Helladic chronology
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Helladic chronology is a relative dating system used in
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and cultural landscapes ...
and
art history Art history is the study of aesthetic objects and visual expression in History, historical and stylistic context. Traditionally, the discipline of art history emphasized painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, ceramics and decorative arts; y ...
. It complements the
Minoan chronology The Minoan chronology dating system is a measure of the phases of the Minoan civilization. Initially established as a Relative dating, relative dating system by English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans between 1900 and 1903 based on his analysis of ...
scheme devised by Sir
Arthur Evans Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. He is most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the List of islands of Greece, Greek ...
for the categorisation of
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
artefacts from the
Minoan civilization The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, whose earliest beginnings were from 3500BC, with the complex urban civilization beginning around 2000BC, and then declining from 1450BC ...
within a historical framework. Whereas Minoan chronology is specific to
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern: , Ancient: ) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, ...
, the cultural and geographical scope of Helladic chronology is mainland Greece during the same timespan (c.3200–c.1050). Similarly, a Cycladic chronology system is used for artifacts found in the
Aegean islands The Aegean Islands ( el, Νησιά Αιγαίου, Nisiá Aigaíou; tr, Ege Adaları) are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea, with mainland Greece to the west and north and Turkey to the east; the island of Crete delimits the sea to t ...
. Archaeological evidence has shown that, broadly, civilisation developed concurrently across the whole region and so the three schemes complement each other chronologically. They are grouped together as "Aegean" in terms such as Aegean art and, rather more controversially,
Aegean civilization Aegean civilization is a general term for the Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, common ...
. The systems derive primarily from changes in the style of
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard and durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porc ...
, which is a benchmark for relative dating of associated artifacts such as tools and weapons. On the basis of style and technique, Evans divided his Cretan Bronze Age pottery finds into three main periods which he called Early, Middle and Late Minoan. These were sub-divided into phases and some of those into sub-phases. The Helladic and Cycladic schemes were devised later and have similar sub-divisions. Evans' system has stood the test of time remarkably well but his labels do not provide firm dates because change is never constant and some styles were retained in use much longer than others. In fact it is partly this lack of dates that has been their strength; several of the dates Evans believed have certainly changed, and others remain under discussion, though within fairly narrow ranges, but the scheme just adjusts for such changes. Some pottery can be dated with reasonable precision by reference to Egyptian artifacts whose dates are more certain. Helladic society and culture have antecedents in
Neolithic Greece Neolithic Greece is an archaeological term used to refer to the Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-rangi ...
when most settlements were small villages which subsisted by means of agriculture, farming and hunting. The gradual development of skills such as bronze
metallurgy Metallurgy is a domain of Materials science, materials science and engineering that studies the physical and chemical behavior of metallic Chemical element, elements, their Inter-metallic alloy, inter-metallic compounds, and their mixtures, which ...
, monumental
architecture Architecture is the art and technique of designing and building, as distinguished from the skills associated with construction. It is both the process and the product of sketching, conceiving, planning, designing, and construction, constructin ...
and construction of
fortification A fortification is a military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime. The term is derived from Latin ''fortis'' ("strong") and ''facere'' ...
s brought about the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age. The Late Helladic (c.1550–c.1050) is sometimes called the Mycenaean Age because
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...
was then the dominant state in Greece. At the end of the Bronze Age (c.1050 BC), Aegean culture went into a long period of decline, termed a Dark Age by some historians, as a result of invasion and war.


Etymology

The three terms Cycladic, Helladic, and Minoan refer to location of origin. Thus, Middle Minoan objects might be found in the Cyclades, but they are not on that account Middle Cycladic, just as an Early Helladic pot found in Crete is not Early Minoan. The scheme tends to be less applicable in areas on the periphery of the Aegean, such as the Levant or North Africa. Pottery there might imitate Aegean cultural models and yet be locally manufactured.


