The archaeological research at Orchomenos has offered rich evidence
for the habitation at the site. In the Neolithic period the houses were circular
huts 2 to 6 ms in diametre, while in the Early Bronze Age, (2800-1900 B.C.) they
were apsidal. In the Bronze Age (3rd-2nd century B.C.), Orchomenos was famous
as an important centre of civilisation. The palace and the
great tholos tomb show the power of Orchomenos in the mycenaean times. The
town is mentioned by Homer ("Catalogue of Ships") a a participant to the Trojan
War; together with Aspledon
they contributed 30 ships. In historical times, Orchomenos was known as the "town
of Charites". Their temple is probably situated under the
church of Panaghia Skripou
. Musical and poetical games, haretesia, were held
in their honour. The town was equally important during the Hellenistic times when
the fortification walls, visible today, were constructed.
In 1880-1886 H. Schliemann revealed the so-called tholos tomb of
Minyas. In 1893 A. de Ridder excavated the temple of Asklepios and some roman
graves. In 1903-1905 a bavarian archaeological mission under H.Bulle and .Furwaengler conducted excavations with important results for the history of the site. Research continued in 1970-1973 by the Archaeological Service (the Ephor Th.Spyropoulos) and brought to light among others the mycenaean palace, a prehistoric cemetery and the ancient theatre.
The most important monuments of Orchomenos are:
The Tholos tomb known as Tomb of Minyas
. It is one of the
greatest burial monuments of the mycenaean period, comporable to the
tholos tomb of Atreas at Mycenae. The ceiling of the side chamber is decorated
with spirals and floral motifs in relief. In the centre of the tholos, a rectangular burial monument dates to the Ηellenistic period (323-30 B.C.). The
tholos tomb of Minyas was partially restored by the architect-archaeologist
A. Orlandos. In 1994, the Hellenic Ministry of Culture undertook restoration work
consisting mainly of drainage and strengthening of the walls of the side chamber.
The worksare to be completed with similar works with regard to the tholos.
was built round the end of the 4th century B.C. Preserved are the cavea, with the seats for the spectators, the orchestra and part of the scene. It was in use until the late roman times (4th century A.D.).
The mycenaean palace
, east to the tholos tomb. It is only
partially excavated and consists of three wings. It was decorated with frescoes.
The palace was destroyed at c. 1200 B.C.
The fortification walls of Orchomenos
were built at the 2nd
half of the 4th century B.C. and they crown the east end of mount Akontion.