Το βόρειον κυκλώπειον τείχος και η εξωτερική αυλή της πύλης των λεόντων
AuthorΜυλωνάς, Γεώργιος Ε.
Η εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογική Εταιρεία
Αρχαιολογική Εφημερίς, 1962, Τόμος 101, 51-73.
Αρχαιολογική εφημερίς : εκδιδομένη υπό της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρίας
The late Professor A. J. B. Wace, the first to attempt to determine scientifically the date of the walls of Mycenae, concluded that with the exception of the Northeast Extension the walls of Mycenae belong to the same period and could not have been older than the beginning of the fourteenth century B. C., that they were built in that century. Since the Lion Gate and the West Cyclopean Wall seemed to me to be later than the North Cyclopean Wall, I tried to obtain evidence which would date these structures more accurately. In the summer of 1958, helped by Dr. Sp. Iacovides, I examined the interstices of its stones in 11 different sections (Fig. 28, B - A ) in the hope of finding sherds which could be classified. A good many sherds were found, but they were either too small or not characteristic of sub - periods; all belonged to LH III. Then we examined carefully the foundations of the wall (PI. 12α-β) and found that nowhere clay packing was used as bedding, as it was used in the West Cyclopean Wall (PI. 13β). At one point (Fig. 28, Z) clay was found covering the rock from the wall to a distance of 1.10 m. On it was set a three-legged stone phiale used perhaps for offerings (Fig. 29). We may here have a small hypaethral shrine. In the summer of 1959, taking advantage of the restoration work carried out under the direction of Dr. E. Stikas (PI. 14), we made sections through the width of the wall at three different areas (Fig. 28, Μ. N. O). Under the supervision of Dr. Sp. Iacovides the earth covering the ruins of the Wall was removed first (Fig. 30). Then the stone fill of its core was removed in layers and the sherds found in it were kept separately; those that found their way from the top after the abandonment of the Wall (Fig. 33) were eliminated from consideration ; those that could be considered contemporary with its construction were studied carefully. At the same time the method followed in the construction of the Wall was studied once more. The large blocks used for the inner and outer faces of the Wall were laid in a system of stretchers and headers (Figs. 31 and 32). The headers bound the faces to the core of loose stones with which the area between them was filled. The most dependable ceramic evidence was obtained in Section N. Some 85 cm. above rock level and 5 cm. above the top of the blocks of the lowermost course of the outer face of the Wall, among the stones of the core were found remnants of a fire, forming a regular layer some 10 cm. in depth and containing bones of a small animal — presumably of a goat — and sherds. Around the fire other sherds were found. The remnants of the fire could not have penetrated from above and disposed themselves in a layer; evidently they are the remnants of a meal prepared and consumed on the spot by the builders of the Wall. They therefore constitute a «sealed layer» and its sherds date the construction of the Wall. The painted sherds from the section are illustrated in Figure 34. The upper third of the Figure contains the sherds found in the layer of the fire. The balance were found on the rock (the middle rows) and behind the lowermost blocks (the lower third of the Figure). The latest sherds belong to LH III A-2. To the middle of LH III A therefore, or to ca. 1340-30B.C., must be placed the construction of the North Cyclopean Wall. The Cuter Court of the Lion Gate. The North Cyclopean Wall at its west end presents a quasi ashlar conglomerate construction, which is continued around the corner to the south and to the Lion Gate (Fig. 35). This ashlar construction, the beginning of the West Wall of the citadel, closes the outer court before the Lion Gate, forming its Fast Wall. In 1955 I observed that the conglomerate construction was built in front of a Cyclopean wall with which it was not bound. Before photographs and plans could be made the walls were sealed and reconstructed. But it was evident that all its preserved conglomerate blocks were stretchers. This was also noted long ago by Tsountas and Adler and can be seen in the upper part of Plate 33. This method was not that followed in the construction of the North Cyclopean Wall (Figs. 31-32), nor in that of the bastion of the Lion Gate, the blocks of which were laid in the usual header and stretcher technique (PI. 15 α. β). This proves that the conglomerate structure of the east wall of the court is but a screen built at a later time in front of a preexisting Cyclopean wall. The examination of the bastion revealed the fact that its lowermost blocks were laid in a layer of clay and small stones (Figs. 36 and 37 and PI. 16a) while the fill of the court was disturbed in Hellenistic times. In the summer of 1958, with the help of T. Leslie Shear, Jr., I cleared the south end of the Cyclopean wall under consideration to be found behind the curtain wall of the Lion Gate (Fig. 39 and PI. 17, ε). That end presents neither a finished terminal, nor a turn to the west, as it would have been the case if conglomerate and Cyclopean wall were built at the same time. At that end we found an irregular fill of small stones indicating that at that point the Cyclopean wall was demolished, its end filled again, and a careless face given to it. The painted sherds of Figures 40 and 41 found in the section belong almost in their totality to LH III B and the latest of them belong to the middle of that ceramic phase. Apparently the rearrangement of the end of the Cyclopean wall and the building of the conglomerate construction took place around the middle of LH III B. It seemed clear at the time of the excavation that the Cyclopean wall — the West wall of the citadel — continued westward while the conglomerate screen turned south to form the curtain wall of the Lion Gate (PI. 17 a).