Saturday, 9 April 2016


#Tiryns #greekpolises #polis Hydro-engineering #mycenaeans #argolid

The #Argolid is one of the largest agricultural areas in Greece.

Legend and history describe the three major centres as Argos Tiryns and Mycenae. The rulers at Mycenae if we can trust the Catalogue of Ships section of the Iliad also controlled most of what was later called Achaia and had access or some kind of arrangement / alliance to use Corinth as a port.

Argos and Tiryns controlled much smaller areas but areas that allowed for grazing of horse and cattle and growing crops that could be traded with other areas plus Argos controlled several trade and road routes into the interior of the Peloponnese.

#TIRYNS may be inland today but it was a major power in the Mycenaean era because it was a port hard as that may seem to believe. It is odd Nauplia is not mentioned. Perhaps it was only a fishing village in that era?

WATER again is the key.

Notice how the shoreline has changed !

Here's a modern map for contrast.

Here is the citadel of Tiryns today.

I chose this aerial shot of several available because it shows the thickness of the walls and just enough of the surrounding area to show how flat it is by contrast.

Modern Tiryns is further to the north east as ancient Tiryns was destroyed in a war with Argos. Areas that were once housing are now farms and fields.

Now when you saw the first two maps did you notice the ancient water courses around Tiryns?  In the 1960s archaeologists realised a water diversion shifting a river bed and credited to the Venetians actually dated back to the Mycenaean era after evacuations revealed the base of the "Tiryns dam" had stone work that predated Classical Roman or other styles. 

I read of this being described as a flood diversion scheme but another possibility is that some one in Tiryns realised a barrier placed there would not only divert floods away from the suburbs of the city and maybe slow down the silting of the bay but also cause silt to build up behind the barrier and create more farmland.

The dam / diversion weir became almost hidden because soil built up behind and around it.

You can see the farms in the area on Google Earth.

Eventually the shore line changed around Tiryns and it was no longer a port but it was and still is a farming area whereas on the other side of the plain the soil is much drier though fortunately for Argos and modern farmers the Lake or Lagoon at Lerna filled over the centuries creating more farmland.

Perhaps Argos should have invested in diversion weirs?

Tiryns may not be a major city by our modern standards but as a Greek polis considering it lasted from the Helladic well into the Classical era its a success story.   Because of water management.  And there's still a TIRYNS there!