AS Unit CC1 (F381) Archaeology: Mycenae and the Classical World



By Mr G. de la Bédoyère



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CC1 Powerpoints used in lessons (to access these you will need a password from ME! This is only available to students at this school)




Websites have been carefully chosen that have a lot of basic information and details and/or pictures and plans about all prescribed course material. Take care though – not all websites are necessarily 100% reliable. Don’t be overwhelmed – more options are listed here than you will ever need to chase up. But the point is it’s here and it’s available so it’s up to you to make the most of it:





Unit CC1 (F381) Archaeology: Mycenae and the Classical World


* indicates a book that may be particularly useful


* Bowkett, L., Hill, S., Wardle, Diana and K.A., Classical Archaeology in the Field: Approaches, Duckworth 2001. ISBN 1853996173


*Castleden, R. The Mycenaeans 2005, Routledge. ISBN 0415363365


Dickinson, O. T. P. K. The Aegean Bronze Age 1994, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521456649


* Grant, J., Gorin, S., and Fleming, N., The Archaeology Coursebook 2005 (2nd edition), Routledge ISBN 0415360773. This book is backed by the following web resources:


Archaeology Coursebook Online Resources – this is an extremely useful site linked to the book above


Weblinks for the Archaeology Coursebook


*McDonald, W. A. and Thomas, C. G. Progress into the Past: Rediscovery of Mycenaean Civilisation 1990, Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253336279


*Renfrew, C. and Bahn, P. Archaeology, Theories, Methods and Practice 2004, Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500284415


*Schofield, L. The Myceneans 2007, British Museum Press. ISBN 0714120901 – a very clear and readable, well-illustrated summary


*Wardle, K. A. and Wardle, D. Cities of Legend: The Mycenaean World 1997, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853993557


N.B. – some of the books on Pompeii under CC6 City Life in Roman Italy are useful for their information about archaeology at the city






CC1 H041 Topic 1: History v Archaeology/Layering/Dating


Archaeological theory wasn’t developed overnight. It took a large number of inspired individuals who began to devise scientific and methodical ways of analysing archaeological evidence so that instead of just digging up ‘treasure’ they gained an understanding of how cultures had evolved and lived. The 19th and early 20th century produced some of the most important. They include:


Augustus Pitt Rivers


Flinders Petrie and see here


Arthur Evans (excavator of the Minoan Palace at Knossos in Crete)


Kathleen Kenyon


It wasn’t just about digging. Michael Ventris was a brilliant scholar who realized writing tablets found at Mycenae were an early form of Greek.



Archaeological Stratigraphy


You should also look at The Harris Matrix. This is a special method of representing stratigraphy in a schematic form, and it has been widely adopted. It was invented by Edward Harris in 1973. There is a Wikipedia page on the Matrix, complete with an illustration to show how it works, here.


Archaeological Theory - further links – a page with innumerable links to other pages on archaeology and its practice


Archaeology Expert – a website devoted to Archaeology and its various aspects


Dating: Oxford University Research Lab


A very useful site is the Dartmouth College Classics Pages


Archaeological Reconnaissance/Prospecting links:


Aerial photography


Time Team's Geophysics experts


Archaeological Geophysics


Geophysics techniques


The Roman city of  Timgad in Algeria is a remarkable sight from the air, showing how much of the town can be explored from aerial view. You can zoom into the site here. The Roman street grid is just below the little blue icon that sits in the middle of the image.


Ardoch Roman Fort from the air


Castleshaw Roman Fort from the air


Gayton Thorpe Villa Project


Inchtuthil Roman fortress – the plan of this site was recovered through the use of keyhole and slit trenches by Professor Sir Ian Richmond in the 1960s. This meant that by only excavating a small proportion of the fortress, the whole plan could be identified.




Bear in mind that Pompeii is a very important Classical Archaeology site which will cover briefly during CC1, with particular emphasis on the archaeological issues of the site. So you should look at some of the links under CC6 City Life in Roman Italy (Entry Code F386) below.


The Archaeology Coursebook – special links (NB there is a copy of the book in KSHS Library). Powerpoints based on each chapter are available in the CC1 area of the Academic Portal.



The Law – see Britain's Treasure Act which has replaced the Law of Treasure Trove



CC1 H041 Topic 2: Typology for Beginners/Pots, Pans and the Bronze Age Dinner Table

Greek Pottery Vase Typology – a useful and well-illustrated Wikipedia page with a number of external links


Mycenaean Frescoes and Pottery


Stanford University’s page on Mycenaean pottery and chronology


Pottery in Roman Britain (and Western Europe) – a brilliant website with masses of data and images, set up by one of the leading experts. It has pages of pottery types, complete with typological sequences, distribution and dating, and illustrations, for example the Crambeck Wares of northern Britain.


