Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


14 October 2012

Celebrating with the dead: strategies of memory in the communities of Prepalatial Crete (in Greek)

Γιάννης Παπαδάτος in Μπουραζέλης, Κ., Καραμανωλάκης, Β. & Κατάκης, Σ. (eds), Ιστορήματα 3: Η μνήμη της κοινότητας και η διαχείρισή της (Αθήνα 2011): 69-89.


Aim of this paper is to discuss the rich funerary evidence from Prepalatial Crete (c. 3000-1900 BC) with reference to the way the societies of that period constructed and maintained ancestral memory. It is argued that a large part of the relevant archaeological evidence belongs to memory rituals reffering to the collective corpus of the ancestors, rather than to funerary rituals of particular dead individuals. Several alternative suggestions are discussed in order to to explain the reasons why ancestors were particularly important for the life and well-being of the Prepalatial Cretan communities. Finally, it is argued that the Prepalatial cemeteries, consisting of monumemtal collective tombs, built above ground and used for several centuries by large groups of people were not simple depositories for the dead people of the contemporary communities. Instead, the constituted eternal landmarks, predestined to last for centuries as residences of the ancestors and as places in which the surrounding living communities constructed, maintained, controlled and transmitted one of the most important categories of collective social memory, that of the ancestors.


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