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Archaeological Site of Menelaion

Last Update: Nov 2013

Sanctuary of Menelaos and Helen

Archaeological site, Cultural heritage SPARTI , LACONIA , GREECE

Archaeological Site of Menelaion - Overview

  It is situated 5 kms Southeastern of Sparta on a height of mountain Parnon, above of the eastern bank of river Evrotas. The ancient name of the area was Therapne.
  An extended Mycenaean settlement was revealed, which was identified by H. Catling with the Homeric Sparta, the centre of the palace of Menelaos. Specifically the investigations brought into light traces of Middle Helladic habitation (burials-pottery), pottery of Late Helladic IIA period (15th century B.C) unrelated to any excavated architectural structure, building of Late Helladic IIB period (15th century B.C), known as Megaron I (Mansion I) ; it was used until Late Helladic IIIA1, when it was destroyed by earthquake and was replaced by a building of different orientation but of the same use: the Megaron II. The area was abandoned during Late Helladic IIIA2 period (14th century B.C) and was inhabited again during Late Helladic IIIB2 period (end of 13th century B.C).
  Date of architectural phases and description:
•Geometric period : Foundation of the sacred peribolus and altar. It was probably founded on an area where worship was taken place during the mycenaean period.
•Archaic period (500 B. C.): Construction of the first monumental building, consisting of a small cella made of rectangular porous stones.
•Classical period: Construction of large crepidoma on which a cella was built . Peculiar structure in the shape of a pyramid.
  The Greek Archaeologist Chr. Tsountas identified in 1889 Mycenaean pottery sherds, but not any architectural remains, south of the Archaic altar of Menelaos and Helen. Excavations were conducted by the British Archaeological School At Athens in 1909, under the direction of R. M. Dawkins and in 1973-76, under the direction of Dr. H. Catling.
  The walls have been partly restored with concrete, by the British Archaeological School at Athens.
  The most important monuments of the site are:
•Part of settlement dated to Late Mycenaean period (14th-12th century B. C.). It was uncovered during excavations conducted by the British Archaeological School At Athens, under the direction of H. Catling.
•Sanctuary of Menelaos and Helen; a monumental ramp which is surrounded by peribolus leads to a temple. It is dated to Archaic until Roman period.

Executives & Departments

  • Archaeological service:, Tel.: 27310 23315, 27310 24359, Fax: 27310 21516
    5th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Sparta

Principals / HQ / participations...

Activities / facilities / services / specialization

Archaeological site

Art & culture

Visiting Information • Free admission • Site always open
Ancient monuments • Houses / Mycenaean palatial period, 1400-1200 BC • Temples / Archaic period, 700-480 BC / Classical period, 480-323 BC
Ancient sanctuary • Sanctuary of local deities

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