Shaft Grave Art:
Modern Problems

The Shaft Grave rulers, to judge by their more robust size than that of their followers, by their weapons and by their favorite scenes of art, were hunters and warriors who began consolidating the rather barbaric villages of Greece into a formidable empire. They brought their people from a comparatively backward Middle Helladic existence into the Late Helladic period, aptly named “the Mycenaean Age.” Their houses, tombs and pottery were at first rather poor, since they preferred to lavish their wealth on precious weapons, bowls, ornaments, etc., which they took with them to their graves. At the start of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt they imported and copied objects and ideas from many regions, but Especially drew from the more sophisticated Minoans of Crete. By the time of the last interments in the Shaft Graves, during Pharaoh Thutmose III’s reign, the Mycenaeans had not only embraced Minoan artistic trends, but had taken over former Minoan colonies throughout the Aegean, and had conquered Crete itself. By the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty and during the Nineteenth, the Greek rulers resided in palaces within fortified city-states, built sumptuous tombs, developed an intricate economic system supporting herders and farmers, merchants, soldiers, poets, scribes and skilled artisans, who produced beautiful poetry, jewelry, sealstones, ivory carvings, etc., which displayed artistic uniformity throughout Greece and her colonies. The Greeks had taken over the East Mediterranean trade routes, importing luxury items from every direction and exporting their own goods throughout the Aegean and Near East.1

One can trace all those developments during the span of the Grave Circles—from their inception towards the end of the Middle Helladic period till the special treatment accorded to Circle A during the Late Helladic III B period. We can relate those events to Egyptian history because of the culture contact—both direct and indirect (e.g., via Crete)—between Greece and Egypt throughout the Mycenaean Age. To illustrate that link during the Shaft Grave period, one need only look to the vases and metal objects flora the two grave circles and from contemporary and only slightly later find-spots throughout the East Mediterranean.

Crete, which had enjoyed direct contact with Egypt for centuries before the Shaft Grave Period, sent many of the objects and provided much of the artistic inspiration found among the contents of the Grave Circles.2 Both Crete and Greece entered the Late Bronze Age at about the same time, which one can firmly link to the beginning of the New Kingdom in Egypt, For example, several swords, daggers and vessels from the Shaft Graves display designs and scenes composed of inlaid gold, silver and niello (a black metallic compound), reminiscent of early New Kingdom Egypt, with some of the hunting scenes of definite Egyptian origin, though possibly acquired via Minoan intermediaries. In Egypt itself an ornamental axe head from the earliest years of the Eighteenth Dynasty depicts an Aegean griffin, and its companion piece, a dagger, shows animals at a “flying gallop” inspired by Aegean art, with the iconography of both weapons very closely related to the inlaid weapons of the Shaft Graves. Frescoes in the tombs of the Theban nobles who served Hatshepsut and Thutmose III portray foreign emissaries whose physiognomy, pigmentation, hair style and dress exactly resemble Aegean portraits of themselves. Those and later frescoes, along with Thutmose III’s bas relief from Karnak, depict metal vessels which correspond in material, shape and decoration to the cups, goblets, pitchers, jars, conical pouring vessels, animal-headed containers and figurines which excavators have found in the rich graves of Mycenaean Greece, the mansions on Santorini, and the palaces and villas of Crete. The archaeologists of Egypt and the Levant have also discovered a number of actual Aegean exports of (and slightly later than) the Shaft Grave Period in contexts which are clearly contemporaneous with Thutmose III.3

Since such firm links between the early Eighteenth Dynasty and the Shaft Graves establish a synchronism, Aegean archaeologists, who lacked a reliable dating system of their own, turned to their colleagues, the Egyptologists, who had employed the pharaonic lists of Manetho and astronomical computations to determine absolute dates for the New Kingdom. Transferring the results of their calculations to the Aegean, they assigned the Grave Circles to the seventeenth-sixteenth/early fifteenth centuries B.C., and strapped Aegean archaeologists with a plethora of problems arising from such early dates. Velikovsky has already shown the highly dubious nature of the assumptions which the Egyptologists made in order to construct their dating system,4 and set forth his case for subtracting over 500 years from the standard chronology of the Eighteenth Dynasty in accordance with Egyptian and Near Eastern circumstances.5

At the Aegean end, an author has recently made the same observation as struck Schliemann and Eduard Meyer in the 1880’s while many of the vessels shown in the Eighteenth Dynasty frescoes correspond to Shaft Grave artifacts, some resemble Protogeometric and Geometric ware over 500 years later.6