Samian Ware (also known as Terra Sigillata)samian ware is the bright red-slip tableware found in huge quantities in the Western Roman Empire. The distinctive factory styles and potter’s names mean that examples found at dated sites like Pompeii can help date other sites


The Study Group for Roman Pottery


The Kas Bronze Age Shipwreck  produced an important collection of pottery which could be dated in part by the presence of a 14th-century BC scarab of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti


The Eruption of Thera was a catastrophic event that buried the city of Akrotiri some time around 1600BC, but dating the event has produced a problem. Radio-carbon suggests 1625–1600 BC but relative dating based on artefacts dated according to Egyptian chronology suggests 1550BC.



CC1 H041 Topic 3: Bronze Age Business Studies


Linear B was an early form of Greek used in Mycenaean times. Surviving writing tablets have produced important evidence for life then and contacts with other cultures.


Another page on Linear B that is easier to follow.


This page on Linear B Tablets discusses the social hierarchy that can be unravelled from the texts


Linear A cannot yet be read though some experts believe its symbols may have equivalent phonetic values to those of Linear B. This has led to the suggestion that the words produced by this method may be evidence Linear A comes from an Indo-Iranian language, and some possible words have been identified. But this is far from resolved.


The Gelidonya Shipwreck produced an extremely important series of copper ingots that link into the discussion about contact with other cultures and the production of valuable commodities for trade. The Tomb of the Vizier Rekhmire at Thebes in Egypt is an important additional source of evidence for the production of such ingots in the bronze-casting scenes.


See here for information about Minoan influence and contact in the Eastern Mediterranean and Social, Political and Economic Organization


Evidence for Glass manufacture


CC H041 Topic 4: Warriors of Atlantis

Some people believe that the Eruption of Thera and the destruction of Akrotiri form the basis of the legend of Atlantis


Wall-paintings, for example the Thera Frescoes (click on the numbers on the plan to show the individual paintings) such as the flotilla painting, the saffron gatherers, the Mistress of Animals and saffron gatherer (not very clear and best compared with your Mycenaean World textbook p. 74), or the bull-jumping scene from Tiryns are potentially useful sources of information about a society. You can find a collection of images on Google here and a detailed discussion about Akrotiri's place in Cycladic culture here


Swords. Mycenaean swords: this picture shows a sword (top two images from Grave Circle A at Mycenae, and below that a sword from Pylos. Both depict hunting scenes that recall elements of Homer’s poetry.



CC H041 Topic 5: Dressed to Kill/Twilight of the Mythological Age


Brief overview of the The Trojan War and a longer account of it here


Ancient Greek Armour – pictures of Mycenaean armour and extracts from Homer, and see Dendra - the Mycenaean Armour



An excellent site devoted to  Armour of the Bronze Age with further pages on greaves and arm guards, helmets, shields, and chariots



The discoveries of Heinrich Schliemann and Manfred Korfmann. More recently the amateur scholar Robert Bittlestone believes he has solved the riddle of where Odysseus’ island of ‘Ithaca’ was, in his book Odysseus Unbound based on literary, geological and archaeological evidence. He has shown convincingly that the peninsula of Paliki on the island of Cephalonia was once a separate island, the Homeric Ithaca.


Bronze Age Warriors – a website devoted to producing replica Bronze Age military equipment from pottery, wall-painting and archaeological evidence


Prescribed Material for CC H041


The following sites and places are all listed by the OCR board as ‘prescribed material’. This means you should be familiar with them:




General article on Mycenaean Palaces with discussion of all these individual sites and links to pictures and plans


Argos (this web page has images and plans) – traditional birthplace of Perseus. A major Mycenaean centre that features in Homer’s work.


Athens in Mycenaean times – news about the Mycenaean port of Athens


Robert Bittlestone’s work on locating the ancient island of ‘Ithaca’, the legendary island kingdom of Odysseus. There is a discussion on Wikipedia here


Iolkos/Iolcos – city in Thessaly and home to the legendary Jason who sailed to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. A Mycenaean-date palace has been found at nearby Dimini


Knossos – general discussion of Minoan Palaces


Mycenae – the eponymous centre of Mycenaean culture and home to the legendary King Agamemnon, brother to Menelaus, King of Sparta. Mycenae: virtual tour   and another

Mycenae: virtual tour.


