The vaulted tomb of Vapheios is located in the center of the plain of Sparta on the west side of Evrotas.
Inhabitation has been established since 2,500 BC, which continued with gaps until the end of the Mycenaean period (1500-1230 BC).
On the NW top of the hill where the settlement was built, the vaulted tomb was found.
It is above ground, while an artificial mound has been formed around it. The road to the tomb is almost 30 meters long, with the left side and a large part of the right side built with flagstones.
The mouth of the tomb, which was not blocked when it was discovered (the tomb had been violated), is 4.6m deep, 1.93m wide. And it is built, like the dome, with large chipped slabs, only the joints being covered with mortar.
At the mouth there was a pit where initiations were probably held.
The vault of the burial chamber has been constructed with an isostructural system of large elongated stones. The burial chamber has a diameter of a little more than 10 meters while in the center of the floor a pit-shaped tomb has been opened in which important burial finds (graves) were found.
The main ones are: 13 tombstones, a ring and remnants of manual decoration.
A little further, to the right of the center of the chamber, a second pit-shaped tomb had been opened, with walled sides and covered with a pair of slabs. Because the ground above it was pressed down so that the burial could not be seen, it managed to remain untouched and thus the gifts found during its excavation are very rich.
A gold-studded sword, 6 knives, 2 spearheads, mirror, 10 convex discs that belonged to psychostasy yokes all of the above in copper. Also in the tomb were two alabaster vessels and at least one silver vessel.
At the point where the deceased's neck and chest would have been there were 80 spherical beads of amethyst, in two rows that formed a necklace.
In the places where the deceased's hands would have been, 12 seal stones were found on each side of the wrist, and a gold and a silver glass in each hand.
These are the two famous Minoan gold cups of Vapheus, one of which is decorated with scenes of a bull being caught with a net. The other cup depicts a cow whose amorous call drives the bulls into captivity.
But the most important find is the 42 seal stones and two gold rings. Some of the seal stones are gold-bound.
It is possible that the tomb contained a dead couple or part of the offerings came from an earlier burial.
On the way to the tomb, sherds of palatial style vessels were found which probably contained funeral offerings.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou