A. D. Moore and W. D. Taylour, Well-built Mycenae: The Helleno-British Excavations within the Citadel of Mycenae, 1959-1969. Fascicule 10: The Temple Complex. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 1999. Pp. x + 131, incl. CD and microfiche. ISBN 1-84217-000-7. UKú20.00.
Brock University, Ontario, Canada.
The temple complex at the citadel of Mycenae is one of the most interesting of the archaeological zones in the entire citadel. It was excavated in the late 1960s by the Greek Archaeological Society and the British School at Athens. The area is well known due to the discovery of frescoes and a cache of large terracotta figurines dated to the late LHIIIB period.
In spite of this the basic archaeological information about the material from the excavations has never been easily accessible. Moore's book, a publication of his thesis and a fascicule in the continuing publications of the Helleno-British excavations at the citadel in the 1960s, goes a substantial way toward remedying this. The book is an invaluable aid to anyone studying the remains of the cult centre at Mycenae.
The main strength is in the presentation of the archaeological information. The volume has extensive plans of the temple complex area in a variety of media: text, microfiche, and CD ROM. The map on page 26 is particularly helpful since it relates the find spots of specific types of pottery and their forms, and correlates these with fiche information (lists of finds) and the catalogue of finds in the text. This allows for basic spatial analysis almost immediately. The illustrated plans of the Room 18 alcove (pp. 24 and 25) gives an excellent visual impression of the distributions of kylikes and cups in this area. Such materials were very numerous and Moore's plans give the reader a sense of this without bogging one down in exact statistical analysis, which is nevertheless still possible on the basis of the information provided in the microfiche.
The book is lavishly illustrated for its small size with line drawings and black-and-white photographs of the finds both in situ and after excavation and conservation.
Detailed catalogues of pottery and small finds along with drawings fill out the bulk of the first seventy- five pages of the text. This is followed by a discussion of the evidence by the author.
It is in the interpretive section of the work where the main problem with the text is found. It becomes obvious here that the work was a thesis. The writing style is extremely stiff and prone to jargon. This is not in itself a difficulty for the academic reader. More difficult is the constant qualification of observations. The problem is the author's use of Renfrew's criteria for identifying an archaeological zone as religious in nature. In attempting to develop a model for the temple complex Moore got bogged down in this question. It would have been better to simply state his interpretations. The site is problematic since elements of cult and social gathering behaviour can be argued for. In the end Moore opts for noting possibilities. The assessment of whether the physical remains of the 'cult-centre' justify its label is marred by a highly probabilistic mode of writing. The other problem has to do with presentation.
In order to derive the full benefit from this publication one requires a microfiche reader and a computer station. This is no real problem logistically in this day and age. It could however conceivably create difficulties in accessing some of the evidence on the database. In fairness, the reviewer does not see how else the author could have presented all the information he does.
These weaknesses do not detract from the import of this work. The volume is an invaluable aid to the archaeological analysis and reconstruction of a very important area of the citadel. The weaknesses in discussion and analysis are more than counterbalanced by the wealth of archaeological information provided in such a concise format. As a long-awaited archaeological report this work is most welcome.