Wednesday, December 15, 2004

En-route to the new museum

The next morning we woke up slightly earlier and set off for a cooked breakfast in the main square (Syntagma Square) before setting off for the new Archaeological Museum of Mycenae. The link goes to the ministry of culture's verbose site about the new museum. They know how to publicise a good thing, oh yes!

We scooted up the new road to the turning for Mycenae, you know the Dervenakia to Merbaka express route which ends unceremoniously in an orchard after some manic skidding and sliding trying to slow down from the 130 kph you were doing to something less likely to have you doing cartwheels through the orange trees.

The site looked very white and bleached in the distance as we got closer. First spot on the route in of course remains the horrible concrete structure erected on the original site of, and still bearing the name of, the "Belle Helene" inn where everyone who is anyone in the archaeology of Mycenae has slept, at least until post war times when better was built in the area.

Next spot in the causeway across the little ravine thing on the right hand side a little after the cemetery turning, followed closely by the third mile cemetery on the left of the road before the fencing for Atreus.

The two tholoi inside the fencing can be seen before the parking area making it a good start for a drive-by tour of the tholos tombs of Mycenae. We parked and entered the site past the grumpy woman on the gate. I was criticised by K for trying to have a discussion with the sort of misanthrope the ministry of culture is saddled with for the manning of their sites at weekends. The woman did not want to talk, apparently.

Walking down to the museum I had a sneaking suspicion that apart from putting little bits of string around the grave circle, someone had done something to the bit of perimeter wall opposite the ticket booth - maybe my idea… but it needs follow-up visits.

Something that does not need a follow-up visit to be sure about is that just as in the past at some point the citadel perimeter was expanded to enclose the grave circle discovered by Schliemann, so too now the fencing had been expanded beyond the loos, to enclose the museum also, and with it the Tholos tomb of the Lions, which used to be open to the public at all times of day and night.

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