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Classics: Bronze Age Archaeology

This page brings together important resources for various branches of study in classical antiquity.


"Mask of Agamemnon"


Search for the Mycenaeans

By Jarrett A. Lobell

Link to Full Article

From: Archaeology Magazine

January/February 2008

"Ever since Heinrich Schliemann began digging at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae in 1876, generations of archaeologists have worked to uncover the spectacular remains of a Bronze Age superpower that gave its name to a whole civilization. The "Mycenaeans" were not a single people, but disparate groups united by a shared culture that stretched all over Greece and dominated the Aegean in the Late Bronze Age, from about 1600 to 1100 B.C. This was the world of the Trojan War; scholars believe Homer's Iliad describes actual events involving Mycenaean city-states around 1200 B.C. For many ancient writers and some modern excavators, Homer's kings and warriors were based on historical figures who set out for Troy from the citadels that still bear their ancient names--Pylos, Tiryns, Argos, Thebes, and chief among them, Mycenae."

"Despite more than a century of excavation at Mycenaean palace sites, no one has ever excavated a Mycenaean town. Christofilis Maggidis and his team are determined to change that. If he succeeds, questions about Mycenae and other palace sites thought to be similar in sociopolitical organization, can be addressed for the first time."

"At some Mycenaean sites, archaeologists have found rooms crammed with fragments of tablets that record a well-organized and extensive economy controlled by the palaces. And at many sites, rock-cut chamber tombs and stone-built tholos (beehive-shaped) tombs containing stunning gold masks, bronze weapons and armor, and imported gems and pottery create a picture of an impressive elite society."



  • Myth, scandal, and history : the Heinrich Schliemann controversy and a first edition of the Mycenaean diary / edited by William M. Calder III and David A. Traill
  • A study of the remains of Mycenaean roads and stations of Bronze-Age Greece / Anton G. Jansen


Mitrou Archaeology Project - University of Tennessee 

"Mitrou is a tidal islet in the bay of Atalanti in East Lokris, Greece. For most, if not all, of the Bronze Age, Mitrou was the largest and most important settlement of East Lokris, and it is in an excellent state of preservation."

Article about excavation from Aegean Archaeology 2003-2004

The Mitrou Archaology Project is led by directors:

Professor Aleydis Van de Moortel
University of Tennessee

Eleni Zachou, 14th Ephorate of Prehistoric
and Classical Antiquities at Lamia

And Field Director:

Professor Kerill O'Neill, Colby College


Making merry at Knossos

The Economist, May 14th, 2009 Link to article

"Evans boldly argued that the Minoans, as he called the early islanders, shunned warfare, conveniently forgetting about the ruined watchtowers and fortification walls he had already identified elsewhere in Crete. In public lectures and a stream of articles after the first world war, he presented a vision of a lost island paradise. Disillusioned artists and intellectuals were entranced by the idea of Minoans living close to nature, playfully leaping over bulls and worshipping a benign mother goddess."

"Contrary to Evans's flowery interpretation, the Minoans appear to have been as bloodthirsty as other early eastern Mediterranean societies. Two excavations in 1982 revealed evidence of human sacrifice outside a village close to Knossos, and of ritual cannibalism involving children in a town-house close to the palace. In the 1990s Greek and foreign researchers re-explored the network of military roads and watchtowers in eastern Crete that Evans had chosen to ignore. Studies of Bronze Age weaponry showed that Cretan sword and dagger designs were widely copied. For all their playfulness, the Minoans were serious about waging war."

 Journal Articles 


  • Knossos pottery handbook : Neolithic and Bronze Age (Minoan) / edited by Nicoletta Momigliano

  • Archaeologies of cult : essays on ritual and cult in Crete / edited by Anna Lucia D'Agata and Aleydis Van de Moortel

  • The foundations of palatial Crete : a survey of Crete in the early bronze age / Keith Branigan

  • Minotaur : Sir Arthur Evans and the archeaology of the Minoan myth / Joseph Alexander MacGillivray

  • Archaeology meets science : biomolecular investigations in Bronze Age Greece: the primary scientific evidence, 1997-2003 / edited by Yannis Tzedakis, Holley Martlew and Martin K. Jones

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