Background

Archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts, sites, and cultural landscapes ...
has found evidence, primarily in the form of
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay and other ceramic materials, which are fired at high temperatures to give them a hard and durable form. Major types include earthenware, stoneware and porc ...
, that a broadly similar way of life was spread over mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Crete as the Neolithic (New Stone) Age was superseded by the Bronze Age before 3000 BC.. Evidence increases through Bronze Age strata with social and economic development seen to develop more quickly. Unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations, the Aegean peoples were illiterate through the third millennium and so, in the absence of useful written artifacts, any attempt at chronology must be based on the dating of material objects. Pottery was by far the most widespread in terms of everyday use and also the most resistant to destruction, even when broken as the pieces survive. Given the different styles and techniques used over a long period of time, the surviving pots and shards can be classified according to age. As stratified deposits prove which of similar objects from other sites are contemporary, they can therefore be equated chronologically..


Periodisation

The Early, Middle and Late scheme can be applied at different levels. Rather than use such cumbersome terms as Early Early, archaeologists follow Evans' convention of I, II, III for the second level, A, B, C for the third level, 1, 2, 3 for the fourth level and A, B, C for the fifth. Not all levels are present at every site. If additional levels are required, another Early, Middle or Late can be appended. The Helladic chronology is subdivided as:


Settlements of the Helladic period

These are the estimated populations of hamlets,
villages A village is a clustered human settlement or Residential community, community, larger than a hamlet (place), hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a population t ...
, and
town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscule number of dwellings group ...
s of the Helladic period over time. Note that there are several problems with estimating the sizes of individual settlements, and the highest estimates for a given settlements, in a given period, may be several times the lowest.


Early Helladic (EH)

The Early Helladic period (or EH) of Bronze Age Greece is generally characterized by the Neolithic agricultural population importing
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (including aluminium, manganese, nickel, or zinc) and sometimes non-metals, such as phosphorus, or metalloids such ...
and
copper Copper is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cu (from la, cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductility, ductile metal with very high thermal conductivity, thermal and electrical conductivity. A fre ...
, as well as using rudimentary bronze-working techniques first developed in Anatolia with which they had cultural contacts. The EH period corresponds in time to the
Old Kingdom In ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian ...
in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
. Important EH sites are clustered on the Aegean shores of the mainland in Boeotia and Argolid ( Manika,
Lerna In classical Greece, Lerna ( el, Λέρνη) was a region of springs and a former lake near the east coast of the Peloponnesus, south of Argos. Even though much of the area is marshy, Lerna is located on a geographically narrow point between mo ...
, Pefkakia, Thebes,
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek: Τίρυνς; Modern Greek: Τίρυνθα) is a Mycenaean civilization , Mycenaean archaeological site in Argolis in the Peloponnese, and the location from which the mythical hero Heracles performed his Labours of Her ...
) or coastal islands such as
Aegina Aegina (; el, Αίγινα, ''Aígina'' ; grc, Αἴγῑνα) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina (mythology), Aegina, the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born ...
(Kolonna) and
Euboea Evia (, ; el, wikt:Εύβοια, Εύβοια ; grc, wikt:Εὔβοια, Εὔβοια ) or Euboia (, ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia in mainlan ...
( Lefkandi) and are marked by pottery showing influences from western Anatolia and the introduction of the fast-spinning version of the
potter's wheel In pottery, a potter's wheel is a machine used in the shaping (known as throwing) of clay into round ceramic ware. The wheel may also be used during the process of trimming excess clay from leather-hard dried ware that is stiff but malleable, a ...
. The large "longhouse" called a ''
megaron The megaron (; grc, μέγαρον, ), plural ''megara'' , was the great hall in very early Mycenae, Mycenean and Ancient Greece, ancient Greek palace complexes. Architecturally, it was a rectangular hall that was surrounded by four columns, fr ...
'' was introduced in EHII. The infiltration of Anatolian cultural models (i.e. "Lefkandi I") was not accompanied by widespread site destruction.


Early Helladic I (EHI)

The Early Helladic I period (or EHI), also known as the " Eutresis culture" c.3200–c.2650 BC, is characterized by the presence of unslipped and burnished or red slipped and burnished pottery at Korakou and other sites (metal objects, however, were extremely rare during this period).. In terms of ceramics and settlement patterns, there is considerable continuity between the EHI period and the preceding Final Neolithic period (or FN); changes in settlement location during the EHI period are attributed to alterations in economic practices.