Again like their nineteenth century precursors, modern scholars still compare some of the Shaft Grave artifacts to those of the Greek Archaic Period (seventh to sixth century). Schiering and Vermeule, for example, noted the similarities between the “second millennium” gold and electron masks from the Mycenaean Grave Circles and a seventh-century bronze mask from Crete and sixth-century gold masks from Bulgaria, each feeling that, despite the huge gap in time, an otherwise undetected continuity linked the Mycenaean and the much later examples.7

Many of the artifacts from the Grave Circles, including the stele and ring already mentioned, depict stags—a favorite subject of Mycenaean two-dimensional art.8 In one of the richest graves of Circle A, Schliemann also found a three-dimensional silver stag having a hollow, barrel-shaped body and a spout on the back, probably used as a drinking vessel. Possibly an import from Anatolia, and certainly deriving inspiration from that region, where the stag had long been “a charged symbol,” it seems to be a metallic copy of a ceramic model.9 Excavations in Greece have, so far, produced only one other comparable grave offering in the form of a three-dimensional ceramic stag with a hollow, barrel-shaped body, probably used to hold liquid, Though different in material and in style from the Mycenaean example, it still reminded its discoverer of that find.10 It comes from the Kerameikos cemetery of Athens, and is dated over 500 years after the Shaft Grave stag, at ca. 925 B.C.—a date which poses its own problems for those seeking to connect the Athenian model to similarly-made ceramic figurines of the Mycenaean Age, supposedly centuries earlier, with an apparent gap dividing them.11

Baltic amber first appeared in Greece in the Shaft Graves, and became characteristic of the Aegean during the early Mycenaean Age (sixteenth to fifteenth centuries), then lost its popularity for a long time,12 returning near the end of the thirteenth century.13 Five hundred years after the Shaft Grave period in the eleventh or tenth century, it again became “not uncommon”, again disappeared for centuries, and again regained its popularity during the eighth century,14 as it had in the late thirteenth. Roughly half a millennium separates the corresponding phases of its popularity and scarcity.

In addition to amber. Northern burial rites, cultural traits and taste in art also found their expression in the Shaft Graves, with some scholars even speculating that the rulers of Mycenae may have been newly-arrived immigrants from the North.15 Roughly half a millennium later, ca. 1100 B.C., northern influence again spread into Greece.16 In the tenth to ninth centuries, the tribes of Central Europe, especially Austro-Hungary, had a life—style and customs very similar to that of the Shaft Grave princes of Mycenae, and there are those scholars who look for such conditions in contemporary Greece, but fail to find them, since they assign the Shaft Graves 600 years earlier.17

Between the Danube and Mycenae lay the burials of Albania which Hammond considered the antecedents of the Shaft Graves, while Prendi and Snodgrass dated them 500 years later. At about the same latitude, to the east, in Macedonia was another cemetery site at Vergina. Like Mycenae, its earliest tombs were stone-lined shafts, roofed with wood, containing very primitive pottery, and enclosed by circles of stones. Once again Hammond assigned the first tombs earlier than the Grave Circles of Mycenae.18 Responding to that assessment, Snodgrass19 again noted that it was 500 years earlier than the excavator (M. Andronikos), Desborough, he himself, as well as most scholars had dated them on the basis of tenth century artifacts inside the tombs.20 There are, however, still other similarities to the Shaft Graves, beyond those mentioned by Hammond, which pose problems for those convinced of Vergina’s late date.

As at Mycenae, the people of Vergina were both wealthy and warlike, burying with them their weapons, amber trinkets, gold jewelry, long dress pins, spiral ornaments, spiral hair coils of bronze and gold wire, and many objects strongly influenced by the north21—all familiar features from the Shaft Graves. Contrasted with tenth-century Greece, however, their burials are without parallel22 their warlike society is “the first clear example of one,”23 their wealth is “amazing,” while “the most remarkable fact” is that the strong northern element did not “penetrate the rest of Greece at this period.”24 What is unique, “first,” “amazing,” and “most remarkable” for the tenth century fits well the Shaft Grave Period, currently placed 500 years earlier.

