Mask Of Agamemnon Analysis

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The famous Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funerary mask found at Grave Circle A in Mycenae. Dated back to the Bronze Age, the mask itself (and for that matter the vast amount of gold found with it) indicate the presence of an elite class, and thus, some sort of sociopolitical hierarchy. Perhaps more interestingly however is the debate surrounding the authenticity of the finds as well as the accuracy of the identities connected to them. The issue holds implications for other pieces of archaeological evidence, and consequently our understanding of the culture that existed on mainland Greece during this time. Burials served as an opportunity for the Bronze Age wealthy to immortalize their wealth and status. They accomplished this largely through…show more content…
Much of the doubt centered around the claim that the bodies belonged to the Homeric characters that Schliemann declared they belonged to. At the very least, Schliemann’s findings were proof of the civilization that modern historians and archaeologists term the Greek Bronze Age. Interestingly, the results of Schliemann’s decision to dig within city confines were a happy accident than calculated risk. Later excavations showed his Grave Circle to lie outside the walls of the city that it chronologically accompanied. The fortress walls that Schliemann initially observed were built at least 2 centuries after the construction of the tombs (Romer, 115). Foremost among Schliemann’s skeptics was William Calder, a classics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Calder cites evidence set forth by his colleagues that questions the stylistic differences of the mask when compared to other Mycenaean funeral masks. In addition, Calder casts suspicion over Schliemann’s excavation schedule, specifically that three days after the mask was found, Schliemann closed excavations at the site. This to suggest that he had planted it there and upon “discovering” it, saw no further need to continue excavations (Harrington et al.,

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