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Mycenae flints and flakes

5 June 2014

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/06052014/article/archaeologists-exc… … surprisingly, the lower city of Mycenae has never properly been investigated. This is the town outside the citadel with its Lion Gate and huge walls. The lower town was also enclosed by a wall and it appears to have been laid out in a purposeful fashion.

Overlying LB Mycenae are some post-LB remains (dating to the Iron Age) but the overlay is not apparently, universal. It consists of bits and pieces – which itself is a bit suspicious, especially when it emerges that a pottery complex producing Geometric ware was part and parcel of the so called post-Mycenae layer. A cist grave with presumably an Iron Age dating link is also considered to be additional to the LB remains. Only a small fraction of the lower town has been investigated so it is best to reserve judgement. However, the assumption that a long dark age intervenes between the LB and the Iron ages may account for the idea there is a later reoccupation of the site (although if it was destroyed by earthquake there would be no reason why people did not return, in small numbers).

Numerous fragments of material have been uncovered. Lots of flint and obsidian blades, for example. Flakes, cores, stone tools, fragmented stone vases, stone weights and seal stones, as well as all the other material common to the LB era (metal and pottery). What all this underlines is that stone remained in use for an incredibly long time after the introduction of metal technology. The elite may have used bronze weapons and iron tools but the ordinary peasant continued to work with stone – which was available for free. Who can say for sure when the use of stone ceased – even in peripheral regions such as the UK. It is nice to find a flint tool in a ploughed field when out for a stroll but can you really say it was Mesolithic or Neolithic? Farmers could have been using flint axes to cut down trees right the way down to the medieval period. The proviso here is that they would have had to be making them on their farms – as iron tools were being manufactured by the local blacksmith. If you had the time, inclination, and the skill, you could still have been using stone almost down to the present day. It makes you think. 

Meanwhile, at www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-27656212 … we learn that five Neolithic houses have been created at Stonehenge (modelled on those houses found at Durrington Walls a couple of years back). They are made of chalk and straw daub with thatched roofs.

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