There was a number of special coils of gold wire in the Shaft Graves of Mycenae, as well as contemporary examples in gold or bronze at Kirrha and Eleusis, used for hair—rings, finger-rings, etc.25 Not only at Vergina but elsewhere in Greece coils of bronze or gold wire, often indistinguishable from the Mycenaean examples, again became popular in the eleventh to tenth centuries, with the gold examples most noteworthy for their contrast to the general impoverishment and the particular scarcity of gold now seen for that period.26

Other gold ornaments from the Shaft Graves, which P. Gardner originally assigned to the Geometric Age, still cause problems for modern excavators who cannot bring them down that late. When publishing the early finds from the Kerameikos cemetery of Athens, K. Kübler characterized four ninth-century gold bands as having a “closely related” (nahverwandten) and “completely similar forerunners” (völlig gleiche Vorläufer) in the gold work of Mycenae over 600 years earlier.27 Quite recently he published a beautifully decorated T-shaped band, probably used as a garter belt, not earlier than the tenth century B.C., and probably belonging to the eighth. He noted “comparable and unmistakable similarities” (vergleichbar und unverkennbar Ahnen) to a number of the golden garter belts from both grave circles, citing his example as still further proof of a “direct connection” (unmittelbarer Zusaromenhang) between the metalwork of the Shaft Grave Period and that of the early first millennium.28 With such finds separated by several centuries, it is easy to see similarities, but difficult to see any link, direct or indirect.

Several of the ornamental gold discs from Circle A showed “the frequent use of the compass” to form the embossed and engraved rosettes and concentric circle designs.29 Compass-drawn, concentric circles and semi-circles comprise “one of the most common features” of eleventh-century Protogeometric pottery. Desborough, who has made the most thorough study of that type of pottery, considered the sudden appearance of such precise motifs to be the result of a 500-year later “new Athenian invention,”30 since compass-drawn patterns of any kind are difficult, if not impossible, to detect during the intervening half millennium.31

In Grave Circle A Schliemann discovered long dress pins, some with globular heads. In 1956 P. Jacobsthal, an authority on Greek art, wrote a book detailing the history of dress pins in Greece, which he felt did not begin prior to the late twelfth century B.C., when women started to use long pins with globular pins to fasten thick clothing at their shoulders. Aware of the pins from Mycenae, two of which closely resembled the earliest ones of his series, he declined to include them in his survey. In a footnote he acknowledged the existence of Schliemann’s finds and observed that two of them do “look like forerunners of the sub-Mycenaean pin-type. This must be coincidence: they are separated by an interval of 400 years, and this cannot be bridged.”32 Other scholars of about that time also agreed that the history of Greek pins ought to begin in the late twelfth century, not with the Shaft Grave examples.33 N. Sandars, who speciallized in metallurgy, felt that the assumption that 400 years passed without any examples to connect the pins of Mycenae to the very similar ones which started Jacobsthal’s series was “rather too sweeping.”34 Still there was an embarrassing gap.

During the course of that discussion, archaeologists found and published Grave Circle B at Mycenae and a cemetery only about seven miles away at Argos, both of which added new substance to the controversy, and made the gap even more embarrassing. Circle B produced still more “seventeenth-sixteenth-century” long pins with globular heads (some of rock crystal) clearly worn at the shoulders of women. 35 The excavator of Argos found similar long dress pins worn at the shoulders, but datable to the late twelfth century. He felt that since they were so similar in style and usage, and so close geographically, there had to be a connection between the pins of Mycenae and Argos.36 Desborough, granting that the shape and function were similar, and that Mycenae is very close to Argos and provides a “local predecessor” for the pins there, still felt that the time gap was too enormous for there to have been a conscious revival, and no evidence of survival. Despite the affinities of the Shaft Grave pins to those beginning in the late twelfth century, and becoming “a common feature of the period, the later pins constituted a “radical change” from everything during the intervening 400 years. Desborough attached some importance to the later pins, since they” had a bearing on the vital matter of the origins of the whole sub-Mycenaean culture towards the end of the twelfth century,37 which, not only in regard to pins, bore numerous similarities to the culture of the seventeenth-sixteenth centuries,38 but constituted “a radical change” from nearly everything which the present chronological scheme places between the two periods.

E. Bielefeld, unlike Desborough, did not want to connect the Shaft Grave pins to the later examples but, faced with the same centuries—long gap, suggested that there might have been a change in dress after the Shaft Grave period, possibly due to Minoan influence (or warmer weather), but at the end of the Mycenaean Age women again dressed as they had 400 years earlier. With no evidence that similar pins existed in Greece to span the gap, he suggested that the pins and dress might have survived in the East, only to return after 400 years, or, alternatively, that the pins and dress did survive in Greece itself, among the lower classes who did not embrace Minoan fashions, but that their remains have so far eluded excavators.39

