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25/10/2007

The tholos tomb of Vafeio

Prefectural Administration of Lakonia


The tholos tomb of Vafeio

This is how the tholos (beehive) tomb discovered to the west of the village of Vafeio near Amycles is known. It was excavated in 1889 by Christos Tsountas, and the dig unearthed many other finds, including two gold cups of the Mycenaean era, indicating the importance of the region during this period. These date to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC and are amongst the most important archaeological finds in Greece. The gold cups are identical in shape, although differ in decoration, with scenes of bulls being captured in different ways. On one, the hunted bull falls into a rope net, and in the other he is captured by being tricked with a female beast [the bait]. At the moment that the carefree bull falls in love, his foot is caught in a noose. It is possible that these bulls were intended for bull leaping. The Mycenaean tholos tomb of Vafeio has been the object of many archaeological studies and has gained international fame thanks to the two gold cups. These are now housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

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