Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology
This dissertation is a study of the basic practices and primary elements of construction in Mycenaean architecture: foundations, terraces, rubble, and ashlar masonry, cyclopean masonry and its relation to circuit walls. Special consideration is given to conglomerate masonry in the circuit walls and the practice of corbelling. Addenda deal with the cyclopean terrace at the Argive Heraeum and the construction of the Southern Citadel of Tiryns.
The study is a summation of a detailed catalogue of information gathered from published reports of excavations and from on the spot inspection of most of the sites discussed; it is accompanied by 155 photographs documenting the discussion and relevant plans and sections.
The text discusses the appearance and development of different kinds of foundations and terraces at sites from early through late in the Mycenaean period . Special consideration is given to the development of palatial terrace platforms at Tiryns, Pylos, Gla, and Mycenae. Rubble masonry and ashlar masonry are discussed and contrasted; ashlar is examined in relation to its appearance in the tholos tombs and the palaces. Cyclopean masonry is presented as it develops in fortifications from MH through late Mycenaean times. Considerations of style and construction are stressed and detailed attention is given to the forms of cyclopean masonry at Mycenae and Tiryns. Ashlar masonry of conglomerate is discussed as a style peculiar to Mycenae and its relation to poros ashlar in tholos tomb construction is defined .
In conclusion the study summarizes the architectural history of the practices examined and examines the question of foreign influences in Mycenaean architectural practices as well as the indigenous character of Mycenaean architecture. Avenues of further study are indicated .
James C. Wright, “Mycenaean Masonry Practices and Elements of Construction” (Ph.D. diss., Bryn Mawr College, 1978).