The purpose of the Mycenaean Atlas is to furnish accurate lat/lon pairs for Bronze Age sites in the eastern Mediterranean. The emphasis of the Atlas is on the Later Greek Bronze Age (the Mycenaean) although the Atlas does include sites associated with the Early Bronze, Middle Bronze, Sub-Mycenaean, and the Geometric. Presently there are more than 3000 named and located sites in the Atlas.
From the control screen you can reach all the available controls in the MAP.
It contains the usual menu controls: Search, Info page, Using the MAP, and Blog.
Every page displays an html textsearch box. You can search for any token in the database by using this box. It is possible to search for tokens which appear in site names, types, periods, and in the general note section of the place key report. New in this release is the ability to search for both site and feature identifiers. The following searches are examples of what can be done:
A search for the word 'Tiryns' returns this search results page:
By inspecting the results you can see that each returned result is paired with a link to the place key (or feature key) page on which that tag was found. Sections of the place key page are indexed separately and those sections appear separately on the search results page. Currently the sections are 'Site Name', 'Site Comment', 'Type Comment', 'Period Comment', and 'General Note'. So the result Tiryns: Lower Town' is paired with the site identifier 'C845' which, when clicked, returns the Place Key Report for 'Tiryns: Lower Town'.
Do not enter html tags or special characters.
This search facility works like this:
The 'Combined Control' allows you to draw a map using one or more of three criteria: Region, Ceramic Horizon, and/or (artifact) type. To reset these three criteria to null simply click on the 'Reset' button.
Using the control is simple. Click on the arrow of the desired criterion (e.g., 'Region') and you will get a drop-down menu. Click on, say, 'Magnesia'. Then click on the 'Generate Map' button. Your map will appear. Here is the Magnesia example.
The Elevation control allows you to draw a map with just those sites (of whatever kind) which lie between two elevations. For example you may be interested in a map of sites close to the sea. To generate such a map you can specify 0 (all measurements in meters) for the Low box and, perhaps, 100 for the High box. When you press 'submit' your map will be drawn.
At the time this guide was written such a search would return 824 sites. Here's a portion of that map taken from the south-western Peloponnese.
There's actually quite a lot of information on this map. Notice how so many of these sites are right on the shore. It would be easy, for example, to generate a list of these communities just by pressing the .kml button on the map (described later). This map also suggests where the seashore might have been in antiquity particularly in the Pamisos region .
You don't have to use 0 as the 'Low' parameter. You may be interested in just those sites between 100 and 110 m. in elevation. In that case enter '100' for the Low parameter and '110' for the High.
This control allows you to search for habitations in user-defined ranges. The units are square meters; one hectare is 10,000 square meters. At the time this was written the average habitation size (arithmetic mean) in the Atlas is 31900 square meters (3.2 ha.) but this measure is skewed by very large sites at the upper end. A better average measurement might be the median of all habitations (that measure right in the middle of the whole set); that is about 12000 square meters (1.2 ha.). The habitation sizes in the DB are not normally distributed; they are skewed to the left.
I have been told by professionals that these habitation size estimates are not very reliable. I'm sure that that's true. Putting that question aside for a moment I feel that important analysis can be performed even if all we have are relative sizes of sites. There is a great deal of interest in settlement hierarchy sizes (relative sizes) as a clue to the organization of a society and I know of no other way that professionals have easy access to such data and for that reason I include it.
How accurate are these estimates? How is it possible to derive an accurate idea of a habitation size from a scatter of sherds (which is usually how it's done)? No such estimate can be exact in the commonly accepted sense. It's all a matter of probabilities. Let's say that there is a site called 'alpha' which, when it was inhabited, was exactly and precisely 2.0 ha in size. Alpha has been deserted since LHIIIC and, aside from a few sherds, very few traces of it remain. Now let's say that four scholars, A, B, C, and D visit the site at different times and each gives a size estimate. Those estimates are:
A: 1.2 ha. ('obviously')
B: 3.0 ha. ('A significant site whose size scholar A underestimated')
C: 1.6 ha. ('Fashionable in B's time to overestimate hab. sizes')
D: 2.1 ha. ('..an unimportant site to which B gave exaggerated significance')
The average of these estimates is 1.975 ha. Surprisingly close to the real value of 2.0 ha. Now this example was cooked up in order to illustrate the idea. But does this work in real life? Can a series of estimates converge on the actual value? In lots of cases it can. To see why let us imagine a fifth scholar, E, who visits the site and gives an estimate of 100 ha.
