Petsas House is located in the settlement of Mycenae in the Argolid of southern Greece. The building, which was occupied during the 14th C BCE and destroyed at the end of the century, was a multi-functional space that served as a ceramic production and storage facility in addition to being a residence. Notably, it is one of the few sites to preserve a record of independent or semi-independent craft production at a time when Mycenae was emerging as a palatial power.

Evidence for autonomy includes, among other things, the discovery of clay tablets inscribed with Linear B, found during renewed excavations of the site under the direction of Dr. Kim Shelton. The majority of the tablets were found in a well deposit dating to the destruction of the house, which positions them among the earliest found on the Greek mainland. Some of the tablets have been preliminarily published, but several fragments have not yet been closely studied. Work on these documents will provide crucial evidence for the deployment of record keeping systems before the height of the palatial period and will better elucidate the multi-functional nature of the house.

Funding from MAT was used to conduct Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) of the inscribed tablets. RTI uses mathematical computations to define the topography of an object’s surface by simulating raking light at any angle. These enhanced images of the texts more clearly reveal traces of inscriptions as well as signs of possible erasures or reuse.

One of the photographs of Tablet MY X 3 (BE 31741) from Petsas House, Mycenae from the set of images used for RTI. Courtesy of Lynne A. Kvapil
Plan of Petsas House with Room Pi and the well where the documents were found highlighted in red. Courtesy of Kim Shelton

For more information, please contact Dr. Lynne A. Kvapil (Associate Professor of Classics, Butler University) at and see related work at or

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