Early Helladic II (EHII)

The transition from Early Helladic I to the Early Helladic II period (or EHII) or Korakou culture c.2650–c.2200 BC, occurred rapidly and without disruption where multiple socio-cultural innovations were developed such as metallurgy (i.e. bronze-working), a hierarchical social organization, and monumental architecture and fortifications. Changes in settlement during the EHII period were accompanied with alterations in agricultural practices (i.e. oxen-driven plow).


Early Helladic III (EHIII)

The Early Helladic II period came to an end at Lerna with the destruction of the " House of the Tiles", a corridor house. The nature of the destruction of EHII sites was at first attributed to an invasion of
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, ...
and/or Indo-Europeans during the Early Helladic III or Tiryns culture period c.2200–c.2000 BC (or EHIII); however, this is no longer maintained given the lack of uniformity in the destruction of EHII sites and the presence of EHII–EHIII/MH continuity in settlements such as Lithares, Phlius, Manika, etc. Furthermore, the presence of "new/intrusive" cultural elements such as apsidal houses, terracotta anchors, shaft-hole hammer-axes, ritual tumuli, and intramural burials precede the EHIII period in Greece and are in actuality attributed to indigenous developments (i.e. terracotta anchors from Boeotia; ritual tumuli from Ayia Sophia in Neolithic Thessaly), as well as continuous contacts during the EHII–MH period between mainland Greece and various areas such as western Asia Minor, the Cyclades, Albania, and Dalmatia. Changes in climate also appear to have contributed to the significant cultural transformations that occurred in Greece between the EHII period and the EHIII period (ca. 2200 BCE).


Middle Helladic (MH)

