Biblical Archaeology Review 32:6, November/December 2006

Did Theseus Slay the Minotaur?

How Myth and Archaeology Inform Each Other

By Jeremy McInerney

In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann completed a season’s excavation at Mycenae, where his faith in Homer’s text was repaid with spectacular success. Having excavated one of the shafts in grave circle A, close by the Lion Gate, Schliemann had come down on a burial containing the remains of a man whose face in death had been covered by a gold plate, beaten out to form a crude portrait. According to a story widely told, Schliemann claimed that the features of the dead man’s face had remained visible for a split second before crumpling into dust. He cabled the king of Greece and announced that he had discovered the tomb of Agamemnon.

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