Mortuary variability in early iron age Cretan burials Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Eaby, Melissa Suzanne
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Classics
  • The Early Iron Age (c. 1200-700 B.C.) on Crete is a period of transition, comprising the years after the final collapse of the palatial system in Late Minoan IIIB up to the development of the polis, or city-state, by or during the Archaic period. Over the course of this period, significant changes occurred in settlement patterns, settlement forms, ritual contexts, and most strikingly, in burial practices. Early Iron Age burial practices varied extensively throughout the island, not only from region to region, but also often at a single site; for example, at least 12 distinct tomb types existed on Crete during this time, and both inhumation and cremation were used, as well as single and multiple burial. As part of this study, over 1200 tombs found in the vicinity of 122 modern villages or towns have been catalogued. An examination of the burial methods, architecture, assemblages, dates, and spatial contexts of these tombs and cemeteries provides significant new evidence regarding the extent of cultural diversity present on the island during this period. The funerary evidence clearly indicates that Crete was characterized by extensive regionalism during the Early Iron Age; seven distinct mortuary regions, as well as four transitional or ‘border’ zones, are identified from the funerary material. In addition, a regional examination of the burial practices provides new evidence regarding the changes in political organization and social structure which occurred on the island over the course of the period.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Haggis, Donald
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

This work has no parents.