Demography and burial exclusion in Mycenaean Achaia, Greece
Olivia A. Jones Journal of Greek Archaeology 3 (2018): 75-93
The Late Bronze Age period in Greece, known as the Mycenaean period, has been an influential research topic in Greek archaeology since the excavations at Mycenae by Heinrich Schliemann in the late 19th century. The mortuary record in particular, with exceptional contexts such as the Shaft Graves filled with golden funerary masks, and the elaborately constructed beehive stone-built tholos tombs (pl. tholoi), have encouraged discussions of conspicuous consumption and shifts of power in early Mycenaean (MH III-LH I) Greece. During the preceding Middle Helladic period, the majority of burials were simple intramural inhumations in pit or cist graves with few grave goods. In contrast, the early Mycenaean period is marked by the adoption of burial within extramural rock-cut chamber tombs, or built tholoi. These tombs were designed for reuse and multiple burials, sometimes involving post-mortem manipulation of human remains. Skeletal remains are found in burial deposits including disarticulated commingled piles or pits (termed non-primary burials in this article) or individuals found in articulation during excavation (termed primary burials in this article). While the grave goods and tomb architecture have been a traditional area of Mycenaean research, the mortuary practices that have created the burial deposits have only recently garnered much-needed attention.