Near the modern town of Pylos in Messenia in the southwestern Peloponnesus, a Mycenaean palace and town, taken to be the ancient Pylos of which Homer sang, were uncovered. According to legend, Nestor, its aged king, fought in the Trojan War. Carl W. Blegen, the excavator of both Troy and Pylos, assigned absolute dates to a burned layer at the site of Hissarlik in Northwestern Turkey, which he assumed to represent the Greek destruction of King Priams Troy, and to the Palace of Nestor, also destroyed by fire. The absolute dates were furnished by Mycenaean pottery in and under both destructions. Blegen found Mycenaean pottery in the destruction layer of Pylos obviously representing the ceramic shapes and styles that were in normal current use on the very day the palace was set afire and destroyed”.1 The collection as a whole reflects chiefly the latest stage in the style of Mycenaean III B but there were quite a few pieces belonging to the III C period.2 Arne Furumark set the transition from the one style to the other at ca. 1230 B.C., about the time of the death of Pharaoh Ramses II.3 Blegen revised this downward by about 30 years, setting the date of Pylos destruction at ca. 1200 B.C.4
In the debris of the palace he also found a great deal of pottery which was dated not by Egyptian criteria but on the internal evidence from Greece itself. This ware he ascribed to ca. 600 B.C.5 Blegen saw that after the fire ”the site was obviously abandoned and thenceforth left deserted.”6 To account for the mass of later pottery he acknowledged that ca. 600 B.C. there was fairly widespread activity on the site”.7
This later pottery appeared in many rooms of the palace, often, in fact, in the same layer as the pottery dated 600 years older8 so that the earlier sherds must have percolated up. In one case the later sherds were found together with the earlier ones in a layer ”which rested on the stucco pavement of the court” and unquestionably represents the latest phase of occupation of the palace.” Since, by the accepted chronology, they are six centuries too young to have been in use on the very day the palace was set afire and destroyed” (see note 1 above), they must somehow have penetrated from above”9 through however much dirt settled and vegetation grew over 600 years, then slipping through ”a compact layer of smallish stones closely packed in blackish earth”10 .15 - .25 m. thick, they finally forced their way into a .03 -.10 m. thick clayey deposit” (see note 9 above), for how else could they have gotten there?
Two sets of pottery are involved here: a group dating to the 7th century on internal grounds, and a group dating to the 13th century on external grounds - the time of Ramses II of Egypt, with whose scarabs Mycenaean III B and C pottery is found.11 Though the two groups were found together in the same strata, because of the supposed passage of 600 years, the late Geometric” pottery was branded part of an intrusive deposit”12 and the Mycenaean was used as a dating criterion for the fire. Velikovsky has postulated that Ramses II reigned ca. 600 B.C., not in the 13th century B.C.13 This would solve a problem at Pylos. No pottery percolated. None penetrated from above.” The two styles were contemporaneous. Both were used in the palace before the fire and buried by the debris.