Working Tools, Toilet Implements, and Personal Adornments in Weapon Burials at Early Iron Age Athens and Lefkandi

Anna Maria D’Onofrio

EIA burials with weapons at Athens and Lefkandi represent male elite burials and have drawn the attention of international scholarship.  With this study, I attempt to enrich the conventional archaeological picture with further references to the cultural background of the societies here under scrutiny, largely reverting to a comparative approach. The presence, in some of these burials, of working tools (axes, chisels, saws and awls) principally connected with carpentry, provokes the question of the relationship of the Hellenic evidence with that of the European koine of the period, where the hybridization of the system of symbols referring  to war and to carpentry spread in the cemeteries according to differentiated geographic models and culminated in the course of the 8th century BC with a new social asset determined by urban phenomenon. On the other hand, the rarer occurrences of toilet implements, such as razors and tweezers, and of a relevant series of personal adornments of various kind (especially pins, fibulae and rings, but exceptionally also earrings) points to the weapon bearers beautifying themselves, following an earlier Bronze Age tradition. Among the mortuary contexts examined, there is some evidence for sub-adult individuals who received the honor of the weapon ritual: an uncommon legged vase from Lefkandi as well as a unique bronze pin ending with a booted foot from Athens are discussed, examining the significance of this symbolism in connection with the male sphere and with adolescence. The analysis of the evidence, and the valorization of the particular items mentioned above found in association with weapons, leads to the tracing of multiple male identities, and shows the complexity of the social background behind what was once called the “warrior graves”.

Anna Maria D’Onofrio is Associate Professor in Classic Archaeology, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”.
Full Bibliographic Reference

D’Onofrio A.M. 2017, Working Tools, Toilet Implements, and Personal Adornments in Weapon Burials at Early Iron Age Athens and Lefkandi, SMEA NS 3, …

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Early Iron Age; Athens; Lefkandi; burials with weapons; tools