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Archaeologist claims to have found 'Agamemnon's throne'

A Greek archaeologist believes he has found a fragment of the lost throne of the rulers of Mycenae, famous from ancient myth and the story of the Trojan War.

Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
The 50 kilo slab of limestone claimed to be part of the king’s throne at Mycenae
[Credit: Christofilis Maggidis]
Christofilis Maggidis, who heads excavations at the site in southern Greece, said Tuesday that the chunk of worked limestone was found two years ago, in a streambed under the imposing citadel.

He told a press conference in Athens that the royal throne was among sections of the hilltop palace that collapsed during an earthquake around 1200 B.C.

Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
Greek archaeologist Christofilis Maggidis, speaks as a photograph of a stone he believes belonged to the lost royal throne
 in the ancient palace of Mycenae, heart of the Mycenaean civilization, in southern Greece, during a press conference
in Athens, June 14, 2016 [Credit: AP/Petros Giannakouris]
Greek Culture Ministry officials have distanced themselves from the identification, citing a separate study that ruled the chunk to be part of a stone basin.

But Maggidis said the find was unmistakably made for sitting on, and would have been no use for holding liquids as it is made of porous stone.

Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
Maggidis says the worked stone was found by chance two years ago in a streambed below the prehistoric citadel 
[Credit: Christofilis Maggidis]
"In our opinion, this is one of the most emblematic and significant finds from the Mycenaean era," he said.

Mycenae flourished from the mid-14th to the 12th century B.C. and was one of Greece's most significant late bronze age centers. Its rulers are among the key figures of Greek myth, caught in a vicious cycle of parricide, incest and dynastic strife.

Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
Reconstruction of the Mycenaean throne (above) and the alabaster throne from the Minoan palace 
at Knossos in Crete (below) [Credit: Christofilis Maggidis]
The most famous of all, Agamemnon, led the Greek army that besieged and sacked Troy, according to Homer's epics. It is not clear to what extent the myths were inspired by memories of historic events.

No other thrones have been found in mainland Greece's Mycenaean palaces. An older, smaller example was found in the Minoan palace of Knossos, on the island of Crete.

Archaeologist claims to have found Agamemnon's throne
Maggidis claims the monolithic throne was smashed when an earthquake sent part of the palace tumbling 
into a streambed below [Credit: Christofilis Maggidis]
Maggidis said other parts of the throne may lie beneath Mycenae, and hopes to secure a permit to fully excavate the streambed.

The precise type of stone used has not been found anywhere else in the palace of Mycenae, although a similar material was used extensively in the citadel's massive defensive walls and in the magnificent beehive tombs where its rulers were buried.

Author: Nicholas Paphitis | Source: The Associated Press [June 14, 2016]

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