This is a “tholos” or beehive tomb, named after its shape. Although it is also called the Tomb of Agamemnon, it is highly unlikely that this tomb has any relation to him or Atreus, Agamemnon's father.
Approximate Year of Completion
About 1250 BC
Duration of construction
“The chamber has a diameter of 14.6 m and a height of 13.5 m. The interior side of the conglomerate stones is carved creating a vault (θόλος). A passage with vertical slopes, lined with large conglomerate stones of rectangular masonry leads to the entrance of the chamber. The entrance of the chamber is supported by a large lintel, which is 9 m long, 5 m wide and 1.2 m in height, weighing about 120 tons” (Zekkos et al 2005) A diagram explaining the shape of the treasury and materials used is included below.
The hill is excavated, the vault is constructed and then soil is placed on top of it. Older versions of these graves do not include the protective rectangular, masonry lining of the passage. Another interesting feature of this construction that is not observed in all the tombs is the waterproofing of the tomb. A clay liner is placed around the vault to avoid getting water in the chamber (Zekkos et al 2005).
Other significant comments
The lintel stone is the largest in the world. It weighs 120 tons and is 8.3m x 5.2m x 1.2m.
Sources and references
Moonstone, Douglas (2012). “Earth is the aim: Peoples.” Wordpress, <https://earthistheaim2.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/part-4-the-indo-european-chapter-18-cities-states-and-small-kingdoms/> (Apr. 30, 2015).
Zekkos, D., Manousakis, J., Athanasopoulos, A. (2005), “Geotechnical engineering practice in the Mycenaean Civilization (1600-1100 BC)”, 2nd International Conference “Ancient Greek Technology, Athens 17-21 October 2005.
(2015). "Treasury of Atreus.” Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasury_of_Atreus> (Apr. 30, 2015)
(2015). “Treasury of Atreus.” Encyclopedia Britannica, <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/41923/Treasury-of-Atreus> (Apr. 30, 2015)