Greek thesaurus


Mycenaean civilization
• The Acropolis at Mycenae
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• Grave Circle B
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                                              Mycenae's Grave Circle B
Mycenaean sword


Grave Circle B at Mycenae was part of the prehistoric cemetery at Mycenae (end of 17th cent. 16th cent. BC) together with Grave Circle A, and today is situated" outside the fortified citadel. It was excavated by I. Papadimitriou and G. Mylonas in 1952-1954. Surrounded by a Cyclopean dry-stone wall twenty-eight meters in diameter, it comprises fourteen large shaft graves similar to those of Grave Circle A, for members of the royal family, and twelve smaller, shallow graves possibly for courtiers. Several graves were marked with vertical stone stelai, five of which were found in situ. Those stelai with relief decoration belonged to male graves, while the undecorated ones marked female graves.

The graves in Circle Grave B, most of which were discovered unlooted, contained approximately thirty-five inhumations of men, women and children. The men were aged between twenty-three and fifty-five years, and the women between thirty and thirty-seven. Most male remains bore evidence of wounds and healed skull and spinal injuries, which together with indications of great muscular mass, prove that they were often involved in violent conflict.

The grave gifts from Grave Circle B are similar to those from Grave Circle A, although less opulent. They do include, however, some quite important artefacts, such as the death-mask made of electrum (gold and silver alloy) and the amethyst seal stone with a representation of a male figure from Grave Gamma, and the duck-shaped rock-crystal kymbe (elongated shallow vessel) from Grave Omicron. The grave gifts are both local, that is of Middle Helladic tradition, and imported from Minoan Crete and the Cyclades. This amalgam of diverse elements characterizes the period of the Mycenae shaft graves and contributed to the formation of the Mycenaean civilization.





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