Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 March 2010

Mycenae revisited part 1. The human remains from Grave Circle A: Stamatakis, Schliemann and two new faces from Shaft Grave VI

L. Papazoglou-Manioudaki, A. Nafplioti, J.H. Musgrave, R.A.H. Neave, D. Smith & A.J.N.W. Prag The Annual of the British School at Athens 104 (2009) [February 2010]: 233-277.


Building work at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens in 2003 led to the rediscovery of the two male skeletons from Shaft Grave VI at Mycenae, found by Panayiotis Stamatakis in 1877 as he completed the excavation of Grave Circle A begun by Schliemann. The find provided a triple opportunity. First came a reassessment of Stamatakis’s important and often pioneering role both at Mycenae and in the archaeology of the later Bronze Age, which has generally been overlooked both because of Schliemann’s very vocal antagonism and because of his own overwork and early death. Second, a detailed study of the skulls along with the post-cranial bones allowed a reconstruction of the faces of the two men to set beside the earlier reconstructions of the faces of seven individuals from Grave Circle B. This showed that although the two men were very likely related to each other, one could not demonstrate kinship with any of the seven faces from Circle B on the basis of their facial appearance alone. Finally – to be described in subsequent articles – it opened the way for the first modern morphological and chemical analysis (using strontium isotope ratios) of the entire collection of surviving human skeletal material from Grave Circle A to determine the number of individuals represented, their biological sex and their age at death. By assessing the quality of their living conditions as reflected in their skeletal and dental health, and by exploring skeletal evidence of engagement in physical activities through activity-related modifications there was the opportunity to reconstruct the lifestyle of the men and women buried in the grave circle.


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