Description of Mycenae


Image 2- burial circle a

Image 2- burial circle a

 The triangle of walls surrounding the acropolis of Mycenae were built between the 14th and 13th century BC. The Mycenaens used regular rows of blocks of stone without mortar to build these walls. The final stages of development included the Burial Circle A. This was an artificial circular platform that was reinforced by a high wall made of small stones.

The entrance route to the city is called the Lion’s gate, and the doorway remains intact today. The gate was built in 1250 BC and offered protection against intruders. It was given this name because of the sculptures on the ten foot high triangular block over the entrance. It depicts two lionesses that are facing each other at the sides of a column. When the town was in its golden age the two lionesses had gold heads. The gate is made of three materials, which are rock, gold and clay. There was a second entrance which was through the North Gate. Both gates were placed at the end of long narrow hallways between the main walls and an outer wall. This was for defense reasons.

Image 3- Lion's gate

Image 3- Lion’s gate

Mycenae offers the best example of burial architecture from this civilization. The amount of artifacts and the quality of them found at the graves at the site give us a lot of insight into the prosperity of the Mycenaean culture. 2100 BC is when the first walls, pottery and pit and shaft graves began to appear. Around 1600 BC, evidence shows higher quality pottery, wall paintings, and large tholos tombs started to appear. From the 14th century BC the first large palace complex, the Treasury of Atreus, fortification walls around the acropolis, flood management structures, roads, Linear B tablets and an increase in pottery imports were found. When the Treasury of Atreus was first found it was assumed that it was the tomb of Agamemnon. It is now believed that the tomb’s date is actually earlier which would have been before his reign. It is a circular chamber with a dome that resembles a beehive. It was the world’s largest dome until the building of the pantheon, 1400 years later. It is also the best preserved tomb in Greece.