Impossible? Well, nearly. The odds of any experienced and reliable scholar, such as E, giving an estimate such as 100 ha. and which wildly varies from the true value (of 2.0 ha.) are almost exactly zero (0.0). And the odds are also nearly zero for any scholar to estimate its size as 20 ha., or 10 ha. The odds are better that some enthusiastic researcher will return an estimate of 5.0 ha. or 4.0 ha. But experience (scholars A through D) has shown that the most likely estimate of the habitation size of A is going to fluctuate around its true value of 2.0 ha. Of course field conditions can actively work against this idea. There are a number of sites on the seashore (or actually underwater such as Nisakouli (C1921) in Messenia) where the ocean has worn away significant parts of the site. Nonetheless the truth is in the aggregate. If the Atlas only supports relative site size comparisons it will have accomplished its job.
The Controls Page supports a control that allows you to see Atlas coverage of several well-known literature sources. Making a selection and pressing 'Select' will generate a map with just sites from that source shown.
So, for example, if you selected 'Alin 1962' and pressed 'Select' then you would be shown a map consisting of DB points described in Per Ålin's Das Ende der Mykenischen Fundstätten auf dem Griechischen Festland, from 1962.
At the time this document was written the sources supported are:
Ålin, Per, Das Ende der Mykenischen Fundstätten auf dem Griechischen Festland. Carl Bloms Boktryckeri A.-B., Lund, 1962.
Banou, Emilia. Beitrag zum Studium Lakoniens in der mykenischen Zeit, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität zu Freiburg. 1996.
Boyd, Michael John. Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean Mortuary Customs in the Southern and Western Peloponnese. University of Edinborough. Scotland. 1999.
Boyd, Michael J., Middle Helladic And Early Mycenaean Mortuary Practices In The Southern And Western Peloponnese. np. 2001.
Farinetti, Emeri. Boeotian Landscapes; A GIS-based study for the reconstruction and interpretation of the archaeological datasets of ancient Boeotia. Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. 2009.
Foley, Anne. The Argolid 800-600 B.C.: An Archaeological Survey : Together with an Index of Sites from the Neolithic to the Roman Period Göteborg : P. Åströms Förlag, 1988.
Fossey, John M., Topography and Population of Ancient Boiotia, Ares publishers Inc., Chicago, Illinois. 1988.
Howell, R. "A Survey of Eastern Arcadia in Prehistory", The Annual of the British School at Athens. 65. November, 1970. 79-127.'
Jameson, Michael H, Curtis N. Runnels, Tjeerd H. van Andel, A Greek Countryside; The Southern Argolid from Prehistory to the Present Day, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 1994.
Waterhouse, Helen and R. Hope Simpson, "Prehistoric Laconia: Part I", The Annual of the British School at Athens, Vol. 55, pp.67-107, 1960
Waterhouse, Helen and R. Hope Simpson, "Prehistoric Laconia: Part II", The Annual of the British School at Athens, Vol. 56, pp. 114-175, 1961.
Lolos, Yannis A., Land of Sikyon: Archaeology and History of a Greek City-State, Hesperia supplements, 39. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2011.
McDonald, William A. and George R. Rapp, Jr., The Minnesota Messenia Expedition: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Regional Environment, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota. USA. 1972.
McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson. 1961. Prehistoric Habitation in Southwestern Peloponnese. American Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 65, No. 3 (Jul., 1961), pp. 221-260.
McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson. 1964. Further Exploration in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1962-1963. American Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 68, No. 3 (Jul., 1964), pp. 229-245.
McDonald, William A. and Richard Hope Simpson. 1969. Further Explorations in Southwestern Peloponnese: 1964-1968. American Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 73, No. 2 (Apr., 1969), pp. 123-177.
Nowicki, Krzysztof. Defensible Sites in Crete; c. 1200 - 800 B.C. (LM IIIB/IIIC through Early Geometric), Aegaeum (Annales d'archéologie égéenne de l'Université de Liège et UT-PASP), 21. 2000.
Papadopoulos, Thanasis J., Mycenaean Achaea; Part 1: Text. Paul Åströms Förlag, Göteborg, Sweden. 1979. Vol 1. 1979.
Pelon, Olivier. Tholoi, tumuli et cercles funéraires; Recherches sur les monuments funéraires de plan circulaire dans l'Égée de l'Âge du Bronze (IIIe at IIe millénaires av. J.-C). Bibliothèques de l'École française d'Athènes et de Rome - Série Athènes, 229. 1976.
These entries were taken from PRAP's website. That site is maintained by Sebastian Heath and is here: http://classics.uc.edu/prap/static/sites_list.xsl.html
Privitera, Santo. Principi, Pelasgi, e pescatori: L'Attica nella Tarda Eta del Bronzo, Paestum: Pandemos. 2013.