Snodgrass, long concerned with metal work and the Dark Ages, noted that the later pins “appear somewhat abruptly,” possibly due to a colder climate. He, too, saw the “clear . . . antecedents” from the Shaft Graves, and felt some sympathy for the hypothesis of revival, but, like Desborough, was far less concerned with the short distance between the graves of Mycenae and Argos than the huge gap in time. Like Bielefeld he preferred to see the pins survive somewhere to bridge the gap, rather than view the similarities as merely coincidental. Since Greece, despite so much excavation, has not produced the intermediate examples, he looked to more likely (and colder) areas to the north and northwest, but conceded that those regions show no evidence of spanning the gap either. He concluded that “the origins of the straight pin in Greece need to be reconsidered.”40 Bielefeld confessed a similar perplexity when he stated that the whole topic involves difficulties which at present are not fully resolved.41

Under the present chronology, either the Shaft Grave pins were some sort of aberrant phenomenon, which only incidentally resembled pins 400 years later, similar in function and style, and as close as ca. seven miles away, or else pins existed somewhere, as yet undetermined (to the North, the Northwest, the East, or in Greece itself—though even those who believe in survival do not agree where it took place, since the evidence is lacking or inconclusive for all areas), which span the centuries, centuries which Jacobsthal and others, who reject the notion of survival, considered unbridgeable.

We return to the vessels and daggers with inlaid designs and scenes of gold, silver and niello, which link the Shaft Graves to the early Eighteenth Dynasty. The inlay technique first appeared in Greece among the Shaft Grave artifacts, and continued through the early Mycenaean Age, and possibly until the destruction of the Late Helladic palaces towards the end of the LH period.42 When describing the inlaid metal decoration of Achilles’ shield in the Iliad, Homer gives such extensive details of the design and of its manufacture that late nineteenth and early twentieth-century scholars like C. Tsountas and K Friis Johansen felt that the technique lasted until the poet’s time.43 Now that experts generally date Homer to the eighth century B.C., while excavators have found no inlaid metal after the LH III B period, which Egyptian chronology assigns to the thirteenth century, scholars are forced to ask “how was it remembered?” during the intervening half millennium.44 Some45 postulate that individual pieces may have survived as heirlooms or been rediscovered centuries later, which would explain the description of the finished product but not of the manufacturing technique.46 That is, in any case, purely hypothetical, since no inlaid objects have been discovered in contexts later than LH III B. Others doubt that possibility and prefer to believe that the tradition of oral poetry kept the memory of the objects and the technique alive47—a theory frequently employed to explain Homer’s extensive knowledge of the culture which scholars now date half a millennium before his time. One of the Shaft Grave swords bore a geometric meander design on its hilt, which a recent writer considered “wholly untypical of Helladic workmanship at that time,” and more akin to the decorative scheme which started to become popular some 500 years later.48 A number of the swords had their handles attached by bronze rivets plated with silver or gold, as did other weapons during the early Mycenaean period. On present evidence, silver-plated rivets lasted from ca. 1550-1400 then returned ca. 700 B.C. on Cyprus, which has provoked yet another debate among Homericists. Homer sings of gold-studded and “silver-studded swords” in his epics, with several classicists conjecturing that Homer chronicled weapons which had gone out of use centuries before his time, but which the metrical formulae of oral poetry kept fresh in the Greeks’ memory.49 Since the Cypriote swords with silver studs are contemporaneous with the rise of the epics, V. Karageorghis felt it more likely that Homer sang of the weapons of his own day.50 Between the two groups of swords there is at present a gap of 700 years, with each group of classicists championing examples on one side or the other of that lacuna51—a very familiar situation, as we shall see again and again in the present essay.

The earliest locally-made vases from the Shaft Graves are pretty homely compared to the roetal work, the exotic imports and the much finer Mycenaean pottery which soon followed. Still, pottery is the major element which Aegean archaeologists employ to establish relative sequences and absolute dates for the pre-classical period,52 so that the Shaft Grave vases deserve some consideration. They include goblets and storage vessels, the latter of which are of special interest. Although the “Submycenaean” pots of ca. 1125 B.C. supposedly followed immediately after the last phase of Mycenaean pottery (LH III C) in Western Attica, and Protogeometric pots of ca. 1050-900 B.C. supposedly followed LH III C at Mycenae and elsewhere in Greece,53 there is “a striking difference” in the repertory of shapes between LH III C and sub-Mycenaean,54 and both LH III C and sub-Mycenaean vases seem unlikely progenitors of protogeometric ware.55 Those pots of ca. 1125-900 B.C., which archaeologists now place centuries after the, Shaft Grave period (despite some problems with that placement) show some marked similarities to the Shaft Grave pots, supposedly 400-600 years earlier.56

