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Art Diary

Digital Mycenae

12 June 2020

While many museums remain shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibitions will include shows at institutions that are now reopening as well as digital projects providing virtual access to art and culture.

In 1920 Alan Wace led a team of archaeologists from the British School at Athens to Mycenae, the ancient stronghold in the Peloponnese that was the major centre of late Bronze Age civilisation in Greece from around 1600–1100 BC. Building on the discoveries of Heinrich Schliemann in the 19th century, Wace’s systematic excavations have had a profound impact on our understanding of the chronology of Mycenaean civilisation, from prehistory to the Roman period. To mark the centenary of the team’s arrival, the University of Cambridge – where Wace later taught – has digitised a tranche of archival documents from the three expeditions made in 1920–23, 1939, and 1950–57, including some 80 notebooks, 600 drawings and architectural plans of excavated buildings and of frescoes, jewellery and other objects, and more than 1,700 photographs. Find out more on the Cambridge Digital Library website.

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A.J.B. Wace standing in the dromos of the Treasury of Atreus, Mycenae, 9 September 1940.

Alan Wace standing in the dromos of the Treasury of Atreus, Mycenae, 9 September 1940. Photo: © Faculty of Classics Archives, University of Cambridge

Drawing of a clay vase from Chamber Tomb 518, Mycenae (1920–23), unsigned.

Drawing of a clay vase from Chamber Tomb 518, Mycenae (1920–23), unknown artist. Photo: © British School at Athens

The Lion Gate, with view of Grave A beyond, Mycenae (1921), unknown photographer.

The Lion Gate, with view of Grave A beyond, Mycenae (1921), unknown photographer. Photo: © British School at Athens

Plan and section drawing of Chamber Tomb 518, Mycenae (1922–23), unsigned.

Plan and section drawing of Chamber Tomb 518, Mycenae (1922–23), unknown artist. Photo: © British School at Athens