The Acropolis was first excavated by the German scholar Friedrich Thiersch in 1831. In 1876, Heinrich Schliemann considered the palace of Tiryns to be medieval so he came very close to destroying the remains to excavate deeper for Mycenaean treasures. However, the next period of excavation was under Wilhelm Dörpfeld, a director of the German Archaeological Institute; this time, the ruins were estimated properly.
The excavations were repeated later by Dörpfeld with the cooperation of other German archaeologists, who continued his work until 1938. After World War II (1939–1945), the work was continued by the Institute and the Greek Archaeological Service.
The walls extend to the entire area of the top of the hill. Their bases survive throughout all of their length, and their height in some places reaching 7 meters, slightly below the original height, which is estimated at 9,10 m. The walls are quite thick, usually 6 meters, while at the points that are opened the famous tunnels up to 17 m. A strong transverse wall separates the acropolis into two sections -the south includes the palatial buildings, while the northern protects only the top of the hill area. In this second section, which dates to the end of the Mycenaean era, small gates and many tunnels occasionally open, covered with a triangular roof, which served as a refuge for the inhabitants of the lower city in times of danger.
The entrance of the citadel has always been on the east side, but had a different position and form in each of the three construction phases. In the second phase the gate had the form of the Lion Gate of Mycenae. Left there was a tower and to the right was the arm of the wall, so the gate was well protected, since the attackers were forced to cross a very narrow corridor, while the defense could hit them from above and from both sides. In the third phase the gate was moved further out. The palace of the king, inside the citadel, similar to that of Mycenae, dimensions 11.80 x 9.80 m, consists of three areas: the outer portico with the two columns, the prodomos (anteroom) and the Domos (main room) with the cyclical fireplace that was surrounded by 4 wooden columns. The lateral compartments of the palace seems to have a second floor.
Rich was the decoration of the walls of the outer arcade. They had a zone at the bottom of alabaster slabs with relief rosettes and flowers. The rest was decorated with frescos. Three doors lead to prodomos and then another to Domos. In the middle of the eastern wall is visible in the floor the place that corresponded to the royal throne. The floor was richly decorated with different themes in the area around the walls and the space between the columns of the fireplace. Of course, here the walls were decorated with paintings.
In the ruins of the mansion, which burned during the 8th century BCE, a Doric temple was built during the Geometrical period. Smaller than the mansion, it consisted of two parts, the prodomos and the cella. The width of the temple was just greater than half that of the mansion, while the back wall of the temple reached the height of the rear columns of the fireplace. Three springs fed into the compound, one in the western side of the large courtyard which could be accessed by a secret entrance, and two at the end of north side of the wall, accessed via two tunnels in the wall. These and similar such structures found in other shelters are witnesses to the care which was taken here, as in other Mycenaean acropolises, to the basic problem of water access in a time of siege.