Greek Archaeology from Schliemann to Surveys

Graham Shipley discusses how new archaeological discoveries and techniques are progressively refining our views of Classical Greece.

It is probably fair to say that perceptions of Greek history between the eighth and first centuries BC have almost completely altered in the past sixty years. Archaeology is mainly responsible for this.

Everyone reading Greek history will have found themselves confronted, in books and articles, by frequent references to archaeological evidence. What historians mean by 'Greek archaeology', however, may not be immediately apparent. Many people think of it in terms of beautiful works of art (the Elgin Marbles, the Charioteer of Delphi), or the impressive Bronze Age sites (the palace of Knossos, Mycenae with its Lion Gate, or the Thera frescoes). To others, archaeology conjures up the romance of discovery: Michael Ventris, a young English architect, deciphering a lost Bronze Age script, or the expeditions of Schliemann.

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