The more substantial remains of later periods have largely effaced prehistoric settlement evidence, apart from subterranean features like tombs and wells. The distribution of these suggests that there was a nucleus of habitation on and around the Acropolis, particularly to its south, and a wider spread of hamlets and farms. The settlement's earlier history is obscure, but it clearly became one of the more significant Mycenaean centres (see mycenaean civilization), as indicated by wealthy 14th-cent. bce tombs and the later 13th cent. bce fortification and water-supply system on the Acropolis. Twelfth-cent. remains are scanty, but cemetery evidence indicates a wide spread of communities, mostly small, by the Submycenaean phase; overall, the evidence offers no support for the theory that Athens attracted large ‘refugee’ groups.
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