welcome to Mycenae – GREECE
The site of Mycenae is located in the far north of the plain of Argos, in the foothills of Mt Zara and the hill of Profitis Ilias. The site, product of many centuries of human occupation, now consists of a walled acropolis of the late bronze age, with surrounding remains of houses, industrial installations, and groups of tombs.
The site was probably occupied as early as the late Neolithic period, that is before 3500BC. There is also evidence of early (about 3500BC to 2100BC) and middle (about 2100BC to 1700BC) bronze age occupation; this evidence consists mostly of pottery sherds found during the excavations that can be dated to those periods. These sherds come from unstratified deposits, which means that they simply represent disturbed debris rather than the buried remains of houses.
The first burial evidence from the site dates to the middle bronze age: an area to the west of the acropolis was used as a cemetery with burials in pits in the ground, or in cist graves (pits lined and covered with stone slabs). In the last century of the middle bronze age some of these burials were enclosed by a circular wall, which served to mark them and set them off from the rest. This walled area was located at the west end of the ridge, close to the point where it is joined to the Panagia ridge, which runs north-south.
Some of the burials within this circle (‘Grave Circle B’) were quite spectacular, both in the grave architecture and the burial practice. Larger and deeper graves (called ‘shaft graves’ because a shaft – a walled grave pit – was dug out at the bottom of a larger pit) could be used more than once, and the burial practices entailed the deposition of a relatively large amount of material with the dead: these items may have formed part of the dress of the dead, or may have been used in graveside ceremonies. As well as pottery, items such as swords and knives, large bronze items such as pans, and ornamentation such as necklaces and decorative elements made of gold foil were found in the graves.