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by Archaeology Newsroom

Ornaments applied to Bronze Age dress in Greece

One of the most informative aspects in the study of everyday life in a society of the past, is the way people dressed themselves and adorned their bodies and hair.In other words what we now call “fashion”. Such a broad subject cannot be covered in a few pages, therefore the present article will only consider the dress proper and the related ornaments attached to it, which were either used to decorate the dress or to fasten it on the body.

Dress ornaments, mostly found in Greek tombs of the Bronze Age can be classified in four groups on the basis of their function and mode of application:

a. fibulae and pins, which were used to fasten the dress on the shoulders,

b. rosettes, discs and cut-out reliefs, which were sewn on the dress as decorative elements,

c. gold bands and belt-ornaments, also sewn on various parts of the dress for decorative purposes.

While male attire consisted, in most cases, of a short skirt, the female Minoan and Mycenaean one was made up of three components, a wrap over fluted skirt, a bodice and a chemise, and was completed either by an apron, characteristic of the Minoan dress, or an inner bodice, typical of the Mycenaean garment. The combined study of the available archaeological data and the ethnographical material of ancient periods could enrich our knowledge of the everyday life of the past, especially that of women, for which other art forms, such as pottery, cannot supply sufficient information.