Numerous scholars have long noted resemblances of the earliest “Iron Age” pottery of Greece, with its distinctive shapes and geometrical designs, to the Middle Helladic (MH) ware at the tide of, and immediately preceding the Shaft Grave Period, with the earliest writers, like Conze, Gardner, and Schliemann himself,57 making them contemporaneous. Since the Shaft Graves showed a close link to the early Eighteenth Dynasty, however, Egyptian chronology discredited that notion, and separated the two sets of pottery by some 500 years. Despite that long interval, since the Middle Bronze Age ware of the Peloponnese and Boeotia still resembled the familiar Iron Age pottery from the Kerameikos cemetery of Athens, S. Wide proudly announced his discovery in 1894 of the long-sought “missing link” (das fehlende Glied) bridging the two groups at the site of Aphidna, less than fifteen miles northeast of Athens.58 While his find did help geographically, chronologically it was still 500 years too old to connect with the Athenian Iron Age ware. Wide and J. Böhlau therefore proposed that while the upper classes used LH pottery, the humble folk continued to make and use their older style throughout those same 500 years, until the disappearance of the aristocracy and its cultural remains, at which point the native ware again came to the forefront.59 Their idea that the older geometrical pottery coexisted with LH ware appealed to a number of contemporary scholars, even as late as 1935,since it explained the similarity of styles otherwise dated 500 years apart.60

More recently scholars have rejected the notion that geometrical MH pottery survived alongside LH ware in the Mycenaean world. Many, however, still see the earliest Iron Age pottery of Greece as “a clear break”61 and a “separate entity” from the latest Mycenaean ware, which it supposedly succeeded directly, and as marking “a new era in the art of the Greek lands.”62 They still note closer similarities to MH ware 500 years earlier than to the intervening LH pottery a matter which “raises a host of problems.” Some regard the origin of the new Iron Age ware as “obscure”, somehow “by-passing the Mycenaean phases” to link up with the 500-year-older MH tradition, possibly in some remote region to the north.63 Desborough, who has made the most thorough study of the earliest Iron Age geometrical ware, rejected a derivation from such a source, although he, like others, was equally dissatisfied with a direct development from the latest Mycenaean ware.64

However one tries to solve the 500-year ceramic problem, the fact remains today, as in Schliemann’s time, that some of the earliest Iron Age ware of Greece, with its distinctive fabric, its wheel made and handmade forms, and its incised and painted decoration, resembles the pottery which culminated in the Shaft Grave vases from Mycenae;65 and at the site of Asine, less than twenty miles southeast of Mycenae, the excavators termed that resemblance “astounding.”66


  1. Vermeule, (1972), pp. 82-279.

  2. Vermeule, (1975), passim, esp, pp. 27ff.

  3. Ibid., pp. 18-22; Vermeule, (1972), pp. 109, 148-151; Hankey-Warren, (1974), pp. 145-147 (with references to fundamental work by Evans, Kantor, Furumark and Vercoutter).

  4. I. Velikovsky, Peoples of the Sea (Garden City, N.Y., 1977) pp. 205-244.

  5. I. Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos I (Garden City, N.Y., 1952) passim.

  6. E. Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums I (Stuttgart, 1884), p. 245; H. Schliemann, Tiryns (New York, 1885), p. 89; T. Burton-Brown, Third Millennium Diffusion (Oxford, 1970), p. 184.

  7. W. Schiering, “Masken am Hals Kretisch-mykenischer und früh-geometrischer Tongefässe,” Jahrbuch des deutschen archäologischen Instituts (henceforth JdI), 79 (1964), p. 16 and figs. 17,18; E. Vermeule, (1972), p. 108.

  8. Vermeule, (1975), pp. 15, 17, 23-26, 45.

  9. Ibid., pp. 15-16.

  10. K. Kübler, Kerameikos IV (Berlin, 1943), p. 20, n. 19.

  11. R. Higgins (Greek Terracottas [London, 1967], p. 21) and Snodgrass ([1971], p. 401) both noted the similarity to Mycenaean works at least 200 years earlier, the former suggesting that the technique survived in Crete and Cyprus to return to Greece later. R.V. Nicholls (“Greek Votive Statuettes and Religious Continuity, ca. 1200-700 BC” in Auckland Classical Essays Presented to E.M. Blaiklock /ed. B. Harris/ [New Zealand, 1970], p. 13) believed in continuity in Greece itself, though he could only cite two examples which might belong to those two hundred years (Cf. Desborough, (1972), pp. 282-283).