Simpson, Richard Hope. Mycenaean Greece. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press, 1981.
Simpson, Richard Hope. Mycenaean Messenia and the Kingdom of Pylos. Philadelphia:Instap Academic Press, 2014.
Simpson, Richard Hope and O.T.P.K. Dickinson, A Gazetteer of Aegean Civilization in the Bronze Age, Vol. I: The Mainland and the Islands, Paul Åströms Förlag, Goteborg. 1979.
van Wijngaarden, G., Use and Appreciation of Mycenaean Pottery in the Levant, Cyprus and Italy (ca. 1600 - 1200 BC). Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and Amsterdam University Press. 2002.
Zavadil, Michaela. Monumenta: Studien zu mittel- und späthelladischen Gräbern in Messenien. Wien:Osterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische Klasse Denkschriften. 2012.
Currently the Helladic material is covered completely for
The others are extensively covered but not complete. Much material is redundant. For example Messenia I, II, III and Simpson & Dickinson  are only partly integrated as yet because much of their material is covered in Simpson . Nonetheless these other sources will eventually be completely integrated into the DB.
The total number of bibliographic sources for this database now numbers some 700 items but these are the most significant.
In addition to displaying Mycenaean sites on maps this site also provides reporting facilities.
The report page is triggered both from the Controls Page Combo Map Box as well as the Combination Map itself. When, from the Controls page, you select some criterion such as the region name ‘Salamis’ you can then click on the ‘Report’ button.
The resulting REPORT page provides a site breakdown by the number of times sites fitting your criteria are tagged with specific types. This gives you an idea of the dominant use of your chosen sites. There is also a site breakdown by regions. In this example using ‘Salamis’ all the sites are in that region and no other.
If you selected some criterion other than region you will get a table that lists all the regions containing sites that fit that criterion. For example if you chose the type ‘Fort’ the table would show all the regions that contain a site typed as ‘Fort’. Here those include ‘Boeotia’, ‘Thessaly’, ‘Corinthia’, ‘Locris Opuntia’, ‘Argolid’, and ‘Achaea’.
The basic REPORT page also has two buttons, ‘Elevation’ and ‘Gazetteer’ that, when clicked, will provide more detailed reports.
The Gazetteer Report button provides a basic list of all the sites that fit your criterion. Clicking the elevation report button provides further analysis of the elevations of the sites fitting your criterion.
The elevation report provides several things. The first is a basic statistical parameters section.
- Arithmetic mean of elevations of the sites that fit this criterion. This is the sum of the elevations divided by the number of sites.
- Median elevation. The median is another measure of central tendency. It is that actual elevation which falls halfway between the lowest and the highest elevations.
- Standard deviation
- Skew The skew shows how much the bulk of the observations are displaced from the arithmetic mean. It is an indication of symmetry in the curve – or the lack of it. If the skew is positive then the bulk of the observations are displaced to the left of the mean; if negative then the bulk of the observations are displaced to the right of the mean. If the skew is 0.0 or close to it then the distribution is more or less symmetrical. Skew might be either positive or negative but in interpreting the meaning of any partiular skew I use the absolute value. So the skew parameter is interpreted as follows:
0.0: The distribution is symmetrical
0.0 to 0.5: The distribution is approximately symmetrical
0.5 to 1.0 The distribution is moderately skewed
Greater than 1.0: The distribution is highly skewed
Kurtosis This is a parameter that indicates how much of the population is in the tails as opposed to the shoulders of the distribution. For more information about skew and kurtosis and how to interpret them see this.
The elevation report also provides two graphs. The first shows the frequency of various elevation ranges; that is, it maps the elevations into the frequency domain. The horizontal axis is elevations from 0 to highest elevation in the set. The vertical axis shows the frequency of sites whose elevations are in that range.
The second graph is a straight-forward plot of sites against their elevations in the order of increasing elevation. The horizontal axis is the site names in order of elevation from lowest to highest. The vertical axis is elevations.
Beneath the charts are two tables. The left-most table is a list of all the sites fitting these criteria which have elevations lower than the arithmetic mean. The right-most table is a list of all the sites fitting these criteria which have elevations greater than the arithmetic mean. The columns in both tables are sortable. The place key numbers in those tables, when clicked, will bring up a place key report for that site.
The Chrono report generates a table of occupation times based on your choices from the selection control on the Controls page. This control allows you to select a combination of Region, Ceramic Horizon, or Type. After making your selection click on the 'Report' button. This brings you to the main report page. That page now has a 'Chrono' button. When you click on that button you will be given a chronological table on which your selection sites will be plotted with 'x's in the appropriate time span columns. Let's look at an example.
