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The Archaeologists on Mycenae, Pylos, and Troy VIIa


Blegen's Plan of Troy VII. Troy VIIa House Plans. House Arrangment ... House Plans. Most have 1-3 rooms with no unity of design. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Archaeologists on Mycenae, Pylos, and Troy VIIa

The Archaeologists on Mycenae, Pylos, and Troy
  • ART/CNE 430
  • 11/11/04

Todays Readings
  • Compare the styles/content of the Schliemann and
    Blegen readings.

Troy VI (MBA-LBA 1800-1300 BCE)
  • The 6th city built on the site. We dont know
    much about the top of the site because later
    builders (Hellenistic and Roman) shaved it down.
  • Consists of 8 strata and 3 chronological phases.
  • Fortification wall built at the beginning and
    repaired throughout took massive form at the end
    of the phase. Sloping face.
  • The houses were free-standing and spread out.

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Troy VI Wall
Troy VI Skull
Troy VII
  • Dorpfeld et al discovered in 1894 that Troy VII
    (7th city) had really 2 distinct strata, which
    differed from one another in a few important
  • He thought VII-1 represented a direct, unbroken
    continuation of the culture of Troy VI Troy
    VII-2, however, had new strange elements not
    seen before on the site.

  • The Cincinnati Expedition, led by Blegen, studied
    the strata more intensively, confirming and
    refining Dorpfelds findings.
  • Troy VI - destroyed by earthquake looks like
    inhabitants were able to escape beforehand.
  • Troy VIIa - inhabitants returned, rebuilding the

Earthquake Damage
  • The fallen debris raised the ground level inside
    the fortress by as much as 6 feet.
  • The new houses were built with their floors at
    this higher level.

Troy VIIa Repairs
  • Restoration of the fortification wall around the
  • Addition attached to the wall by the East Gate.
  • South Gate repaired and still used as the main
    entrance to the citadel.

Non-Elite Housing
  • The surviving remains of houses occur around the
    inner circuit wall.
  • Troy VI large, free-standing houses
  • Troy VIIa small houses constructed incorporating
    party walls. Built of heterogeneous material,
    including debris from the earthquake.

Blegens Plan of Troy VII
Troy VIIa House Plans
House Arrangment
  • A row of 20-30 lean-to apartments survive along
    the inner side of the circuit wall.
  • On the terrace above, a few of the grander houses
    of Troy VI were repaired and reoccupied, but most
    of the others were apparently too damaged
    replaced by smaller structures also with party

House Plans
  • Most have 1-3 rooms with no unity of design.
  • Exception House 700, first on the right as you
    pass through the main entrance to the acropolis,
    the South Gate.
  • 3-4 rooms one with a central, raised decorated
    hearth. Stone quern set into brick clay, tilted
    so that ground flour would fall into deep
    container hollowed out in the floor and lined
    with clay.
  • Stone sink connected to drain which emptied into
  • Remains of ovens, brick storage bins, carbonized

Blegens Interpretation
  • House 700 was not only someones living space,
    but also their business.
  • A snack bar where people coming into or out of
    the citadel could get some lunch.

  • Hard-packed earth or clay.
  • Distinctive feature of this period
  • pithoi sunk so deeply into the ground that only
    their rims appear at floor level, covered with
    stone slabs. Numbers range from houses with 1-2
    to those with up to 24.
  • Vary in size from 1.75- 2 m in height and 1-1.25
    m diameter.

Storage Pithoi
  • The site from EBA had always had these, but
    usually fewer, and usually free-standing.

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Blegens Interpretation
  • Architecture and pithoi
  • Siege. VIIa forced to shelter a larger and more
    concentrated population than VI.
  • Resembles a refugee city space at a premium.
  • The overall impression is of an emergency of some

Other Material Remains
  • As far as other miscellaneous objects and
    pottery, however, there is no real difference
    from VI - no cultural break indicated.
  • However, the number of imported Mycenaean pots
    seems to have dropped - out of 90 such sherds,
    there are 250 sherds of local imitations.

Troy VIIa Mycenaean Pottery
Destruction of Troy VIIa
  • Estimated c. 1270-60.
  • Destroyed by human agency - signs of fire and
  • In the wreckage of the snack bar (House 700) were
    frags of a human skull, with more skeleton bits
    outside the house (same?).
  • Skeleton found on western slope of the hill
    outside the acropolis wall - struck down by
    debris, then buried by it? Crushed skull broken
    lower jaw. Victim or attacker?

The Homeric Troy?
  • Based on all this evidence (and more), and on the
    destruction dates of mainland sites, Blegen
    thinks that this is the Homeric Troy, and its
    destruction is in keeping with Homers depiction
    of raiding parties/town sackers.

The Palace at Pylos
  • Shelmerdine discusses the organization and
    functioning of the palace, especially in its
    final phase.
  • What changes in plan/organization does she note
    take place in the 13th century, especially in
    terms of access into the central building?

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Defensive Remodeling
  • Purpose to restrict access into the main bldg.,
    circulation within it, and to increase storage
    and workshop space.
  • Details
  • Creation of courts 42 and 47, blocking NE
    entrance construction of NE workshop.
  • Frescoed rooms used now for storage.

  • The authorities anticipated trouble, either
    locally, from subordinate rulers/classes, or from
  • We see this also in the mid-13th c. at other
    palaces, such as Mycenae. Outlying houses were
    burnt, triggering a massive construction project
    to extend/strengthen fortification walls and
    provide access to water within the citadel.

Pylos Last Year
  • Its economic activities survive in the tablets,
    and record normal operations.
  • But the tablets also record what seem to be
    defensive actions - the references to the
    watchers on the coast, etc.
  • Pylos was destroyed by fire c. 1200 BCE.
    Re-occupied by the Protogeometric period.

Bronze Age Connections with Homer
  • Both Shelmerdine and Bennet discuss these.
  • The sudden richness of the archaeological record
    in the MBA (Shaft Graves, etc) show not only
    emergent social complexity but also exotic
    knowledge- influenced by Minoan culture, the
    Mycenaeans formed their ideal of kingship at this
    time, represented by the wanax (borrowed word).

Expansion of Mycenaean Power
  • By LHIIIA, Mycenaean power and influence had
    spread from the mainland to Crete, the Cyclades,
    Ionian islands and the coast of Anatolia (e.g.
    Miletos Mycenaean material culture appears
    there, can assume some Mycenaean inhabitants as
  • Mycenaeans did not penetrate inland Anatolia -
    Hittite embargo on Mycenaean trade?

Connecting Homer to the BA
  • If not by social structure, then by narrative.
  • Was there epic poetry in the BA?
  • narrative in art (Theran frescoes, Pylian fresco
    simile on dagger human lion hunt vs. lion
    hunting deer)
  • Frozen linguistic features in Homeric epic
  • Bennet thinks it is reasonable to assume a
    tradition of oral performance connected with
    ritual in the BA.

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