Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 March 2018

Working tools, toilet implements, and personal adornments in weapon burials at Early Iron Age Athens and Lefkandi

Anna Maria D’onofrio Studi Micenei 3 (2017): 27-52

In this article, an attempt is made to enrich the conventional archaeological picture of the much-discussed Early Iron Age (EIA) weapon burials at Athens and Lefkandi, largely reverting to a comparative approach. The presence in some of these burials of working tools that can be connected with carpentry, raises the question of the relationship of the Greek evidence with that of the European koine of the period, where the hybridization of the system of symbols referring to war and to carpentry spread in the cemeteries according to differentiated geographic models, and culminated in the course of the 8th century BC, in parallel with the emerging of a new social order determined by the urban phenomenon.

On the other hand, the occurrences of toilet implements, and personal adornments of various kinds point to the weapon bearers beautifying themselves, following an earlier Bronze Age tradition. In the mortuary contexts examined here, there is some evidence for sub-adult individuals receiving the honour of the weapon ritual: an uncommon legged vessel from Lefkandi as well as a unique bronze pin ending with a booted foot from Athens are discussed, to uncover the significance of this symbolism in connection with the male sphere and with adolescence. The analysis of the evidence, and the valorisation of objects rather neglected until now, led to the tracing of multiple male identities, and shows the complexity of the social background behind what was once called ‘warrior graves’.


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