The Annual of the British School at Athens

Research Article

The Development of Mycenaean Terracotta Figurines

Elizabeth French

Mycenaean figurines have been known for as long as Mycenaean pottery itself, for they were found both by Biliotti on Rhodes and by Schliemann at Mycenae. It was, however, Schliemann's (1878, 10 ff.) imaginative interpretation of female and bovine figures alike as representations of ox-eyed Hera that ensured their conspicuous place in the history of Mycenaean culture and religion. Not only did he illustrate a considerable number in his works, but he also preserved with great care all fragments found. Indeed, even today there are some five hundred figurines from his excavations in the National Museum at Athens, and others have gone as gifts to the museums of Europe. These finds, with those of the Greek excavations at Nauplia, supplied a happy hunting ground for early scholars of prehistoric religion such as Mayer (1892) and Reichel (1897).