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Atreus’ treasure (Mycenae)

18_GEFIRA KAZARMASIt is the most magnificent Mycenaean domed tomb on the hill of Panagitsa in Mycenae. The sidewalls of the chamber and of the long “street” (36 m. long, 6 m. wide) are covered with squared blocks of stone. The dome (tholos) (13.20 m. high, 14.20 m. diameter) has a vaulted conical roof. In addition, it has a side room carved in the rock (6 X 6 X 5 m.). The facade (10.50 X 6 m.) has lost its rich decor with sculptures and paintings. Between the two semi-columns made of green stone with embossed decoration, there used to be an entry (5.40 X 2.45 – 2.70m.) with a two-wing wooden door in the interior of the “orifice” (5.40 m. long) that was sealed with accumulated stones. A decorative plate hid the “relieving triangle” above the lintel that consists of two huge granite stones (dimensions of the interior: 8 X 5 X 1.50m). The treasure of Atreus was constructed around 1250 B.C. and it was used for a long time, precisely how long is still unknown. The dome consists of 33 concentric circles of squared blocks of stone, perfectly assembled, so that every upper stone protrudes slightly from the lower one. The monument remained always visible and it had already been looted when Pausanias (2nd century A.D.) referred to it as the “treasure”. For some time it was used as “shelter” by shepherds, who blackened the sidewalls of the dome with the fires they used to set.

 

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