Mycenae 'Rich in Gold' was the kingdom of mythical Agamemnon. It was first sung by Homer in his epics.
It was the most important and richest palatial centre of the Late Bronze Age in Greece.
The museum, which opened in 2004, has some 2,500 objects from Mycenae and the surrounding area, recording life from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of Mycenae at the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. Objects are grouped based on the area in which they were found, to help visitors relate them to the site.
Reconstructions of several rooms in buildings at Mycenae, including the important Cult Center, suggest daily life here. Copies of the famous objects from Grave Circle A (the originals are in the National Archaeological Museum, in Athens) are reminders of the riches of Mycenae.
The museum also has reproductions of the golden burial goods from Grave Circle A, a golden death mask (called the "mask of Agamemnon" – it isn't really his face, but it's amazing anyway), two swords, a golden diadem and necklace, and a collection of endearing pottery votive figures (you can get some ideas for clay class).
Hours : Summer daily 8am-7pm; winter shorter hours
In the second millennium BC Mycenae was one of the major centres of Greek civilization, a military stronghold which dominated much of southern Greece. The period of Greek history from about 1600 BC to about 1100 BC is called Mycenaean in reference to Mycenae.
In the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries, the impressive Cyclopean walls of the Mycenaean acropolis attracted many travelers and antiquaries who did not hesitate to loot the site, taking advantage of the indifference and greed of the Turkish authorities.
Lord Elgin explored the Treasury of Atreus in 1802 and Lord Sligo took the columns from it to London in 1910.
The first excavations at Mycenae were carried out by the Greek archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis in 1841. He found and restored the Lion Gate.
In 1874 Schliemann arrived at the site and undertook a complete excavation. Schliemann believed in the historical truth of the Homeric stories and interpreted the site accordingly. He found the ancient shaft graves with their royal skeletons and spectacular grave goods.
Since Schliemann's day more scientific excavations have taken place at Mycenae, mainly by Greek archaeologists but also by the British School at Athens. The acropolis was excavated in 1902, and the surrounding hills have been methodically investigated by subsequent excavations.
When you visit Mycenae today, you might wonder how you came to be in the middle of nowhere. The hills are covered with scraggly plants interspersed with exposed rocks. It looks like it doesn't rain very often. It's desolate.
Yet, this site was the location of one of the most powerful kingdoms of ancient Greece, so much so that Homer immortalized it in the Iliad.
Look again, and you will see a stark beauty in the rocks and ruins - evoking recollections that happened only in the West's most distant memories. In a way, it's easier to imagine the glory of ancient Greece when you see not modern highways and fruitful plains, but rocks and ruins. It's as if ancient Greece was still present - even though the ancient world undoubtedly had far more trees than today.
Fondest memory: The Lion's Gate...'nuff said...