  12. Vermeule, (1972), pp. 89, 114, 127-128, 131, 147, 227, 257.

  13. C.W. Beck et al., “Analysis and Provenience of Minoan and Mycenaean Amber, II Tiryns,” Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies (Henceforth GRBS), 9 (1968), p. 15.

  14. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 248, 290, n. 34.

  15. Vermeule, (1975), pp. 22-26, 28, 49; Luce, (1975) p. 32. 

  16. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 319-320. 

  17. Ibid., p. 392 (cp. Vermeule, (1971); pp. 108-110); A. Mahr et al.. The Mecklenburg Collection, etc. (New York, 1934), pp. 9-11. 

  18. Hammond, (1972), p. 266.

  19. Snodgrass, review of Hammond’s A History of Macedonia, JHS, 94 (1974), pp. 230-231. 

  20. M. Andronikos, “An Early Iron Age Cemetery at Vergina, near Beroea,” Balkan Studies, 2 (1961), p. 89: ca. 1050-1000 B.C. (later revised to ca. 1,000 B.C.); Desborough, (1972), pp. 219-220:early tenth century; Snodgrass, (1971), p. 133: late tenth century.

  21. Snodgrass, ibid., pp. 253-254; Desborough, ibid. pp. 219-220.

  22. Snodgrass, ibid., pp. 161-162; Desborough, ibid., p. 220.

  23. Desborough, loc. cit.

  24. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 253, 257. 

  25. H. Schliemann, Mycenae (New York, 1880) p. 353 No. 529 (from a plundered Shaft Grave south of Circle A); E. Bielefeld, Schmuck (Archaeologia Homerica I C),(Gottingen, 1968), p. 37, to which add G. Mylonas, “The Cemeteries of Eleusis and Mycenae”, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 99 (1955), p. 59.

  26. Bielefeld, ibid., pp. 47-48; R. Higgins, Greek and Roman Jewelry (London, 1961), pp 72, 91, 93; Desborough, (1972). pp. 304-305. 

  27. K. Kübler, Kerameikos V. 1.1 (Berlin, 1954), pp. 185-186. 

  28. K. Kübler, Kerameikos VI. 2. 2 (Berlin, 1970) pp. 403-404. 

  29. F. Matz, The Art of Crete and Early Greece (tr. by A.E. Keep) (New York, 1962), pp. 174, 218 fig. 48; cf. Schliemann, (1980), pp. 167 No. 241, 319 No. 481 (rosettes), 172 No. 252 (circles).

  30. Desborough, (1972), pp. 41-43, 145 (referring to the combination of the compass with a multiple brush).

  31. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 47, 99, n. 26.

  32. P. Jacobsthal, Greek Pins (Oxford, 1956) p. 1 and n. 1.

  33. H. Lorimer, Homer and the Monuments (London, 1950), p. 358; Higgins, (1961), p. 92.

  34. N. Sandars, “A Minoan Cemetery on Upper Gypsades: The Bronzes,” BSA, 53-54 (1958-9), p. 235, n. 28.

  35. G. Mylonas, Ancient Mycenae (Princeton, 1957) pp. 144-145, 158.

  36. J. Deshayes, Argos: les fouilles de la Deiras (Paris, 1966), p. 205; see also B.C. Dietrich, “Some Evidence of Religious Continuity in the Greek Dark Age,” BICS, 17 (1970), p. 20

  37. V. Desborough, review of Deshayes’ Argoa etc. in Gnomon, 41 (1969), p. 217; cf. idem, (1972), pp. 108, 295-299.

  38. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 383-385: cf. remark on p. 29.

  39. Bielefeld, (1968), pp. 38-39.

  40. Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 226-228, 309-310 (climate).

  41. Bielefeld, (1968), p. 39.

  42. Venneule, (1972), pp. 98-100, 128, 133, 151, 225; Luce, (1975), pp. 61-63, 70-71, The inlaid silver cup found in the debris of the LH III B palace at Pylos, and often cited as LH III B in date of manufacture (e.g. Luce, p. 62), could have been an heirloom (Blegen-Rawson, (1956) pp. 57-58, 62); nevertheless, it shows that such objects were still in use (possibly made) until the destructions marking the transition from LH III B to C.

  43. C. Tsountas & J. I. Manatt, The Mycenaean Age (New York, 1897), p. 324; K. Friis Johansen, Les Vases Sicyoniens (Rome, 1966 [reprint of 1923 edition]), pp. 159-160.

