Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


15 April 2010

The ownership of hard stone seals with the motif of a pair of recumbent bovines from the Late Bronze Age Greek mainland: A contextual approach

E. Drakaki Aegean Archaeology 8 (2005-2006) [2009]: 81-93.


Hard stone seals with the motif of a pair of side-to-side recumbent bovines form one of the most recognizable groups of Late Bronze Age Aegean glyptic. In an attempt to shed some light on aspects of their ownership, this paper examines in detail the contextual associations of a small corpus of these seals from eight Late Bronze Age burials and burial assemblages of the Greek mainland. This examination concludes that the majority of these seals were favored by a small group of elite individuals interred in large tholos and chamber tombs at key sites of the Mycenaean heartland. Their burials are of martial character or replicate certain features of Cretan and Greek mainland ‘warrior burials’; most of them date to the LH IIB –IIIA1 period, the time of the presumed Mycenaeanization of Crete, whereas the few of later date are furnished with objects that might have been acquired in LH IIIA1 or have originated from LM IIIA1 Crete. It is suggested that perhaps the Mycenaeans became familiar with this class of seals during LM II/LH IIB– IIIA1; following the example of the Cretan elites before them, they adopted them as high status emblems and probably tokens of their participation in or involvement with contemporary Cretan affairs.


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