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by Archaeology Newsroom

Burial customs in continental Greece in the Middle Bronze Age

Death and burial are marked by various customs expressed through speech and action. Archaeology deals with the visual segment of burial customs such as formation of the site, mode of burial, preparation of the dead etc. The burial customs used in a society bear witness to its structure. Since, however, the relevant testimonies from the Bronze Age are scarce, the unanswered questions are many. Man, since early times had faced the problem of the burial of his companions urgent due both to the deterioration of the human body and its natural consequences, that is illness, epidemics etc. At first he dug pits, while later he prepared better constructions. During the Bronze Age there is a clear tendency for locating the tombs away from the settlements and gathering them in a cemetery. Rare proof of the existence of cemeteries date from the Mid-Neolithic period, while organized cemeteries appear from the Bronze Age onwards. During this period, the bodies are mainly placed in a foetal position and the graves range from the common pit to the box-shaped grave and the theke. The graves are often marked with artificial low hills forming tombs. The burial offerings accompanying the dead man signify his way of life and the society he belonged to and consist mainly of objects of everyday use, identical with those excavated in nearby settlements.