ARCHONTIKO Giannitson West Cemetery - 2006
Tomb - Figurine - Tools/weapons - Dress and personal ornament - Wood - Metal - Cemetery - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
Type of Operation
Ministry of Culture (ΙΖ' ΕΠΚΑ)
Archontiko W cemetery. A. and P. Chrysostomou (ΙΖ' ΕΠΚΑ) report continuing excavation focused on the W slope of hill 69. Ninety-nine further tombs were excavated (35 EIA, 49 Ar and 15 Cl−EHel), plus an Ar dog burial, bringing the total discovered to 787 in an area of 0.8 ha and confirming a peak of wealth in the Ar period. Graves were arranged in family groups with pathways between them. EIA graves, mostly pits with or without cover slabs (plus some cists), contained single inhumations in extended position. 19 had no goods: the remainder mostly had pottery, with other items (iron knives, gold and bronze jewellery, and biconical clay spindle-whorls) being less common. Female burials were distinguished by jewellery and spindle whorls, but no particular items were characteristic of males or children. Among female burials, details are given of 4 adult burials and one child burial, all with 1−2 pots and 1−4 items of jewellery (mostly bronze with a little gold), plus shells and a spindle-whorl in individual cases. Among the 49 Ar graves (last quarter of the 6th Ct−480), of which 9 were robbed to some extent, 20 are male burials, 23 female and 6 not attributable. The dead were interred in extended, prone position, in wooden coffins: women’s heads were usually to the E (occasionally to the N or S, but never W), while men’s were usually to the W (occasionally to the N or S, but never E). Male graves contained mostly metalware, which allowed the distinction of classes of warrior as follows (noting also the report by A. and P. Chrysostomou of the 2006−2007 excavations in Eleutherotypia 06/03/2008). (1) Ten burials with iron spears, arrowheads, knives and a few other items of jewellery and pottery vessels (3 adult and 3 juvenile cases are presented in detail). (2) Six burials with an iron sword, 2 spearheads and a knife, plus a large number of other items such as pottery vessels (including Attic and Cor imports), a few terracotta figurines and bronze phialai, miniature iron furniture and jewellery, mainly bronze and iron rings and pins, and gold mouth-plates (3 cases are described in detail). (3) Tombs with all these items in greater quantity, plus a helmet (one also had a gold wreath and several also gold eye pieces). Tomb 546 (last quarter of the 6th Ct), for example, contained a bronze helmet, iron sword, 2 spearheads and a knife, a gold mouth-plate with repoussé decoration, a gold ring and 2 iron double pins, 3 iron curved objects, a bronze lebes and phiale, and 4 pottery vessels (2 local, a Cor exaleiptron and an Attic bf kylix). In tomb 587 (M6th Ct), partially robbed in the head area, surviving goods comprised a bronze helmet, iron sword, 2 spearheads and 3 iron knives, a gold mouth-plate with repoussé decoration, a ring, 2 rosettes and 11 mostly triangular sections of gold sheet decoration from a leather corselet and garments, miniature furniture and obeloi in iron, an iron hook, a bronze lebes and 2 phialai, 4 terracotta figurines and 4 vases (one local, 2 Attic and one Cor). Among the women’s graves, 6 examples (4 adult and 2 child) are described in detail. All contain large quantities of gold and bronze jewellery and ornaments (mouth-plates, rosettes, as well as necklaces, pins, rings and earrings), vases (local, with a few Cor and Ionian imports) and, in certain cases, also terracotta figurines, iron knives, miniature furniture).
In the context of discussion of Ar grave goods, one should also note the report in Eleutherotypia (06/03/2008), which focuses on the rich gold jewellery found especially in Ar graves (cf AR 50 [2003−2004], 44). As this indicates, by the end of the 2006−2007 excavation season, the overall total of tombs had reached 872 (227 EIA, 409 Ar, 229 Cl−EHel and 7 undated). In addition to gold dress ornaments and diadems, 3 cases of women wearing gold face masks are noted (with illustration). Impressed decoration included in one case, 4-pointed sun/stars over the eyes with omphaloi below and, on the rhomboid mouth cover, a winged animal in the middle, dolphins above and below, and an Ionian wave motif at the corners. The report reiterates the division of male burials into warrior classes, but notes a 4th class of exceptionally rich warriors with a full panoply of offensive and defensive weapons (shield, helmet, one or more swords, spearheads and knives) of whom 5 had gold face masks and silvered bronze shields and 2 others bronze shields. A number of warriors wore a type of Illyrian-Cor helmet decorated with gold bands and engraved decoration which is likely to come from the royal workshop.
Returning to the 2006 report, the 15 Cl−Hel pit tombs comprise 5 male and 8 female burials, plus 2 too disturbed to assign. Until the start of the 4th Ct, the orientation of the body followed Ar practice, but thereafter, women’s heads were consistently turned to the W and men’s to the E. Grave goods usually comprise one or more coins (of Macedon or the Thessalian cities) and at least one or 2 vases (amphorae, skyphoi, bolsals or lamps) among other items. Three male graves had iron spearheads and 5 others, silver, bronze and iron rings. Three tombs of the first phase of this period are described in detail. Thus, for example, a tomb of a small girl (grave 590, M5th Ct) contained a gold necklace, a pair of silver earrings, 4 silver bow fibulae with iron pins, an Attic type A skyphos and a composite ritual vessel. Two male graves each contained one vase, 2 iron spearheads and 2 items of jewellery (in each case a bronze ring with stamped decoration, showing the first part of Aesop’s fable of the fox and the stork and a maenad respectively) − in addition, one had a coin. Four representative examples from the latter part of the period (2 male and 2 female) are discussed, showing a similar range of goods.
A. and P. Chrysostomou. AEMTh 20 (2006), 703−12; Eleutherotypia 06/03/2008 AD 61 (2006), B2, p. 869-873.
Date of creation