From the controls page I select 'Building' under the type label. Then press 'Report'. You'll be taken to the main report page:
You'll see the new 'Chrono Report' button. When you press that you'll be taken to the Chrono page:
In the left-hand column are the place keys for all the places in your selection set. They are clickable. When you click on one you'll be taken to the specific Place Key Report page for that site.
The second column is the place name. The names in this column are mouseable. When you run the mouse over them the region name will pop up in a tool-tip.
Succeeding columns, 'EH', 'EH I', 'EH II' etc., are the ceramic horizon columns. If there is evidence for your site having existed, been used, etc. during any specific ceramic horizon then there will be an 'x' in the box for that ceramic horizon. Here we can see that C1164, Troullos on Kea, existed in the LH I and the LH II.
The column headers with the ceramic horizon names are mouseable. When you do mouse over them the approximate year range will pop up in a tool tip.
It must be emphasized that these ranges are very approximate and scholars differ over what the proper year ranges should be for any specific ceramic horizon. Please keep this in mind. As I learn better ranges for specific ceramic horizons then I will probably change these tool tips.
The 'x' characters in the table boxes are also mouseable. When you do pass the mouse over them then the ceramic horizon label will pop up. This is intended to make it easier to work with the table when the column headers are out of sight.
When creating this table I faced the choice of making the table pageable (column headers never out of sight) or sortable. I chose sortable as probably the more useful alternative. When you click on the column heads the table will be re-sorted to put your criterion at the top. Because spaces in the cells sort before the character 'x' by default you'll probably have to click twice on any specific column head to get the effect that you want.
Also keep in mind that there are really two chrono pages, one in the helladic name style: 'EH', 'MH', 'LH' etc. and one in the Minoan name style 'EM', 'MM', 'LM', etc. These pages function differently. If your chosen data set has sites from Crete then the default or initial chrono page will show few or no 'x' characters in the table.
In order to see a meaningful chart you will switch to the 'Minoan Scale' page. Probably the most disorienting thing that a user can do is to make some choice like 'Crete' and then be faced with an empty chart and not know why. Remember to switch scales. The button to do this is at the upper right of the page and labelled 'Minoan Scale'.
Also keep in mind that some sites, particularly in the islands, have ceramic horizons in both styles. You will need to look at such sites under both scales. If you are on the Minoan Scale page there is also a button, in the same place, for switching back to Helladic.
I have not yet implemented a page for the Cycladic time scale.
There are buttons on the chrono pages that allow you to go to the elevation report page or the gazetteer report page. Those pages now also support buttons that allow you to go to the Chrono page. This should make multivariate analysis more convenient.
The tables, like any .html table, can be selected with the mouse, in whole or in part, and dropped directly onto an Excel spreadsheet. Here is an example of a table from the chrono page dropped onto Excel:
The Gazetteer report is a simple list of all the sites which meet the specified criteria. The criteria themselves are listed on the top of the page. A sortable and clickable list of all the relevant sites follows this. The list is sortable by clicking on the column heads.
To retrieve a report about a site you search for it by entering the place key ID in whatever search box is handy. The place key is unique to each site; it consists of the letter 'C' followed by a three or four-place number. Here's an example. You can try entering something like 'C219' (without the quotes).
That place key would have taken you to a search results page with a link on it for the place key 'C219'. the report page for 'Ano Engliano' (Nestor's Palace).
On that report page there were several sections describing the site. There is a general information section which gives you the exact latitude and longitude in decimal and DMS form. You are also given the location in Universal Transverse Mercator, and in What3Words form.
You can see from this image clip that you also get the region (Messenia), the elevation of the site (186 m.) and an indicator of how accurate the given location actually is (Accuracy). There are occasions where that is not possible and when that happens the database supplies an error radius. This is radius of a circle, centered at the lat/lon pair, which touches some part of the sought-for feature. For a complete description of this parameter and of the concepts of Precision and Accuracy as they apply to this web site see this. In this case we are certain that the supplied lat/lon pair actually is the location of Nestor's Palace.
The word 'POSITION' on this report is a link to Google Maps. When you click on it Google Maps will open centered on the lat/lon pair in question: Here Nestor's Palace. This is convenient because Google Maps provides a Street View facility which is often helpful when researching sites.
The Type section provides some information about the site type. It may be a tholos, a habitation, or something else. Here is an example from site C445 which is the tholos tomb at Koutsochira: Diasela in Triphylia.
