of a highly respected 3,500-year-old Greek badass, named the “Griffin Warrior.”

His burial site was discovered near the Palace Of Nestor, a Mycenaean Greek palace located between the city of Pylos and the ancient polis of Khôra. The 1500 BCE grave contained his skeleton complete with a heavily damaged skull, along with a treasure trove of fine jewelry, swords, and bronze cups. They estimated the man was around 30 to 35 years old when he died.


A team of anthropologists and anatomical science experts from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg pieced together this seemingly important warrior’s appearance, Seeker reports. They used a using a technique that attempts to identify the shape and positioning of facial characteristics through the features of the skull. Depth markers are then placed and layers of facial tissues are applied.

All of this was underwired with a data pool of facial features from 50 modern Greek men, aged 25 to 35 years old, and Mycenaean artworks of warriors.

When first discovered by archaeologists from the University of Cincinnati, this warrior's tomb was heralded as one of the most spectacular insights into ancient mainland Greece discovered in years.

The Greek Culture Ministry described it as "the most impressive display of prehistoric funerary wealth in mainland Greece that has come to light in the past 65 years," in a statement.


Among the loot were solid gold rings, intricate swords, ivory combs, mirrors, and hundreds of semi-precious stone beads. Many of these items were long assumed to be only buried with wealthy women, although the researchers believe many of these “feminine” items could be gifts to the goddesses.

In fact, all of the items in the grave were made of metals, semi-precious stones, or rare materials – a sure sign the "Griffin Warrior" was a man of great power and wealth. Finally, we can put a face to that name.