Chapter 3: Mycenaeans
o First Greek-speakers to appear in history.
o C. 1600 – Mainland Greece shows numerous large scale tholos (beehive) tombs
Houses at the time were in a form that slowly developed into the classic
megaron of the Mycenaean palace
o Shaft graves
Discovered by Heinrich Schliemann
Rich collection of luxury goods
Reused -- Multiple people buried in each one
Funeral meal afterwards
Remains of meal scattered on earth
Stele – grave marker
Graves grouped in two circles
Circle A – reconstructed and enclosed by a stone circle in later times.
o 6 deep shafts
o Graves richer than circle B
Circle B –
o 14 shafts
Used in the same time period
Gold death masks found in graves
Niello technique – called painting in metal.
o Used on the inlaid daggers found in circles Items found are combinations of Minoan and Helladic cultures – called
o Name extended to whole culture.
Bodies in good condition – suggests rich elites.
o Tholos tombs
Ca. 1525 to 1300/1275
First appeared in Mainland Greece in Messenia at the time of the Shaft graves of
Corbelled arch – Not a true arch as it does not have a keystone. Support comes
from weight of the earth.
Dromos – a long entryway to the tomb.
Reused as well
Koukounara – 17 tholoi found.
Mycenaean armor matching Homeric descriptions found in one.
Three chronological types of Tholos
o The Fall of Knossos
C. 1450 Widespread destruction of palace sites on Crete.
Tablets found similar to Linear A, called Linear B.
o The Mycenaean palace period
Earliest palace is that at the Menelaion at Sparta (ca. 1450-1400).
Megaron – central core of a palace, rooms built off sides.
Very imposing defensive walls.
Built with huge blocks of stone.
Greeks called them Cyclopean masonry
Minoan palaces central room was a large central courtyard. Focus of Mycenaean palaces are the Megaron (or Megara, as
sometimes they had two)
Pylos – place for throne found
Lacked monumental staircases, light wells, and pillar and door