Η πύλη των λεόντων
AuthorΜυλωνάς, Γεώργιος Ε.
Η εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογική Εταιρεία
Αρχαιολογική Εφημερίς, 1962, Τόμος 101, 74-100.
Αρχαιολογική εφημερίς : εκδιδομένη υπό της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρίας
Wace in 1922 examined the southeast corner of the outer court of the Lion Gate and also dug a trench in front of its threshold. In July, 1958, under the supervision of T, Leslie Shear, Jr., we dug a trench in three sections along the curtain wall and threshold of the Gate, 1.50 m. in width (Fig. 42). Section I had been dug before by Wace; consequently its fill was found disturbed. However, the removal of that fill revealed the foundations of the curtain wall and of the east end of the threshold (Figs. 43 and 44). That end was found to be supported by small stones set in whitish clay (PI. 18a). In this clay was found sherd No. 1, Figure 45, while sherd No. 2 and 6 plain sherds were found in the foundation stones of the wall. Section II included Wace’s trench, and consequently did not yield valid information; sherds Nos. 6-8, Figure 45, were found in this section. Section III stretched from Wace’s trench to the east wall of the bastion. The depth of its fill ranged from 98 cm. to 1.46 m. The lowermost layer of this fill, ranging in depth from 28 cm. to 41 cm., was made up of stones and earth and yielded the sherds of Figure 46. Some 48 plain sherds belonging to shapes listed on p. 80 were also found in that fill. The west end of the threshold was also revealed in Section III (Figs. 42, 44 and Pis. 16 and i8). It is supported by small· stones placed like wedges. One of these cracked under the pressure of the wall and door jamb, causing the cracking of the threshold block which must have occurred in Mycenaean times. The investigation proved that the threshold block does not rest on rock, as it was assumed before, but for the greater part of its length on a layer of clean earth ranging in thickness from 12 to 27 cm. In that earth we found the painted sherds Nos. 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 and 24, Figure 45, and besides 24 plain sherds listed in p. 81. The inner side of the threshold block was based in the same way on a layer of clean earth (PI. 19(3). Against that face were piled stones and these were covered with a thick layer of plesia (PI. 19(3, <5) to shield the threshold against moisture. Over the stones and plesia we have the understructure and surface of the road which led from the Lion Gate to the Ramp. The surface of the road was made up of well-pressed earth, coarse grained sand, and small pebbles and contained some sherds and many chips, including chips broken by the saws (sawbites as the laborers called them), produced when the door jambs and lintel of the Gate were finally finished in place. These chips prove that the Lion Gate and the road were constructed and finished at the same time. In Figure 47 I give the painted sherds and the figurine found in the top layer of the road. Sherds Nos. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, Figure 48 were found in the earth below the threshold, while Nos. 3, 4, 5 come from the stone fill against its inner side. In Figure 49 are illustrated the painted sherds found in the stone fill of the inner court of the Gate which Mr. Shear investigated. In my study of the Postern Gate in the Orlandos-Festschrift, I explained the reasons which imposed the placing of Mycenaean thresholds over a layer of earth rather than directly on the rock; for the threshold of the Postern Gate was similarly placed on earth with its two ends supported by stones (Fig. 21). The examination of Wall No. 9 beyond the inner court (Figs. 50 and 51) proved that it is a retaining wall supporting a platform, to be known as the Fast Platform, which to the east extends to the rock formation of the slope. The investigation of the platform, by T. Leslie Shear, Jr., revealed its stratigraphy and composition (Fig. 52, PI. 21 β). The painted sherds obtained in the stone fill of the platform are illustrated in Figures 54 and 55, while those found in the layer of yellowish earth over the stone fill are given in Figure 53. Under the foundation of the north end of Wall No 9 there exists a drain (Fig. 51, v) known since the days of Schliemann. Wace followed its course beyond the court and under the Granary to the West Cyclopean Wall, but did not investigate its beginning under Wall 9. We did that (Fig. 57) and found it intact. Its roof is made of flat slabs horizontally set from side to side. We cleared a straight course 1.30 m. in length but the drain proceeds eastward at least 50 cm. more, i. e. the drain proceeds beyond the retaining wall and a good deal under the fill of the platform. It is evident that its use was terminated when the platform was built. Then the diagonally running drain «β» (Plan A) was constructed to take its place. In 1964 we found the beginning of drain «β» in an opening between Walls 9 and 26 which was made after the Great Ramp was built, i. e. towards the end of the 13th century B. C. At first we thought that drain «ν» was a continuation of drain «π», Figure 56, which is to be seen above the east side of the platform under the wall of the big LH III C structure revealed byr Tsountas. But further investigation revealed no connection and it can be definitely stated that drain «η» (or «α» On Plan A) was blocked and abandoned when the east platform was constructed. The fill of that drain yielded the painted sherds of Figures 58 and 59. These indicate the years in which the drain was abandoned and the platform was built. The latest of the sherds belong to the second half of LH IIIB and almost to its very end. Summarizing the results obtained we can state: 1) Our investigations brought to light architectural and ceramic evidence which will place the Lion Gate and the conglomerate construction within definite chronological limits. 2) The architectural elements prove that the Lion and Postern Gates are almost contemporarv; the use of clay in their foundation and the conglomerate ashlar construction are common elements. 3) The architectural evidence also proves that the Bast Platform and its retaining Wall No. 9 are later than the Lion Gate. 4) The Lion Gate, its bastion 'and the conglomerate screen of the east wall of the Outer Court are contemporary and later than the Cyclopean Wall standing behind the screen. That wall ties with the North Cyclopean Wall and forms its continuation to the south. 5) The sherds found and especially the painted sherds are sufficient in number and quality to be classified. 6) The painted sherds in the area of the Lion Gate belong to years a little earlier than those from the Postern Gate. All belong to LH III B times. Older sherds were not found. The latest of the sherds from the Lion Gate area belong to the middle of the ceramic phase LH III B and date the construction of the Gate. The latest sherds from the East Platform will place it at the end of the LH III B period. These sherds indicate the sequence of the constructions carried out at Mycenae in LH III B times. Finally 7) the sherds found in the Lion Gate area belong to later times than those from the North Cyclopean Wall. Consequently' the Lion Gate and the conglomerate construction of its court were built in later years than those in which the North Wall was constructed.