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A Group of Late Helladic IIIB 1 Pottery from Mycenae*

  • Elizabeth French


The L.H. IIIB deposits from Mycenae fall into two distinguishable groups. The earlier, called L.H. IIIB 1, is represented by the pottery from the destruction level in the houses east of the modern road and south of the tomb of Clytemnestra. The destruction to which we owe these deposits appears to have occurred late in the L.H. IIIB 1 phase, and probably also affected the houses on the Atreus ridge. The later group, classified as L.H. IIIB 2, has been found in buildings within the Citadel and also in isolated contexts outside the walls. The deposits from within the Citadel come from the debris of a second, more widespread, destruction which affected other centres as well as Mycenae. The differentiation of the two periods was confirmed in the Citadel House area by the finding of deposits of L.H. IIIB 2 stratified above others of L.H. IIIB 1 character. The pottery of both these phases from the Citadel House will be published in the general account of the excavations which have taken place in that area since 1959. The detailed publication of the whole vases from the L.H. IIIB 1 destruction level of the houses outside the walls is planned for the next article in this series.



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1 A small amount of early L.H. IIIB material occurred with the bulk of L.H. IIIA 2 pottery in the terraces beneath the houses outside the walls. This has been described in BSA lx (1965) 159. For a summary of the sequence of pottery groups from Mycenae, see BSA lviii (1963) 44 ff.

2 For references to the material of this group already published see BSA lviii (1963) 50 and n. 81.

3 Work is currently being carried out in this area by Professor Mylonas and by his daughter Mrs. T. L. Shear. Material from the British excavations has been published in BSA li (1956) 119 and from the Greek excavations in Ergon 1962, 97 and 1965, 68 f.; BCH lxxxvii (1963) 739.

4 BSA lviii (1963) 50 f.

5 e.g. Tiryns, , ADelt xx (1965) 137; Ålin, P., ‘Das Ende der mykenischen Fundstatten auf dem griechischen Fest land’, Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology i, passim.

6 When I first identified this group in 1958 I assumed it to be the immediate stylistic successor to the L.H. IIIA 2 groups published in BSA lx (1965) 159; see my unpublished thesis, The Development of Mycenaean Terracotta Figurines, London University, 1961, 40 f.

7 Zygouries 143 ff. Schachermeyr 220 ff. suggests that this pottery from Zygouries represents an early stage of L.H. IIIB.

8 A few pieces have been published, Archaeology in Greece 1962–3, 14, fig. 15; BCH lxxxvii (1963) 739 ff.

9 BSA xlviii (1953) 22 ff. and plan pl. 12.

10 In area III only; in area IV it lay directly on the rock.

11 Cf. Mycenae, , the Bothros, Atreus, BSA lix (1964) 241 ff.; Mycenae, , the Terrace on the Atreus Ridge, BSA lx (1965) 174; Tiryns, , the West Wall deposit, ADelt xx (1965) 137.

