Μυκηναϊκή ΙωλκόςPart of : Αρχαιολογικά ανάλεκτα εξ Αθηνών ; Vol.XXXII-XXXIV, 1999, pages 71-100
Excavations have been conducted since 1977 at Dimini, on the site to the east of the hill on which the prehistoric settlement lies, and have revealed parts of buildings dating from the Mycenaean period. Between 1977 and 1997, a total of eleven buildings of this period were investigated, along with a main street that runs through the settlement, and a large pottery kiln. The Mycenaean settlement at Dimini, which covers an area of about 10 hectares, was created in the late 15th c. BC and flourished in the 14th and 13th c. BC.In 1997, when the task of displaying the Mycenaean settlement at Dimini was incorporated in the 2nd Communal Support Program, electric and magnetic soundings were made, during which a large building complex was located between the main part of the settlement, with the street, and the east side of the hill and the Neolithic ruins. So far, two large buildings (Megaron A and Megaron B) have been uncovered, flanked by other, smaller buildings, which have been identified with workshops and storerooms, and which are linked by an internal courtyard.Megaron A is oriented east-west and consists of two wings of rooms separated by a passageway. This building is the only large building dating from the Mycenaean period in Thessaly. It consists of the north wing, which includes three large rooms and a peristyle courtyard at the east, and the south wing, which contains ten smaller rooms. The north wing houses the main living rooms, and the south the workshop and storage rooms. In one of the storerooms in the south wing was found a stone standard weight with a Linear B inscription incised on one of its narrow sides.Megaron A was abandoned by its occupants in the LH IIIB2-LH IIIC early period, though there is evidence for reoccupation in the large rooms, and in the west part, the workshop area. The new inhabitants gradually restricted the number of rooms in use by building makeshift walls. In the final phase of the use of Megaron A, it appears that only the large rooms in the north wing were used. Megaron A was reused again within a relatively short time after its abandonment by its original occupants; the new use of the rooms appears not to have lasted very long. The abandonment and brief period of reuse is dated to the beginning of the LH IIIC early period. The only categories of pottery that may bedated to the advanced early LH IIIC period, which were found in most of the rooms that were reused, are grey pseudo-Minyan ware and handmade coarse wares.Megaron A is connected by an internal courtyard with a second complex (Megaron B) that extends parallel with it, the core of which also has a megaron flanked by a series of small rooms. The excavation of it is still ongoing, but it is obvious that the whole of Megaron B was destroyed by a great fire in the late 13th-early 12th c. BC. After this destruction, none of its rooms was ever reused. The core of this second complex is the megaron, which consists of the aithousa, prodomos and domos. At the centre of the prodomos is a large raised clay altar. To the north of the main megaron lies the wing with storerooms, in which a large quantity of pottery was found. This pottery dates the destruction of Megaron B with a fair degree of security to the late 13th-early 12th c. BC. The discovery of the building complex described above demonstrates that Dimini was occupied by a ruling class that concentrated administrative, religious and economic functions in its hands. The existence of this ruling class is supported by the presence of tholos tombs, which had already been discovered at the beginning of the 20th century, and by the use of the Linear B script in Megaron A. In the 14th and 13th c. BC, then, Dimini was a very powerful Mycenaean centre at the head of the Pagasitic gulf, which employed an advanced system for commercial exchanges and for procuring raw materials, and of which the legend of the Argonauts and the mythical city of Iolkos should be regarded as merely a literary memory.
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