In Greece, the Middle Helladic period (or MH), c. 2000 BC – c. 1550 BC, was a period of cultural retrogression, which first manifested in the preceding EHIII period. The MH period is characterized by the wide-scale emergence of
Minyan ware Minyan ware is a broad Archaeology, archaeological term describing varieties of a particular style of Aegean civilization, Aegean burnished pottery associated with the Middle Helladic period (c. 2000/1900–1550 BC). The term was coined in the 19t ...
, which may be directly related to the people whom ancient Greek historians called Minyans; a group of monochrome burnished pottery from Middle Helladic sites was conventionally dubbed "Minyan" ware by Troy's discoverer
Heinrich Schliemann Johann Ludwig Heinrich Julius Schliemann (; 6 January 1822 – 26 December 1890) was a German businessman and pioneer in the field of archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the scientific study of human activity through the recovery an ...
. Gray Minyan ware was first identified as the pottery introduced by a Middle Bronze Age migration; the theory, however, is outdated as excavations at Lerna in the 1950s revealed the development of pottery styles to have been continuous (i.e. the fine gray burnished pottery of the EHIII Tiryns culture was the direct progenitor of Minyan ware). In general, painted pottery decors are rectilinear and abstract until Middle Helladic III, when Cycladic and
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, whose earliest beginnings were from 3500BC, with the complex urban civilization beginning around 2000BC, and then declining from 1450BC ...
influences inspired a variety of curvilinear and even representational motifs. Pottery is the most abundant object found from the Middle Helladic period, and it is matt-painted pottery that begins to appear during this period as a new style of ceramic works. While Minyan pottery is made on a wheel that produces sharp designs and shapes, matt-painted pottery is sculpted by hand and has dull paint applied. Matt-painted pottery, from the Middle Helladic period demonstrates many stylistic motifs that can be traced back to the Early Helladic Period and even other Aegean cultures. Patterns like oblique lines, zigzags, lozenges, running dogs, spiraliforme, and circles and triangles alternating one another beneath the rim on Middle Helladic pottery have been found to be inspired by Cycladic pottery motifs. Spiraliforme can also be traced back to Crete, as well as Griffon motifs. However, patterns like lozenges and pendent-style triangles on matt-painted pottery is a continuation of stylistic motifs from the Early Helladic period, and the addition of vertical fringed lines on pottery is an advancement that took place during the Middle Helladic period itself. With the majority of designs and motifs on Middle Helladic pottery being Cycladic in influence it can be assumed that the Middle Helladic culture and the Cycladic culture interacted with one another heavily. There are four types of graves that are found at sites from the Middle Helladic period; pit graves, tholos graves, cist graves, and shaft graves. A pit grave is self explanatory, as it is simply a pit in the ground, while tholos styled graves are characterized as being more of a chamber like tomb. Cist graves and shaft graves are interesting because they are two styles of burial that originate from the Middle Helladic period itself, and it is believed that migrants who moved to Greece during this period influenced the creation of these new burial styles. Cist graves are deep and rectangular with a tumulus, or mound of earth, placed over top and came about during the beginning of the Middle Helladic period. Shaft graves are larger and deeper than cist graves (measuring on average 6 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 4 meters deep) and came about during the end of the Middle Helladic period. Additionally, infants are buried in special jars, ''pithoi'', that generally measure around 30 inches (~75 cm) tall. Based on the archaeological evidence, at Middle Helladic burial ceremonies bodies are placed in graves on their sides with their knees bent (women are placed on their left sides, and men on their right), then those present at the ceremony drink from cups that they then leave at the tomb. Burial customs also included leaving valued items with the bodies like pottery, silver, or bronze. At the Middle Helladic site Lerna, there are over 200 graves that have been excavated. While roughly 1/3 of these graves are extramural burials (bodies are buried outside of the community), intramural burials (bodies are buried within the community) make up 2/3 of the graves found including towns being built around a cist. Communities during the Middle Helladic period, specifically Lerna, had irregular layouts with no specific pattern, and houses were tightly packed together. It is theorized that the arrangement of houses may have been based on living close to extended family or close to members of a similar group or faction. Houses were one story tall, built in a “U” shape, and made of clay. Generally houses would feature a porch, with up to three rooms, an inner chamber that would contain a hearth, and spaces for storage and cooking. A larger, free standing house has been identified as a possible home to a chief or leader of the community, and features a separate a storage facility as well as a courtyard with a hearth. People of the Middle Helladic period grew crops like wheat (which would be ground into flour for baking), barley, flax, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and beans in addition to watching over animals like sheep, goats, swine, oxen, horses, and dogs. Middle Helladic people would spin thread to be woven into fabrics on a loom, and the clothes they made were both fastened and often decorated with pins. The people would also adorn themselves in necklaces and bracelets made of stone and shells. By studying the remains at sites like Lerna it was evident that men tended to eat more protein than women, and women tended to partake more in softer, more processed foods. Stress marks were identified on the skeletons of people of both genders, but men had them to a higher degree, denoting that men engaged more frequently in heavy physical labor than women did. More often than women, men also had higher level of lesions caused by infectious diseases, meaning they had greater exposure to foreign pathogens through direct contact with outside groups and people. This makes it appear as though there is division in labor between the genders. The Middle Helladic period corresponds in time to the
Middle Kingdom of Egypt The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (also known as The Period of Reunification) is the period in the history of ancient Egypt following a period of political division known as the First Intermediate Period of Egypt, First Intermediate Period. The Middl ...
. Settlements draw more closely together and tend to be sited on hilltops. Middle Helladic sites are located throughout the Peloponnese and central Greece (including sites in the interior of Aetolia such as Thermon) as far north as the Spercheios River valley. Malthi in
Messenia Messenia or Messinia ( ; el, Μεσσηνία ) is a regional unit (''perifereiaki enotita'') in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese region, in Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a countr ...
and Lerna V are the only Middle Helladic sites to have been thoroughly excavated.


Late Helladic (LH)

The Late Helladic period (or LH) is the time when
Mycenaean Greece Mycenaean Greece (or the Mycenaean civilization) was the last phase of the Bronze Age in Ancient Greece, spanning the period from approximately 1750 to 1050 BC.. It represents the first advanced and distinctively Greek civilization in mainland ...
flourished, under new influences from Minoan Crete and the Cyclades. Those who made LH pottery sometimes inscribed their work with a syllabic script,
Linear B Linear B was a syllabary, syllabic script used for writing in Mycenaean Greek, the earliest Attested language, attested form of Greek language, Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing ...
, which has been deciphered as
Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece, a country in Southern Europe: *Greeks, an ethnic group. *Greek language, a branch of the Indo-European language family. **Proto-Greek language, the assumed last common ancestor ...
. LH is divided into LHI, LHII, and LHIII; of which LHI and LHII overlap Late Minoan ware and LHIII overtakes it. LHIII is further subdivided into LHIIIA, LHIIIB, and LHIIIC. The table below provides the approximate dates of the Late Helladic phases (LH) on the Greek mainland, based on Knodell (2021) and Manning (2010):


