Pausanias, an “Achaian” or pre-Dorian stronghold, incorporated by conquest as the fifth village of Sparta
probably early in the 8th c. B.C. Excavation has been almost entirely confined to the hill of Haghia Kyriaki
about 5 km S of Sparta. The prehistoric settlement, which
spanned the entire Bronze Age, was concentrated on the
SE slopes; the historical site may have extended in an
arc from N of the hill to modern Amyklae.
A little way down the hill, immediately outside and
below a terrace wall, a small stratified deposit, composed of debris accumulated discontinuously between the
Byzantine and Early Mycenaean periods, has been identified.
The Sanctuary of Apollo was laid out in the 8th c. Its
centerpiece was the “tomb” (presumably an earthen
tumulus) of Hyakinthus, a pre-Greek divinity whose cult
was conflated with that of Apollo in the annual festival
of the Hyakinthia. In the 7th or early 6th c. a 15 m-high
statue of Apollo was fashioned in the form of a cylinder
with arms (holding spear and bow) and helmeted head.
About 550 B.C. the face of Apollo was plated with Lydian
gold, a gift from King Croesus, and shortly thereafter
Bathykles of Magnesia designed the Doric-Ionic complex later known as the “throne” of Apollo. The cult
statue was set on an altar faced with stone reliefs depicting mythological scenes; similar reliefs decorated the
interior and exterior friezes of the surrounding superstructure, whose main entrance was formed by four half-columns crowned by console capitals. The rich archaic
dedications include bronze vessels and figurines, terracotta figurines (mainly female), and a few lead and
ivory pieces; pottery was comparatively scarce. A contemporary deposit of over 10,000 dedications to Alexandra-Kassandra has been excavated at Haghia Paraskevi
nearby; these and sporadic finds from the neighborhood
confirm the evidence of Haghia Kyriaki that Amyklaean
material culture, like that of Sparta, reached its zenith in
the 7th and 6th c. There is nothing noteworthy among
the later finds.
, 3.16.2, 18.6-19.6; Strab.
; Polyb. 5.19.1.
G. Hirschfeld in PW
I (1893) 1196-97; E. Fiechter,
“Amyklae. Der Thron des Apollon,” Jahrbuch
2 (1926) 120; ArchAnz
col. 424; E. Buschor & W. von Massow, “Vom Amyklaion,” AthMitt
52 (1927) 1ff; E. Vanderpool, “News
Letter from Greece,” AJA
61 (1957) 283; Deltion