Treasury of Atreus


The Lion Gate


Grave Area


A "Sally Port"


The Commanding View from the Acropolis



Mycenae unlike most major ancient, or modern, Greek cities is not built near the sea. It was in fact a citadel stronghold (acropolis) dating back before 3500 BCE, and pottery has been found from the Neolithic and early bronze age layers although any constructions have been lost by more recent building.


The original inhabitants appear to have been Indo Europeans and the name Mycenae is from that time. From finds on the site these people are known to have traded with the Minoan Crete empire.


The earliest grave evidence is from burial pits dated about 1800 BCE around the time when the first fortification walls were built.


What is known as the Treasury of Atreus is actually a Bronze Age Tholos, known as a beehive tomb built up as a dome of bricks, and possibly originate in the Minoan culture, and replacing the older shaft graves.


The main entrance into the courtyard below the citadel is through the Lion Gate, depicting two lions facing a pedestal on which probably there stood a God or Goddess.


There are a series of cist graves enclosed by circular walls, interspersed with deeper shaft graves. These contained skeletons of adults and younger people, some containing swords, daggers and other weapons, cups and chalices, and the "Mask of Agamemnon."


Around 1350 BCE the walls were rebuilt in the Cyclopean style. Thus named as following generations could not believe anyone but a giant could have moved them. At this time much of the existing buildings that can be seen today was built, completely obliterating earlier structures.


The Mycenae state in its heyday controlled most of the eastern Mediterranean.



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