12 In fact, apart from Zygouries, no other settlement deposits of this period are yet known.

13 Middle Helladic pottery, about forty sherds in all, was also found.

14 MP 338.

15 For reference to the patterns from the shapes see the chart, p. 235.

16 MP 296 f., 318, 413 f.

17 MP 301, 384.

18 BSA lx (1965) 186.

19 Cf. Attica 20; Ergon 1964, fig. 94 left (from Voria T 7).

20 Some examples are known with patterns on either side in the manner of Ephyrean goblets.

21 MP 628. Only nos. 2–9, 11, and 16a are of ‘Zygouries’ type.

22 The heaviness of the rim is one of the chief distinguishing features of FS 257 in sherd material.

23 Zygouries 134 ff.

24 Furumark also notes this relationship between stem patterns and Triglyphs, MP 290.

25 The number of examples known from other sites is now considerably greater than when Stubbings wrote, Attica 29.

26 Cf. BSA lx (1965) 178 for earlier examples and BM A 867 for a probably contemporary example.

27 Cf. MT III, fig. 60, 61.

28 Cf. MT III, fig. 28.

29 These handles might be from Stemmed Bowls.

30 Cf. the Bowls from the Terrace below the House of the Oil Merchant, BSA lx (1965) 193.

31 Cf. the examples from the House of Sphinxes, MT II, fig. 49.

32 Cf. Zygouries, pl. xvii for an elaboration of this pattern.

33 FM 18: 33, 34.

34 For the proportions of each type see the list below, p. 237.

35 MP 301.

36 FM 15: 15 and 18: 33.

37 Cf. Ergon 1957, 34, fig. 34, top row middle (from Pefkakia).

38 Cf. Wavy Line below, p. 230. For my derivation of this pattern see BSA lx (1965) 178.

39 There is no evidence for the total composition of Fig. 7: 2.

40 Cf. BM A 978.

41 See above, p. 226.

42 Cf. Zygouries, pl. xvi. 2.

43 MP, fig. 68.

44 See above, p. 219.

45 MP 4.10 f.

46 For accessorial uses on Kylikes see Fig. 3:21.

47 For the proportion of each type see the list below, p. 237.

48 e.g. AE 1960, pl. 5, no. 21.

49 BSA xlviii (1953) 84 fr.

50 An interesting sherd from a Deep Bowl decorated in the ‘Zygouries’ style without any linear decoration on the lip was found at Mycenae in 1964.

51 Schachermeyr 220 ff.

52 In fact Deep Bowls are known from Zygouries, zygouries, fig. 131, second row left. It is not possible to suggest what type of pottery is meant by the reference (zygouries 140) to ‘deep bowls similar to the latest vessels ofthat shape among the house deposits at Korakou (Korakou 61, fig. 85), which are contemporary with the Granary Class’. Korakou, fig. 85 illustrates two Deep Bowls; that on the left is L.H. IIIB (either 1 or 2) and that on the right is L.H. UIC probably early. Neither is it possible to suggest on what grounds Furumark (CMP 101) assigns the material from the Potter's Shop at Zygouries to the ‘middle and late parts of L.H. IIIB’.

53 BSA lx (1965) 159.

54 BSA lii (1957) 217 f.

55 It still accounts for 50 per cent, of the total painted pottery in the latest L.H. IIIB level at Tiryns, , ADelt xx (1965) 143.Deep Bowls painted monochrome inside, how ever, are found in gradually increasing quantity in the L.H. IIIB 2 levels together with those of open style.

56 Cf. Tiryns, , ADelt xx (1965) 145.

57 The implications of the other material from Mycenae itself will be discussed in a future article.

58 BSA xlviii (1953) 292.

* The work for this article was carried out during my tenure of a Fellowship from Bollingen Foundation. I am very grateful for their support. My thanks are also due to Mrs. W. J. Craig, who has read the manuscript and made many improvements in it and to Miss M. M. Barry, who assisted me during the museum work on the material in 1961.

Abbreviations additional to those in standard use:

MP = A. Furumark, The Mycenaean Pottery (1941).

CMP = A. Furumark, The Chronology of Mycenaean Pottery (1941).

FM = Furumark Motive Number; MP 236 ff.

FS = Furumark Shape Number; MP 585 ff.

MT II = E. L. Bennett et al., ‘The Mycenae Tablets II’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society xlviii (1958) pt. i.

MT III = J. Chadwick et al., ‘The Mycenae Tablets III’, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1962) pt. vii.

Attica = F. H. Stubbings, ‘The Mycenaean Pottery of Attica’, BSA xlii (1947) 1 ff.

BM A = E. J. Forsdyke, Catalogue of Greek and Etruscan Vases in the British Museum, vol. i; Part I: ‘Prehistoric Aegean Pottery’.

Korakou = C. W. Blegen, Korakou (1921).

Zygouries = C. W. Blegen, Zygouries (1928).

Schachermeyr = F. Schachermeyr, ‘Forschungsbericht über die Ausgrabungen und Neufunde zur ägäiischen Frühzeit 1957-1960’, AA 1962, Heft. 2.

A Group of Late Helladic IIIB 1 Pottery from Mycenae*

  • Elizabeth French


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