In 2015, a team of archaeologists from University of Cincinnati  were excavating an ancient grave at Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece. Besides the well-preserved remains of a Mycenaean worrier or priest, and numerous artifacts, they found a grime-encrusted object, less than an inch and half long that looked like some kind of large bead.

After the conservators removed the lime that had accumulated over the centuries, the object’s detail revealed an astonishing depiction of one warrior in battle with two others, carved in remarkably fine detail, with some features that are barely visible to the naked eye.

To appreciate the extreme details, click on the images below to enlarge.

The Pylos Combat Agate after it was unearthed – Alexandros Zokos/University of Cincinnati

Pylos Combat Agate, a gemstone engraved with a design that could be stamped on clay or wax, after cleaning – Jeff Vanderpool/University of Cincinnati

Drawing of the Pylos Combat Agate, as it appears on the face of the seal stone – Tina Ross/University of Cincinnati

—> For additional details, see article sources:

The New York Times  |  The Pappas Post