Mycenaean Sparta was part of a larger culture that dominated mainland Greece, as well as some of the outlying islands. It predated the Sparta that we know from popular history, the Sparta ruled by two kings who forged unconquerable armies for 3-4 centuries. Roll the clock back another 1000 or so years and you have Mycenae.
Archeologists have recently uncovered a palace located just north of where traditional Sparta existed. Its a huge find because we don't have a lot of info on Mycenae, much of it coming from a few sites that were burned and destroyed by forces unknown. The palace has a small host of artifacts in it, from murals to drinking cups.
More interestingly there a number of clay tablets with names and transactions written on them. These survived the centuries, because when this palace was burnt, they fires baked the tablets, preserving them.
Very cool. Read on.