In this example there are three citations for the type. One is from McDonald and Simpson's famous 1961 article about the Peloponnese (described at the bottom of the place key report). McDonald and Simpson typed it as a tholos tomb. In the second citation McDonald and Rapp, in their report on the Minnesota Messenia Expedition emphasized the general nature of the site as a cemetery. In the last citation Simpson, in his 1981 Mycenaean Greece, typed it as a tholos.
The next section provides chronological information about the site. For nearly all sites this is the most difficult information to provide. Ceramic horizons can often be identified (or plausibly guessed at); it is the conversion of these ceramic horizon names into actual year ranges which is controversial. Ordinarily a number of chronological citations are supplied here (with many more to come in the future). It should serve to at least orient you in this area.
You should be aware that the year ranges given are expressed in the 'High' Chronology. The date of the transition from LMIA to LMIB (LHI to LHIIA) is controversial. Both sides agree that the transition occurred shortly after the eruption of the volcano on the Cycladic island of Thera and the traditional date attached to the eruption (based largely on pottery sequences) is ca. 1500 BC. But more and more scientific evidence is accumulating that indicates the eruption occurred about 100 years earlier; perhaps about 1628 B.C. That means that the (LMIA to LMIB) LHI to LHII transition is to be dated about 100 years earlier than used to be thought. The 'scientific' arguments for retaining the traditional transition date are looking more and more strained and so this site adopts the earlier (the 'High') chronology. The most reasoned and reasonable discussion of the issues can be found in Sturt Manning's essay entitled "Eruption of Thera/Santorini" which comprises Chapter 34 (pp. 457-474) of the Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (Eric Cline, ed), OUP, 2010. The Mycenaean Archaeological Project database itself does supply Low Chronology equivalents for the Ceramic Horizon names but this feature has not yet been incorporated into the website.
The following is an example of the Period (Ceramic Horizon) information for site 'C125' which is a site at Mandra in Messenia.
In this example five ceramic horizon citations are supplied from two different works, McDonald and Rapp  as well as a famous article by McDonald and Simpson from 1969 (sometimes called 'Messenia III'). The ceramic horizon name is presented followed by the short form citation of the authority being used. Oridnarily each citation is accompanied by a comment that justifies my citing them in this way. So in citation 1 I have quoted McDonald and Simpson: "A sherd from a thin-walled open shape could be MH or EH", to support the ceramic horizon name of 'EH'. The long form of the bibliographic citation is given in the next section.
In the bibliography section attached to C125 at Mandra four citations are supplied. Each citation gives the short form (used in the rest of the report), here, for the first citation, 'Simpson ',
then the full title: 'Simpson, Richard Hope. Mycenaean Greece. Park Ridge, New Jersey: Noyes Press, 1981.'
followed by the chapter or paragraph name: 'F 235 Mandhra: Chazna'
and, lastly, the page which is 141.
The bibliography section is not meant to be exhaustive. Its purpose is to give you at least one reliable source from which to start your investigation into the site. A fine general bibliographical work in this area is Bryan Feuer's Mycenaean Civilization, Revised Edition, McFarland & Company, Inc., North Carolina, USA. 2004.
The feature is a currently existing site or object. Features have nothing to do with the Bronze Age or with Mycenaean culture or civilization. A feature may be a town, a church, a ridge or hill, a sign, bridge, or other currently existing object or site which might be helpful in locating Bronze Age sites. Often it's the case that finding a currently existing feature is the best way to locate the BA site you're looking for. So now it is possible to see features on site maps. Each feature has its own ID which is the letter 'F' followed by a three or four digit number.
In the following illustration you can see this feature/sign (arrow). If you mouse over the feature a box with the feature id and name will appear:
In this case it says 'F2073: Sign: Archaeological Site and Museum of Mycenae'
If you click on that icon then an info-box will pop up that will give you more information about that feature.
Here we see that an infobox has popped up which gives the ID, the name, the lat/lon pair, the type, and its region. Also there is a link on the infobox. If you click on that link you'll be taken to a page created just for that feature.
On this new page the feature you clicked on, F2073, is now centered on the map and made larger than the other feature icons.
As I mentioned, each feature has a unique ID which is the letter 'F' followed by a three or four digit number. If you know the feature id that you want you can just type it into a search box. When you do that you'll be taken to a search results page which will have a link to your desired feature. So, for example, if you type 'F2072' (no quotes) in a Search box you'll be taken to a Search Results page which looks like this:
Here you see that there's a link to your desired feature, F2072, which turns out to be a sign to the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae. Following this there is a working search box. Try it out!