O. T. P. K. Dickinson

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics

Published online July 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780199381135 | DOI:

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Mycenae is a rocky hill, flanked by ravines to north and south, situated on the north-east edge of the Argive plain between larger hills. There are few remains from the earliest phases of occupation, apart from the ‘Prehistoric Cemetery’, containing mainly children's graves, on the SW slope, and there is no indication that Mycenae was a significant settlement before the period to which it gives its name. The increasingly rich and elaborate burials in the shaft graves of Circle B, on a knoll to the west, and Circle A, in the middle of the SW slope, reflect its rise to power at the beginning of the bronze age. The number (probably seven) and quality of tholos tombs constructed during the 15th cent. similarly reflect the maintenance of this position, but only scanty traces of contemporary buildings have been found.Fresco fragments suggest the existence of an important building beneath the later palace. The finest tholos tombs (the ‘Treasury of Atreus’ and ‘Tomb of Clytaemnestra’) were most probably constructed during the 14th cent. bce, to which the oldest parts of the surviving palace and fortifications belong.

Article.  898 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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