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Towards a social bioarchaeology of the Mycenaean period: A multi-disciplinary analysis of funerary remains from the Late Helladic chamber tomb cemetery of Voudeni, Achaea, Greece.

Moutafi, Ioanna (2015) Towards a social bioarchaeology of the Mycenaean period: A multi-disciplinary analysis of funerary remains from the Late Helladic chamber tomb cemetery of Voudeni, Achaea, Greece. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This research seeks to develop a holistic bioarchaeological approach to the social dimensions of Mycenaean mortuary practice, with special reference to the treatment of the dead body, through the multi-dimensional analysis of human skeletal remains and contextual mortuary data from Voudeni, an important Late Mycenaean (1400-1050 BC) chamber tomb cemetery in Achaea, Greece. This approach aspires to transcend unproductive cross-disciplinary divisions, advocating the integration of theory and multi-faceted bio-cultural evidence, specifically addressing theoretical and methodological issues in the analysis of commingled skeletal remains. It proposes that the most effective route to explore social aspects in mortuary data is through an emic understanding of historically situated actions and experiences, both of the living actors, the mourners, and of the dead themselves. Human skeletal remains are the primary strand of evidence, both as the object of the acts of the living and the subject of their own lived experiences. The research is presented in successive stages: a) building a solid theoretical and methodological framework, b) presenting the sample and detailed osteological results, c) exploring the relationships of intersecting variables in bio-cultural mortuary data across socio-temporal parameters (with special emphasis on the distinction between the palatial LHIIIA-B and the transitional post-palatial LHIIIC period), and d) final synthesis, aiming to shed new light on questions pertaining to changing social conditions in Achaea and general issues in current Mycenaean mortuary research. These include: tomb re-use; form, diversity, sequence and frequency of mortuary activities; mortality profiles; differential inclusion/visibility and funerary treatment of social groups or different identities; changes in treatment of the dead body reflecting shifts in notions of the self and of social relationships. It was shown that the complex interaction between changing social conditions and mortuary practice was reflected in subtle emphasis shifts in the post-mortem treatment of bodies and bones rather than in blatant radical changes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: bioarchaeology, Mycenaean, funerary, mortuary practices, cemetery, human skeletal, osteology, chamber tomb, Aegean, body treatment, palaeodemography, Helladic period, Voudeni, Achaea, Greece, archaeology, burial, commingled remains, commingling
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Archaeology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Ioanna Moutafi
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2015 10:56
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 14:19
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9489

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