For almost three thousand years, the Mycenaeans, ancestors of the classical Greeks, lay lost and forgotten beneath the soil of Greece. In 1876, however, a German businessman, Heinrich Schliemann, in his search for the great Mycenaean king Agamemnon and other heroes of the Trojan War, made an astounding discovery in Mycenae: inside the monumental Lion Gate he discovered shaft graves belonging to a warrior elite, many of whom were buried wearing striking gold funerary masks and armor. In this authoritative new survey, Schofield examines these initial discoveries and other material evidence from Mycenaean culture, including painted pottery, documents in Linear B script, and the remains of fortress-palaces, all of which have yielded important information about the social hierarchies, religion, and military and trading activities of this wealthy and sophisticated culture. The author also considers the factual basis for the Mycenaeans' legendary links with the Trojan War and the various explanations for the eventual decline of their civilization.
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