Late Helladic I (LHI)

The ''LHI pottery'' is known from the fill of the Shaft Graves of
Lerna In classical Greece, Lerna ( el, Λέρνη) was a region of springs and a former lake near the east coast of the Peloponnesus, south of Argos. Even though much of the area is marshy, Lerna is located on a geographically narrow point between mo ...
and the settlements of Voroulia and Nichoria (
Messenia Messenia or Messinia ( ; el, Μεσσηνία ) is a regional unit (''perifereiaki enotita'') in the southwestern part of the Peloponnese region, in Greece Greece,, or , romanized: ', officially the Hellenic Republic, is a countr ...
), Ayios Stephanos, (
Laconia Laconia or Lakonia ( el, Λακωνία, , ) is a historical and Administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece located on the southeastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. Its administrative capital is Sparti (municipality) ...
) and Korakou. Furumark divided the LH in phases A and B, but Furumark's LHIB has been reassigned to LHIIA by Oliver Dickinson. Some recent C-14 dates from the Tsoungiza site north of Mycenae indicate LHI there was dated to between 1675/1650 and 1600/1550 BC, which is earlier than the assigned pottery dates by about 100 years. The
Thera eruption The Minoan eruption was a catastrophic Types of volcanic eruptions, volcanic eruption that devastated the Aegean Islands, Aegean island of Thera (also called Santorini) circa 1600 BCE. It destroyed the Minoan civilization, Minoan settlement at ...
also occurred during LHI (and LCI and LMIA), variously dated within the 1650–1625 BC span. Alex Knodell (2021), based on Manning (2010), dates Late Helladic I between 1700/1675 and 1635/1600 BC.Knodell, Alex, (2021)
Societies in Transition in Early Greece: An Archaeological History
University of California Press, Oakland, Table 1, p. 7.
Not found at Thera, but extant in late LHI from Messenia, and therefore likely commencing after the eruption, is a material culture known as "Peloponnesian LHI". This is characterised by "tall funnel-like Keftiu cups of Type III"; "small closed shapes such as squat jugs decorated with hatched loops ('rackets') or simplified spirals"; " dark-on-light lustrous-painted motifs", which "include small neat types of simple linked spiral such as varieties of hook-spiral or wave-spiral (with or without small dots in the field), forms of the hatched loop and double-axe, and accessorial rows of small dots and single or double wavy lines"; also, the "ripple pattern" on "Keftiu" cups. These local innovations continued into the LHIIA styles throughout the mainland.


Late Helladic II (LHII)

The description of the LHIIA is mainly based on the material from Kourakou East Alley. Domestic and Palatial shapes are distinguished. There are strong links between LHIIA and LMIB. LHIIB began before the end of LMIB, and sees a lessening of Cretan influences. Pure LHIIB assemblages are rare and originate from Tiryns, Asine and Korakou. C-14 dates from Tsoungiza indicate LHII was dated to between 1600/1550 and 1435/1405 BC, the start of which is earlier than the assigned pottery date by about 100 years, but the end of which nearly corresponds to the pottery phase. In Egypt, both periods of LHII correspond with the beginning of its Theban "Imperial" period, the
New Kingdom of Egypt The New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian History of Ancient Egypt, history between the sixteenth century BC and the eleventh century BC, covering the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth, Ni ...
, from
pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebrew: ''Parʿō'') is the vernacular term often used by modern authors for the kings of ancient Egypt who ruled as Monarch, monarchs from th ...
s
Hatshepsut Hatshepsut (; also Hatchepsut; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:ḥꜣt#Egyptian, ḥꜣt-wikt:špst#Egyptian, špswt'' "Foremost of Noble Ladies"; or Hatasu c. 1507–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. S ...
to
Thutmose III Thutmose III (variously also spelt Tuthmosis or Thothmes), sometimes called Thutmose the Great, was the sixth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Officially, Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost 54 years and his reign is usually dated from 2 ...
(r. 1479–1425 BC) of the Eighteenth Dynasty. Alex Knodell considers Late Helladic II to be between 1635/1600 and 1420/1410 BC.