  44. Luce, (1975), p. 63.

  45. D.E. Strong, Greek and Roman Gold and Silver Plate (Glasgow, 1966) pp. xxv, 53; D.H.F. Gray, “Metal-working in Homer”, JHS, 74 (1954), p, 4; see Vermeule, (1972) p. 100.

  46. Gray (ibid., pp. 3-4, 12-14) felt that Homer’s description of the process was very erroneous and implied a long break. On one point, “kyanos” might designate niello rather than glass paste. Any misconceptions which Homer had about fabrication techniques—which were probably known only to a small guild of artisans—need have no chronological implications (cf. n. below), but if there was a temporal lapse, it need not have been several centuries in duration. The period between the probable manufacture date and time of deposition of the Pylos cup would be more than adequate, and, in fact, a generation or so would suffice.

  47. Luce, (1975), p. 63; T.B.L. Webster, From Mycenae to Homer (New York, 1964), pp. 28-29, 213-214; G.S. Kirk, The Language and Background of Homer (Cambridge, 1964) p. 176; K. Fittschen, Der Schild des Achilleus (Archaeologia Homerica II. n. 1) (Göttingen, 1973), pp. 5-6, 17.

  48. Burton-Brown, (1970), p. 184.

  49. Gray, (1954) p. 14; Luce, (1975), pp. 61-62, 101-102; Webster, (1964), p. 92; Kirk, (1964), pp. 176-183; Lorimer, (1950), pp. 273-274; D. Page, History and the Homeric Iliad (Los Angeles, 1959), p. 278, n. 63; G.S. Kirk, Homer and the Oral Tradition (New York, 1976), pp. 20, 22, 42-43 (where he takes an even firmer stand than in his earlier work.)

  50. V. Karageorghis, “Homerica from Salamis (Cyprus)” in Europa: Studien. . . Ernst Grumach (Berlin, 1967), pp. 167-168; idem, Salamis in Cyprus (London, 1969), p. 70

  51. A. Snodgrass, “An Historical Homeric Society ?,” JHS 94 (1974) p. 123. Luce (1975, p. 102) suggested that Homer’s poetry may have inspired the swords of Cyprus rather than vice versa, although one might wonder how familiar Homer was both to and with seventh-century Cyprus. Karageorghis (Europa, p. 168, and letter to roe of Oct. 26, 1978) acknowledged the seven-hundred-year-gap in the evidence to date, but postulated that there were silver-studded swords during those centuries (as yet undiscovered) to bridge the lacuna (cf. scholars’ similar beliefs on chariots, below “A Chariot Vase,” ns. 2, 7). In that regard, it is of interest to note that, so far, no one has discovered a silver-studded sword on Cyprus earlier than ca. 700 B.C., and, of still greater interest, that, by the present chronology, there is a surprising gap from ca. 1400-1200 B.C., when the Cypriots had no swords whatever (H. W. Catling, Cypriote Bronzework in the Mycenaean World [Oxford, 1964] pp. 110,113; L. Aström et al.. The Late Cypriote Bronze Age:Other Arts and Crafts [Swedish Cyprus Expedition (henceforth SCE) IV. 1D] [Lund, 1972], pp. 560, 762).

  52. E.G., for the Mycenaean Period see Vermeule, (1972), p. 139; for the Dark Age see Snodgrass, (1971), pp. 24-28, and Desborough, (1972), p. 292.

  53. Snodgrass, ibid., pp. 134-135.

  54. Ibid. p. 35. As he notes (loc. cit.), the repertory of pots called “Submycenaean” has both grown and shrunk due to new discoveries and reclassification (cf. Desborough, (1972), p. 33). Some shapes clearly derive from the lates LH series, while others, currently seen as their contemporaries, do not, and seem to be 500-year throwbacks.

