MYCENAEAN BURIALS Bronze Age Burials:Greece MYCENAEAN BURIALS • Enduring Understanding: The Mycenaeans were a religious people and had great respect for their dead. They took time and care to provide their dead with proper burials. Evidence from these burials reveals a form of class structure in Mycenae. MYCENAEAN BURIALS • Introduction: – History – Grave Circles • Shaft Burials • Cist Burials – Tholos Tombs – Chamber Tombs MYCENAEAN BURIALS • History: – Toward end of Bronze Age there was growth in prosperity and wealth. • Proof: burial goods – Greatest expansion took place at Mycenae from 1600-1200 BC, the period of the Warrior Kings. – Within Mycenae were two grave sites: called grave circles. MYCENAEAN BURIALS • GRAVE CIRCLES: – – – – – Found and dug up by Schliemann. Two grave circles found: Grave Circle A and B. Grave circle B is older than A. Cist Grave: simple box built of stone slabs Shaft Grave: deeper and larger than a cist grave, lower sides lined with stone and wood beams placed across top of walls to form a roof. Covered with stone slabs then earth. MYCENAEN BURIALS • Grave Circle A: – Lies directly inside and to right of Lion Gate entrance. – 6 shaft graves: 19 bodies: 9 men, 8 women, 2 kids. – Considered Royal graves because of how they were buried and what they were buried with. – In 5 of these, Schliemann discovered embalmed bodies and lots of grave goods. MYCENAEAN BURIALS • GRAVE CIRCLE A: – It was girded by a double wall, the middle of which was filled with rubble.Limestone slabs were then placed on top. MYCENAEAN BURIALS • GRAVE CIRCLE A: GRAVE CIRCLE A DISCOVERIES Both items were found in Grave IV. Both inspired by Minoan art. Both are from the 16th BC. Both are ritual vessels. Gold Lion’s Head Rhyton Silver Bull’s Head Rhyton with gold horns GRAVE CIRCLE A DISCOVERIES Grave Masks: The mask of Agamemnon – Named by Schliemann, he thought he was looking at the grave mask of the great king. – The mask came from Grave IV. – He is beardless. – Made with gold plating pounded over wood mold. – Very few wore these. Strictly funeral masks. Another mask Mask of Agamemnon: shaft grave 5 GRAVE CIRCLE A DISCOVERIES • Daggers: These are bronze daggers. Inlaid with gold and silver. The scene is a hunt. GRAVE CIRCLE A DISCOVERIES • Gold: Gold crown Part of a warriors protection Gold medallions GRAVE CIRCLE A DISCOVERIES • Other goods from Grave Circle A: – – – – – Gold cups, vessels, rings Faience jars Silver vessels Bronze vessels Pottery (lots) • These graves show the wealth of Mycenae at this time (1400-1200). GRAVE CIRCLE A DISOVERIES • Jewelry: Gold Ring: top GRAVE CIRCLE A • Aerial View: MYCENAEAN BURIALS • GRAVE CIRCLE B: – Lies 130 meters west of Lion’s Gate. – Not within walls as A is. – Circle is 28 meters across and contains more cist than shaft graves. – Dates: 1625-1520 BC. – 16 men, 6 women, 2 kids. – Earlier than Grave Circle A. – Reflect a society not as wealthy as in Grave Circle A. – Still, there are very nice grave goods. GRAVE CIRCLE B • This circle is beyond the citadel walls. It is where the graves of the earliest kings of Mycenae and their families are found. It dates to 1650- 1550 BC. • They were enclosed by a low circular wall about 28 meters in diameter. The circle partly underlay a later tholos tomb, known as the Tomb of Klytemnestra, and was discovered in the course of restoration work to it in 1951. • Only a small segment and a few stones of the encircling wall have survived In part this is due to the construction of the Tomb of Klytemnestra • but most of the destruction resulted from the building of the modern road to the site. • It was a double wall of roughly cut stone slabs with a fill of earth and smaller stones. GRAVE CIRCLE B • Plan: GRAVE CIRCLE B • The small cemetery contained 10 small cist graves, with little evidence of wealth or status. • The rest of the graves, 14 in all, shaft graves. Often containing more than one burial. They were much richer too. GRAVE CIRCLE B • The Shaft Graves are rectangular and anywhere up to 4 meters deep. • The lower sections of the side walls were shored up with masonry or brickwork forming a ledge a meter or so up. This was used to support a roof which was made of either timber beams or flagstones. • The rest of the shaft was filled with dirt forming a small mound at the top. • Finally, some sort of marker— usually a carved stele — was erected on top. All of this, of course, had to be removed to permit the interment of additional bodies. GRAVE CIRCLE B • The bodies were laid out, normally extended and on their backs, on a bed of pebbles at the bottom of the shaft. • They were decked out in all of their finery, their robes decorated with gold ornaments and wearing their best jewelry. • Grave goods: pottery, weapons, masks, vase of rock crystal carved in shape of duck. • Overall, grave goods of less quality (less wealth) than Grave Circle A. But it does represent an increase over pervious periods. GRAVE CIRCLE B • DUCK VASE: GRAVE CIRCLE B • A BURIAL: Grave goods skeleton Grave goods GRAVE CIRCLE B • Burial Mycenaean Burials • THOLOS TOMBS: – Consists of a circular subterranean burial chamber called a thalamos. – Roofed by a corbelled vault. – Approached by an entrance passage or dromos. This narrows as one approaches the doorway or stomion. Doorway is of monumental proportions. – The burial chamber is built out of stone not hewed from bedrock. – Usually they are set into hillsides. (subterranean). – Burial could either be on floor, pit, shaft, cist. – Reserved for wealthy/powerful. Mycenaean Burials • Tholos Tomb: Mycenaean Burials • THOLOS TOMBS: 3 groups. – Group 1: • • • • • • • Diameters: from 8 –13 meters. Total number: 3 No cut stone employed. No blocking wall at end of dromos. Larger stones in door jambs. No relieving triangle above lintel. No walls line the dromos (except in the tomb of Aegisthus) Mycenaean Burials • Group 1: Tomb of Aegisthus Mycenaean Burials • GROUP 2: – Diameters: 8-14 meters. – Dromoi: lined with mix of hard limestone and porus ashlar. – Blocking wall at end of dromos. – Relieving triangle above lintel – Lion Tomb is an example of this group. Mycenaean Burials • Lion Tomb (Group 2) Mycenaean Burials • Group 3: – Diameters: 8.4-14.5 meters – Dromoi lined with ashlar masonry – Tomb chambers constructed of ashlar conglomerate masonry – Relieving triangles above lintel. – Ex. Treasury of Atreus and Tomb of Clytemnestra. Mycenaean Burials • Treasury of Atreus: Mycenaean Burials • Treasury of Atreus: Mycenaean Burials • Tomb of Clytemnestra: Mycenaean Burials • Chamber Tombs: – Look somewhat similar to Tholos tombs but smaller, cheaply made. – For use by “everyday” people. – Used by entire families. Mycenaean Burials • Essential Questions: • How do you know the Mycenaeans had respect for their dead? • What were the different ways in which Mycenaeans buried their dead? • How can you tell from their burial practices that the Mycenaeans had a society based on some form of class system?