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Mycenaean Greece

A brief introduction to diagnostic features and several sites

Resources for Mycenaean Chronology:

1. Mountjoy, P. A. (2003). Mycenaean Pottery: An Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University school for archaeology.

While this is not a book explicitly on chronology, the first part of Mountjoy's work is an excellent introduction to Mycenaean chronology with individual periods summarized. The book is also a top tier guide to learn and identify Mycenaean pottery types and designs. 

2. Fields, N., & Spedaliere, D. (2008). Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC. Oxford: Osprey.

Like Mountjoy this is not a book on Mycenaean chronology, instead it is a general reader's introduction to Mycenaean archeaology. The first sections of this work include a chronology table and reference.

3. Barber, R. L. (1992). Congress Thera and the Aegean world. 3. Proceedings of the third International Congress, Santorini, 3–9 September 1989. Ed. D. A. Hardy and A. C. Renfrew, iii Chronology. London: Thera Foundation, 1990. Pp. 242, numerous illus. Price not stated. The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 112, 212-213. doi:10.2307/632206

Unlike the first two resources, this journal article is entirely dedicated to Bronze Age Aegean chronology. It is co-authored by on of the most prominent BA Aegean archaeologists, A.C. Renfrew, and is a more technical analysis and discussion of the chronology.

4. Manning, S. (1988). The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Absolute Dating, Aegean Chronology and Mediterranean Culture Interrelations. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 1(1), 17-82. doi:10.1558/jmea.v1i1.17

Again a more technical journal article, this work is best read after a general knowledge of the period and chronology have been gained. As it discusses issues with the current models of dating for the Aegean BA.




Mountjoy's Chronology
Period Name Dates (c. BC)
Late Helladic I 1575- 1500
Late Helladic IIA 1500- 1460
Late Helladic IIB 1460- 1400
Late Helladic IIIA1 1400- 1375
Late Helladic IIIA2 1375- 1300
Late Helladic IIIB1 1300- 1225
Late Helladic IIIB2 1225- 1190
Late Helladic IIIC Early 1190- 1130
Late Helladic IIIC Middle 1130- 1070
Late Helladic IIIC Late 1070- 1050/20
Sub-Mycenaean 1050/20-1020/00


Kramer- Hajos Chronology
Cultural Phase Pottery Phase Dates (BCE)
Prepalatial (ca. 1750- 1400) Late Helladic I 1600- 1500
  Late Helladic IIA 1500- 1430
  Late Helladic IIB 1430- 1390
  Late Helladic IIIA1 1390- 1370/60
Palacial (ca. 1400- 1200) Late Helladic IIIA2 1370/60- 1300
  Late Helladic IIIB 1300- 1200
Post Palatial (ca. 1200-1000) Late Helladic IIIC 1200- 1070
  Sub-Mycenaean 1070- 1000 


Field's Chronology
Phase Dates (BC)
Early Helladic c. 2900- 2000
Middle Helladic c. 2000- 1650
Late Helladic c. 1600- 1050


Chronological Period Summaries:

Late Helladic I: Wealth amassed during the Middle Helladic period leads to the rise of a ruling class. This wealth has generated several hypotheses on its origins: intensification of raiding, gift exchange, and/or intensification of trade (with Crete, the Cyclades, and Anatolia).

Late Helladic II: Subsequent building levels mean most evidence of this period come from burial contexts. During this period (LMIB on Crete) there are massive destruction events on the island of Crete. The sources of this destruction is either due to earthquakes or attacks by the Mycenaeans. This leads to a decline in the power of the Minoans, while the Mycenaeans rise.

Late Helladic IIB: Mycenaean influences are visible on the island of Crete, with some arguing that the Mycenaeans are in control at Knossos. During this period clearing began for proto-palaces on the mainland.

Late Helladic IIIA1: The foundations of the later palaces develop, with the proto-palaces laid out in a megaron shape. Diagnostic Mycenaean figurines appear during this period.

Late Helladic IIIA2: This is a period of Mycenaean dominance inn the Aegean. Citadels are in control with palatial administration over large territories. Linear B tablets provide an idea of the power palaces wielded at this time. The massive hydraulic project is undertaken in the Kopais Basin and the citadel at Gla is built.

Late Helladic IIIB: The prosperity of LHIIIA2 continues for the first half of this period. The palaces reach their final forms; however, large scale destruction across the mainland occurs in the second half of the period.

Late Helladic IIIC Early: There is a general decline after the collapse of the palaces and its associated economy. Although, building does still occur in some citadels.

Late Helladic IIIC Middle: The acme of the postpalacial period, there is a decline in trade and prosperity. There is a lack of monumental architecture of the previous periods as the centralized palatial authority is gone.

Late Helladic IIIC Late: a period of general unrest and a declining population.

SubMycenaean: Archaeological remains from this period are few, and the distinction of "SubMycenaean" as a unique phase is disputed. Some archaeologists consider this period a continuation of LHIIIC Late while others argue for its merits as a distinct phase. During this time the Dorian invasion of Greece occurs.