  55. V. Desborough, Protogeometric Pottery (Oxford, 1952), p. 126. 

  56. Compare the shape (not handles) of ibid., pl. 19 A 1452-1453 to Mylonas, (1957), pls. 43a, 64 a-b; the shape of ibid., pl. 35 IV.1 to Mylonas, p.. 81b; the handled kalathos (ibid., pl. 8 No. 577.20) resembles an enlarged “Vapheio cup” (P.S. 224) for which, note the gigantic cups carried by Aegeans in Egyptian frescoes; Amphora 590 (G. Karo, Die Schachtgräber von Mykenai [Munich, 1933], pl. 171) shows points of resemblance to C.G. Styrenius, Submycenaean Studies (Lund, 1967) pls. 49, 63, to C.W. Blegen et al.. The Palace of Nestor III (Princeton, 1973) pl. 298.14, and to K. Kübler & W. Kraiker. Kerameikos I (Berlin, 1939), pl. 55 No. 589; the amphoriskoi from Circle B (e.g. Mylonas, Ho Taphikos Kyklos B ton Mykenon [Athens, 1973], pl. 128B) show similarities to Styrenius, pl. 11 and Desborough (1952, p. 126.), pl. 31 (bottom center). The resemblances are generic, and I would not claim that the pots were made in the same place, at the same time, by the same men. They, along with many other artifacts and customs show similarities more easily explained by a closer link than scholars now see. The admitted differences are often slighter than those between contemporaneous Submycenaean pots from the same area with their “considerable variation” in shape and decoration (Desborough, (1972), p. 33) and between contemporaneous groups of ninth-century pots made in different areas (Snodgrass, (1971), figs. 42-44, 120-122).

  57. R.M. Cook, Greek Painted Pottery (London, 1972) p. 303; Gardner, (1978), p. 78; Schliemann, (1885), p. 89.

  58. S. Wide, “Aphidna in Nordattika,” Athenische Mittheilungen (henceforth Ath. Mitt.), 21 (1896) p. 407.

  59. Ibid., pp. 400-403, 407-409. For Böhlau’s contribution, see ibid., p. 402, n. 1 and Cook, (1972), p. 305.

  60. E.g. C.C. Edgar, “Excavations in Melos 1899: The Pottery,” BSA, 5 (1898-99), pp. 15-16; idem., “The Pottery” in Excavations at Phylakopi in Melos (JHS supplement 4) (London, 1904), pp. 97, 100, 103-106; H.B. Walters, History of Ancient Pottery I (New York, 1905), pp. 278-279; W. Dörpfeld, “Das Alter des Heiligtums von Olympia,” Ath. Mitt., 31 (1906), pp. 205-218 ( a view caustically attacked that same year by A. Furtwängler [Das Alter des Heraion und das Alter des Heiligtums von Olympia,” reprinted in Kleine Schriften I (Munich, 1911) pp. 455-457], who had, as we shall see [below “Other LH III Figural Pottery,” n. 9], proposed that Mycenaean ware lasted an extra 500 years, coexisting with the later geometrical ware); W. Dorpfeld, Alt Olympia I (Berlin, 1935), pp. 11-14.

  61. R.S. Folsom, Handbook of Greek Pottery (London, 1967), p. 21.

  62. Cook, (1972), pp. 4-6; cf. M Robertson, A History of Greek Art I (New York. 1975), p. 15.

  63. P. Demargne, The Birth of Greek Art (tr. by S. Gilbert and J. Emmons) (New York, 1964), p. 287; cf. V. Milojcic, “Die dorische Wanderung im Lichte der vorgeschichtlichen Funde,” Arch. Anz., 1948-1949, p. 34; C.G. Starr, The Origins of Greek Civilization (New York, 1961), pp. 45, 93 and n. 1, 140. For the retention of MH ware in Albania and Macedonia supposedly 500 years after their disappearance in the south, see “The Grave Circles,” ns. 2-11 and ns. 18-20 above; for Thessaly see W.A. Heurtley and T.C. Skeat, “The Tholos Tombs of Marmariane,” BSA, 31 (1930-1), pl. 1, figs 4-7.

  64. Desborough, (1952), p. 126; cf. Hall, (1901), p. 39; Demargne, (1964) p. 287, and Milojcic, (19648-49), p. 34, against direct evolution from LH pottery.

  65. Snodgrass, (1971) pp. 94-97, 384. In addition to those already cited above (ns. 57-64) cf. Lacy, (1967), p. 171 on tea cups; Broneer, (1939), pp. 418-419; E. Vermeule, “The Mycenaeans in Achaia,” American Journal of Archaeology (henceforth AJA), 64 (1960), p. 5 for MH vessels “skipping periods and occurring again after a lapse of time”; Skeat, Verdelis and others subscribed to that hypothesis to explain the ribbed pedestal on ninth-eighth-century vessels from Thessaly as derived from MH goblets, including those from Circle B at Mycenae, but J. N. Coldstream, Greek Geometric Pottery [London, 1968], p. 161 and n. 3) felt that the 600-700-year gap in the evidence invalidated that suggestion (see, however, n. 63 above on Thessaly).

  66. O. Frödin and A. W. Persson, Asine: Results of the Swedish Excavations 1922-1930 (Stockholm, 1938), p. 279.