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FAH206H1 (19)
Chapter 21

Chapter 21: Christopher Mee - Death and Burial

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Carl Knappett

Wednesday February 112Prehistoric Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Art and ArchaeologyC KnappettChapter 21Christopher Mee Death and BurialNeolithic GreeceFuneral practices were already well developed before the start of the Neolithic period as evidenced by the cremation and burial at Franchthi caveNot very many neolithic graves excavatedIntramural burial within settlements was not common for adultsmost were infants or young childrenSecondary burial was a regular practice and are also occasionally present within settlementsSkulls at Alepotrypa were surrounded by circle of stonesDarkness of the cave heightened psychological impact of ritualsCremation is a more elaborate rite that requires a considerable amount of fuel so it is significant that no distinction seems to have been made regarding age or gender of the deceasedInhumation probably sot common practiceso where were most buriedGraves must have been quite shallow and have consequently been destroyed or disturbed by later activitiesPerhaps death was treated casuallyNeolithic society relatively egalitarian therefore burial practices not use to stress status distinctionsevidence of inequality in Late Neolithic periodSome communities did have complex ritual practices that they observed in both children and adults which may reflect a wider belief systemFunerals probably not as simple as they seemEarly Bronze AgeIn the final neolithic cemetery at Kephala on Keos the graves were built of stoneas a result dead had a much more visible presence and the trend was taken up elsewhere in the cycladesEarly Bronze Age cemeteries have ben excavated on most of the islandsGenerally consist of 1520 graves some larger like Chalandriana on Syros with more than 600Typical grave is a cista rectangular or trapezoidal stone lined pit covered by slabsDead buried in fetal legs bent upperhaps symbolicGraves reused presumably for another family memberRemains of previous would be moved aside though skull was left undisturbed usuallyIn some an extra floor was aded so the upper chamber could be used for burials and the lower chamber as an ossuaryMany without grave goods but may have had perishable goodsMost common grave good is pottery which signify the deads need for provisions in the afterlifeRazors for groomingWealth emphasized with metal or marble weapons jewelry and figurinespromoted position of family as wellOnce buried these items had been taken out of circulationintended as a reminder of status that the deceased had enjoyed in life and which was expected to continue even after deathMarble figurines are particularly impressive and underline the religious dimensions of the rituals that were performed at the funeral
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