Late Helladic III (LHIII)

LHIII and LMIII are contemporary. Toward LMIIIB, non-Helladic ware from the Aegean ceases to be homogeneous; insofar as LMIIIB differs from Helladic, it should at most be considered a "sub-Minoan" variant of LHIIIB. The uniform and widely spread LHIIIA:1 pottery was defined by the material from the Ramp house at Mycenae, the palace at Thebes (now dated to LHIIIA:2 or LHIIIB by most researchers) and Triada at
Rhodes Rhodes (; el, Ρόδος , translit=Ródos ) is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes (regional unit), Rhodes regional unit, w ...
. There is material from Asine, Athens (wells),
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, ''Spártā''; Attic Greek: wikt:Σπάρτη, Σπάρτη, ''Spártē'') was a prominent city-state in Laconia, in ancient Greece. In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon (, ), while the nam ...
(Menelaion), Nichoria and the 'Atreus Bothros', rubbish sealed under the Dromos of the Treasury of
Atreus In Greek mythology A major branch of classical mythology, Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. These stories concern the Cosmogony, origin and ...
at
Mycenae Mycenae ( ; grc, Μυκῆναι or , ''Mykē̂nai'' or ''Mykḗnē'') is an archaeological site near Mykines, Greece, Mykines in Argolis, north-eastern Peloponnese, Greece. It is located about south-west of Athens; north of Argos, Peloponne ...
as well. C-14 dates from Tsoungiza indicate LHIIIA:1 should be more nearly 1435/1406 to 1390/1370 BC, slightly earlier than the pottery phase, but by less than 50 years. LHIIIA:1 ware has also been found in Maşat Höyük in Hittite Anatolia. The LHIIIA:2 pottery marks a Mycenaean expansion covering most of the Eastern Mediterranean. There are many new shapes. The motifs of the painted pottery continue from LHIIIA:1 but show a great deal of standardization. In Egypt, the
Amarna Amarna (; ar, العمارنة, al-ʿamārnah) is an extensive Egyptian archaeological site An archaeological site is a place (or group of physical sites) in which evidence of past activity is preserved (either prehistoric or recorded histor ...
site contains LHIIIA:1 ware during the reign of
Amenhotep III Amenhotep III ( egy, jmn-ḥtp(.w), ''Amānəḥūtpū'' , "Amun is Satisfied"; Hellenization, Hellenized as Amenophis III), also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent or Amenhotep the Great, was the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt, ...
and LHIIIA:2 ware during that of his son
Akhenaten Akhenaten (pronounced ), also spelled Echnaton, Akhenaton, ( egy, wikt:ꜣḫ-n-jtn, ꜣḫ-n-jtn ''ʾŪḫə-nə-yātəy'', , meaning "Effective for the Aten"), was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh reigning or 1351–1334 BC, the tenth ruler of t ...
; it also has the barest beginnings of LHIIIB. LHIIIA:2 ware is in the Uluburun shipwreck, which sank in the 14th century BC. Again, Tsoungiza dates are earlier, 1390/1370 to 1360/1325 BC; but LHIIIA:2 ware also exists in a burn layer of
Miletus Miletus (; gr, Μῑ́λητος, Mī́lētos; Hittite language, Hittite transcription ''Millawanda'' or ''Milawata'' (Exonym and endonym, exonyms); la, Mīlētus; tr, Milet) was an Ancient Greece, ancient Greek city on the western coast of ...
