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Treasury of Atreus

a Pleiades place resource

Creators: Tom Elliott, April Kissinger, Eric Shea, Chelsea Lee, Sterling Wright Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Jan 11, 2021 03:15 PM History
A Bronze Age tholos tomb with a corbeled dome and monumental ashlar facade on the Panagitsa Hill at Mycenae.

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The "Treasury of Atreus" was built at Mycenae between 1300 and 1250 BC. It was not a treasury, but rather a tholos tomb for an important individual or family, and it remains the best preserved example of this form at the site. The tomb's facade consists of a large door approached through a corridor flanked by ashlar walls. The 16-foot door was once surrounded by engaged red and green columns with a decorative style suggestive of Minoan influence. These columns were covered in ornaments, rosettes, chevrons and spiral motifs. Above the entrance is a relieving triangle to reduce the weight of the superstructure on the monolithic lintel of the door. The interior of the tomb is shaped like a beehive, with stone corbeled courses laid around a circular base to create a dome-like structure. The enormous vault has a diameter of 48 feet and a height of 43 feet. There is an additional side chamber which is thought to have been used to store bodies from previous burials when the tomb was re-used.  Unfortunately, the Treasury of Atreus was heavily looted before its discovery and therefore the original grave goods have been lost.

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Tom Elliott, April Kissinger, Eric Shea, Chelsea Lee, Sterling Wright, Jeffrey Becker, and Adam Rabinowitz, 'Treasury of Atreus: a Pleiades place resource', Pleiades: A Gazetteer of Past Places, 2021 <> [accessed: 10 December 2023]

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