Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


Friday, 27 January 2017, 19:00

Funerary landscapes in Middle Helladic and Early Mycenaean Central Greece: an update

Swedish Institute at Athens (Mitseon 9, Athens)

Exploring funerary landscapes is essential to understand cultural and social changes that took place on the Greek Mainland from the Middle Helladic to the Late Helladic period. The shaft graves at Mycenae and the tholos tombs in Messenia have mainly focused attention on the Peloponnese. However, in Central Greece, significant changes have also occurred in funerary landscapes and burial customs from the late MH period onwards.

The present lecture focuses on a series of burial places (cemeteries, grave plots, single isolated graves), which were included in my research on the emergence of the Mycenaean civilization in central Greece (Phialon 2011), and their distribution within Boeotia, Phocis and Phthiotis as well as Euboea and Attica during the MH period and LH I-III A1 phases. Individual simple graves were predominant during the major part of the MH period and have been mostly discovered in settlements. A gradual move to successive burials may have already started at the end of this period, but a first clear trend of burying dead regularly far from the settlements is attested only later in LH IIA. The use of chamber tombs, as in Thebes, and tholos tombs, as in Thorikos in this phase constitutes an undeniable milestone in the construction of Mycenaean funerary landscapes in central Greece.

This lecture proposes also to complete data on funerary landscapes, and possibly to re-date some graves, in the light of the last publications of major sites like Eleusis and on-going researches on other sites, such as Krisa. This update of funerary evidence is finally the opportunity to evaluate once again territorial networks and socio-cultural identities in early Mycenaean central Greece.


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