which likely occurred early in the reign of Mursili II and therefore some years prior to Mursili's eclipse in 1312 BC. The transition period between IIIA and IIIB begins after 1320 BC, but not long after (Cemal Pulak thinks before 1295 BC). The definition of the LHIIIB by Furumark was mainly based on grave finds and the settlement material from Zygouries. It has been divided into two sub-phases by Elizabeth B. French, based on the finds from Mycenae and the West wall at Tiryns. LHIIIB:2 assemblages are sparse, as painted pottery is rare in tombs and many settlements of this period ended by destruction, leaving few complete pots behind. LHIIIB pottery is associated in the Greek mainland palaces with the Linear B archives. (Linear B had been in use in Crete since Late Minoan II.) Pulak's proposed LHIIIA/B boundary would make LHIIIB contemporary in Anatolia with the resurgent
Hittites The Hittites () were an Anatolian peoples, Anatolian people who played an important role in establishing first a kingdom in Kussara (before 1750 BC), then the Kültepe , Kanesh or Nesha kingdom (c. 1750–1650 BC), and next an empire centere ...
following Mursili's eclipse; in Egypt with the 19th Dynasty, also known as the Ramessides; and in northern Mesopotamia with
Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: , romanized: ''māt Aššur''; syc, ܐܬܘܪ, ʾāthor) was a major ancient Mesopotamia, Mesopotamian civilization which existed as a city-state from the 21st century BC to the 14th century BC, then to a terr ...
's ascendancy over
Mitanni Mitanni (; Hittite cuneiform ; ''Mittani'' '), c. 1550–1260 BC, earlier called Ḫabigalbat in old Babylonian texts, c. 1600 BC; Hanigalbat or Hani-Rabbat (''Hanikalbat'', ''Khanigalbat'', cuneiform ') in Assyria Assyria (Neo-Assyri ...
. The end of LHIIIB is associated with the destruction of
Ugarit Ugarit (; uga, 𐎜𐎂𐎗𐎚, ''ʾUgarītu''; ar, أُوغَارِيت ''Ūġārīt'' or ''Ūǧārīt'') was an ancient port city in northern Syria, in the outskirts of modern Latakia, discovered by accident in 1928 together with the Ugariti ...
, whose ruins contain the last of that pottery. The Tsoungiza date for the end of LHIIIB is 1200/1190 BC. The beginning of LHIIIC, therefore, is now commonly set into the reign of Queen
Twosret Twosret, also spelled ''Tawosret'' or ''Tausret'' (d. 1189 BC conventional chronology) was the last known ruler and the final pharaoh Pharaoh (, ; Egyptian language, Egyptian: ''wikt:pr ꜥꜣ, pr ꜥꜣ''; cop, , Pǝrro; Biblical Hebre ...
. The LHIIIC has been divided into LHIIIC:1 and LHIIIC:2 by Furumark, based on materials from tombs in Mycenae, Asine, Kephalonia, and Rhodes. In the 1960s, the excavations of the citadel at Mycenae and of Lefkandi in
Euboea Evia (, ; el, wikt:Εύβοια, Εύβοια ; grc, wikt:Εὔβοια, Εὔβοια ) or Euboia (, ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia in mainlan ...
yielded stratified material revealing significant regional variation in LHIIIC, especially in the later phases. Late LHIIIC pottery is found in
Troy Troy ( el, Τροία and Latin: Troia, Hittite language, Hittite: 𒋫𒊒𒄿𒊭 ''Truwiša'') or Ilion ( el, Ίλιον and Latin: Ilium, Hittite language, Hittite: 𒃾𒇻𒊭 ''Wiluša'') was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in prese ...
VIIa and a few pieces in Tarsus. It was also made locally in the
Philistine The Philistines ( he, פְּלִשְׁתִּים, Pəlīštīm; Koine Greek Koine Greek (; Koine el, ἡ κοινὴ διάλεκτος, hē koinè diálektos, the common dialect; ), also known as Hellenistic Greek, common Attic, the ...
settlements of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, Gath, and Gaza.


