Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


9 March 2016

Adornment, ritual and identity: Inscribed Minoan jewellery

Josephine Verduci & Brent Davis The Annual of the British School at Athens 110 (2015): 51-70


In this paper, we re-examine inscribed items of Minoan jewellery in the light of the increasing number of studies on ancient eastern Mediterranean jewellery and its meanings. We reach a fourfold conclusion. First: as these objects, with one exception, are clearly associated with adult females, while the exception (a ring) cannot be affiliated with a particular gender or age, inscribed Minoan jewellery seems so far to lie mostly outside the purview of men. Second: these objects were almost certainly used to construct and broadcast the elite identity (and perhaps authority) of the people who wore them. Third: the objects may also have served as apotropaic amulets and/or symbols of rites of passage for their wearers, thus expressing certain rituals associated with the lives of the people who wore them. Fourth: inscribed items of Minoan jewellery may have played an active role in linking elite Minoan (and particularly elite Minoan female) identity and authority to the divine.


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