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                                                         Mycenaean Attica 
Mycenaean warrior

The fertile land of Attica was an important place in Mycenaean times. With its olive-groves, vineyards and other crops, Attica was strategically placed between the Peloponnese and Boeotia and opened out onto the Aegean sea.

The actions of the Mycenaean lords during the period of the royal shaft-graves (16th cent. BC) does not seem to have affected life in Attica, whose inhabitants carried on with agriculture, animal husbandly and coastal trade within the Saronic gulf. A significant exception is the fortified settlement at Kolona on Aigina, one of the most important Middle Helladic (seventeenth cent. BC) centres in mainland Greece. A little later, the settlement of Thorikos developed as it controlled the Laurion copper mines and their exports to the Peloponnese and Crete. The rulers of Thorikos were buried in the earliest tholos tombs in Attica (15th cent. BC) following the new Mycenaean custom. The impressive Marathon tholos tomb, with its horse burials and gold grave gifts, belongs to this same period.

The end of the early Mycenaean period saw the development of the cemeteries at Varkiza, Vouliagmeni and Alyki Voulas .


The first ruler's dwelling was constructed on the Athenian Acropolis and the burials in the Ancient Agora and Koukaki at the feet of Acropolis, denote a prosperous outward looking society. In the 14th and 13th centuries BC, the number of settlements in coastal and inland Attica greatly increased. Important cemeteries with rich finds have been excavated at Kopreza (Markopoulo), Vourvatsi (Lamptres), Vrauron, Glyka Nera and Spata. The flourishing Attic pottery workshops added new types and inspirations to Mycenaean art. Trade with the Argolid, Boeotia, the Aegean and the major centres of the eastern Mediterranean intensified.

In the 13th cent. BC, a large Cyclopean wall was erected around the Athenian Acropolis to defend the palace and a subterranean cistern, following the model of the Peloponnesian centres. During this period, the local rulers at Acharnes (Menidi), in the north of Athens, were buried in a large tholos tomb accompanied by rich grave gifts, including ivory and stone vessels, and imported Canaanite amphorae. At the end of the palace period (12th cent BC), the population of Attica diminished as many migrated overseas. Exceptional was the important settlement of merchants and mariners at Perati, the 220 tomb cemetery of which revealed evidence for lively contancts with Lefkandi on the island of Euboea, Naxos, Crete, Rhodes, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Syria, Egypt and central Europe. At Naustathmos in Salamis, the large 11th cent BC cemetery with its humble cist graves, denotes an indigent period. At Athens, the Agora cemetery was abandoned for nearby Kerameikos, foretelling the beginning of a new era.






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