Fortified settlements

During the Helladic period, a number of major advances were developed including fortified urban settlements with monumental buildings such as corridor houses, which may prove the existence of complex societies organized by an elite or at least achieving corporate, proto-city state form. One of these settlements was Manika, located in
Euboea Evia (, ; el, wikt:Εύβοια, Εύβοια ; grc, wikt:Εὔβοια, Εὔβοια ) or Euboia (, ) is the second-largest List of islands of Greece, Greek island in area and population, after Crete. It is separated from Boeotia in mainlan ...
, dated to the Early Helladic period II (2800–2200 BC). The settlement covered an area of 70-80 hectares, was inhabited by 6,000–15,000 people, and was one of the largest settlements of the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
in Greece... Another settlement was
Lerna In classical Greece, Lerna ( el, Λέρνη) was a region of springs and a former lake near the east coast of the Peloponnesus, south of Argos. Even though much of the area is marshy, Lerna is located on a geographically narrow point between mo ...
in the Argolid region, which was perhaps the most important and wealthiest of Early Helladic sites. The settlement has a monumental building known as the House of the Tiles, a "corridor house",. notable for several architectural features that were advanced for its time, such as its roof being covered by baked
tile Tiles are usually thin, square or rectangular coverings manufactured from hard-wearing material such as ceramic, Rock (geology), stone, metal, baked clay, or even glass. They are generally fixed in place in an array to cover roofs, floors, wa ...
s, which gave the building its name.. The structure dates to the Early Helladic II period (2500–2300 BC) and is sometimes interpreted as the dwelling of an elite member of the community, a proto-palace, or an administrative center. Alternatively, it has also been considered to be a communal structure or the common property of the townspeople.. The exact functions of the building remain unknown due to a lack of small finds indicating the specific uses of the building. The house had a stairway leading to a second story, and was protected by a tiled roof. Debris found at the site contained thousands of terracotta tiles having fallen from the roof. Although such roofs were also found in the Early Helladic site of Akovitika, and later in the Mycenaean towns of Gla and Midea, they only became common in
Greek architecture Ancient Greek architecture came from the Greeks, Greek-speaking people (''Hellenic'' people) whose Ancient Greece, culture flourished on the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese, the Aegean Islands, and in colonies in Asia Minor, Anatolia and Italy f ...
in the 7th century BC. The walls of the ''House of the Tiles'' were constructed with sun-dried bricks on stone socles. Other fortified settlements include
Tiryns Tiryns or (Ancient Greek: Τίρυνς; Modern Greek: Τίρυνθα) is a Mycenaean civilization , Mycenaean archaeological site in Argolis in the Peloponnese, and the location from which the mythical hero Heracles performed his Labours of Her ...
, which covered an area of 5.9 hectares sustaining 1,180–1,770 people, and had a large tiled two-storeyed "round house" (or ''Rundbau'') with a diameter of 28 m on the upper
citadel A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a castle, fortress, or fortified center. The term is a diminutive of "city", meaning "little city", because it is a smaller part of the city of which it is the defensive core. In ...
. It may have served as a palace or temple or perhaps it was a communal
granary A granary is a storehouse or room in a barn for threshing, threshed cereal, grain or compound feed, animal feed. Ancient or primitive granaries are most often made of pottery. Granaries are often built above the ground to keep the stored food ...
. Other sites include Ayia Irini, which covered an area of 1 hectare and had a population of perhaps up to 1,250, Eutresis covering 8 hectares with an estimated population of 1,600–2,400, Thebes covering 20 hectares with a population of 4,000–6,000, Lefkandi (unknown in size and population), and Kolonna (or Aegina), a densely populated settlement with impressive fortifications, monumental stone buildings and sophisticated town planning. Already before 2500–2400 BC, Kolonna experienced remarkable economic growth and had its own administrative "Corridor House", the so-called "Haus am Felsrand". During the phase Aegina III 2400–2300 BC, which corresponds to the transition phase Lefkandi I-Kastri, the evidence of the economic structure and administrative and social organization of the community become more clear. The "White House" (''Weisses Haus''; 165 square metres) constitutes the monumental community building that succeeds the "Haus am Felsrand", which had the same function. Kolonna may constitute the Aegean's first
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, U ...
as it appears to be the earliest ranked society in the area outside
Minoan The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean Islands, whose earliest beginnings were from 3500BC, with the complex urban civilization beginning around 2000BC, and then declining from 1450BC ...
Crete Crete ( el, Κρήτη, translit=, Modern: , Ancient: ) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, ...
and perhaps a political center in the Middle Helladic period where it achieved state-level after the Minoans but before the Mycenaeans..


See also

*
History of Greece The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece as well as that of the Greeks, Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has vari ...
*
Linear B Linear B was a syllabary, syllabic script used for writing in Mycenaean Greek, the earliest Attested language, attested form of Greek language, Greek. The script predates the Greek alphabet by several centuries. The oldest Mycenaean writing ...
*
Mycenaean Greek Mycenaean Greek is the most ancient attested form of the Greek language, on the Greek mainland and Crete in Mycenaean Greece (16th to 12th centuries BC), before the hypothesised Dorian invasion, often cited as the ''terminus post quem, terminus ...
* Pelasgians * Eutresis culture *
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...


References


Citations


Sources

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Further reading

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External links

* {{Bronze Age footer Chronology