Pylos pīˈlŏs [key], ancient harbor, Messenia, SW Greece, on a bay of the Ionian Sea. Excavations have revealed a great Mycenaean palace of the 13th cent. b.c., perhaps the dwelling of King Nestor. Six hundred clay tablets were found there which were important in the decipherment of the late Minoan script (see Mycenaean civilization). The modern town of Pílos, formerly known as Navarino, grew up on the south shore of the bay. The Bay of Pylos was the scene of an Athenian naval victory over Sparta in 425 b.c. and of the battle of Navarino (1827) during the Greek War of Independence.

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