Mycenae: virtual tour   and another Mycenae: virtual tour


Mycenae Powerpoint


Mycenaean Pottery


Mycenaean Grave Circle B – description and its Funerary Assemblages


Mycenaean Grave Circle A – description and finds


Mycenaean tholos tombs


Dating of Mycenaean Palaces


Mycenae Pictures – especially some good ones of wall paintings in situ


Youtube videos of Mycenae at: Mycenae - tholos tomb of Clytemnestra   Mycenae - Treasury of Atreus  Mycenae - temple/shrine area Mycenae Museum - temple finds


Mycenae - the Megaron Mycenae - the Lion Gate Mycenae - Grave Circle B Mycenae - Grave Circle A Mycenae - view of the citadel Mycenae - the cistern



Orchomenos – a Mycenaean city of Boeotia and home to the legendary king Minyas. The city’s greatest rival was Thebes. More here.


Pylos – the home of the legendary King Nestor. The best-preserved of the Mycenaean sites and the source of a huge number of Linear B tablets. The Mycenaean Palaces has lots of information on this site, and there are many Pylos links here


Sparta – Mycenaean Sparta is not to be confused with the later Sparta, Athens’ great rival.


Thebes – known in Mycenaean times as Teqai


Tiryns (see also Tiryns Acropolis). Home of the legendary Diomedes who sent men and ships to Troy. Notable especially for its massive walls. Pictures available here, and some Youtube videos on these links: Tiryns - view of the Defences Tiryns - the Wall Galleries Tiryns - walk-through from the Gate to Megaron Tiryns - exit



Troy – of course the place to which Paris brought his lover Helen of Sparta (wife of Menelaus), thus sparking off the Trojan War. An immensely complex archaeological site. Troy Period VII is the one associated with the War. See also here



Finds from Grave Circles A and B at Mycenae


Shaft Graves and Grave Circles at Mycenae


Descriptions and details of tholos tombs at Mycenae (tholos tomb = a circular subterranean burial chamber with a stone vaulted roof) inc Treasury of Atreus and Clytmenestra Tholos


Chamber tombs at Mycenae


Pictures of the Orchomenos tholos here and on the Dartmouth College website (New Hampshire)




The following videos are ones I shot at Mycenae and Tiryns in August 2009. They may help give you a feel of the places:


Mycenaean Bridge at Kazarma


Tiryns - view of the Defences


Tiryns - the Wall Galleries


Tiryns - walk-through from the Gate to Megaron


Tiryns - exit


Mycenae - tholos tomb of Clytemnestra


Mycenae - Treasury of Atreus


Mycenae - temple/shrine area


Mycenae Museum - temple finds


Mycenae - the Megaron


Mycenae - the Lion Gate


Mycenae - Grave Circle B


Mycenae - Grave Circle A


Mycenae - view of the citadel


Mycenae - the cistern


Dendra - the Mycenaean Armour


Dendra - the tholos tomb








Blegen, C. and Rawson, M. A Guide to the Palace of Nestor 1967, Cincinnati. ISBN 0876616406


Bowkett, L., Wardle, D. and Hill, S. Classical Archaeology in the Field: Approaches 2001, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853996173


Bury, J. B. and Meiggs, R. A History of Greece 1960, Macmillan. ISBN 0333154932


Chadwick, J. The Mycenaean World 1976, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521290376


Chadwick, J. The Decipherment of Linear B 1990, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521398304


Crane, G. Perseus 2.0 (PIP) 2000, Yale University Press


De la Bédoyère, G. Pottery in Roman Britain 2000, Shire Publications. ISBN 0747804699


Finley, M. The World of Odysseus 1999, Pimlico. ISBN 0712665730


French, E. Mycenae: Agamemnon’s Capital 2002, Tempus. ISBN 075241951X


Hodder, I. Theory and Practice in Archaeology 1992, Routledge. ISBN 0415127777


Jeskins, P. The Environment and the Classical World 1999, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853995479


Morgan, J. Hellenika Photo CD 2004, J-PROGS


Mountjoy, P. Mycenaean Pottery: an Introduction 1993, Oxford University Committee for Archaeology. ISBN 0947816364


Preziosi, D. and Hitchcock, L. A. Aegean Art and Architecture 1999, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192842080


Wheeler, R. E. M. Roman Art and Architecture 1964, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500200211



Other pAPERS:




CC6 City Life in Roman Italy (Entry Code F386)



CC7 Roman Britain: life in the outpost of the Empire (Entry Code F387)


CC10 Virgil and the world of the hero (Entry Code F390)


Other sites


This page is in a constant process of being updated. Links to useful webpages will be added on a regular basis.





Other links

The Lactor website (London Association of Classical Teachers)



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