Mycenean pottery is an easily recognized type which originated in mainland Greece and was found all over the Aegean, as well as in Egypt and the eastern Mediterranean coasts. It is subdivided into Mycenean I, II and III. Mycenean I and II are characteristic of 16th and 15th-century B.C. sites.
The Mycenean III type serves as evidence—nearly the only firm testimony available to archaeologists—for absolute dating of strata to the 14th and 13th centuries B.C. A great quantity of Mycenean III pottery was discovered in the short-lived city of el-Amarna in Middle Egypt. Artifacts discovered there are of tremendous importance because they can be absolutely dated to the reign of Amenophis IV (1,364–47 B.C.); the fact that a certain type of Mycenean III pottery, primarily III A, was discovered at el-Amarna makes it a sure peg for absolute chronology throughout the Near East. Another type, Mycenean III B, is associated at Egyptian archaeological sites and other places with the second third of the 13th century B.C., or roughly with the reign of Ramses II.—Ed.