Παιδικές ταφές στη μυκηναϊκή ΕλλάδαPart of : Αρχαιολογικόν δελτίον ; Vol.42, 1987, pages 8-29
Child burials in mycenaen Greece
Although child burials have been found in nearly all the Mycenaean cemeteries, they have been treated incidentally and, as a rule, summarily. The basic deficiencies of the existing material are due to the poor preservation of the children’s skeletons and to insufficient available evidence.During the Mycenaean period most children were buried in organized cemeteries, usually in family graves, but also in individual graves of every known type, including, more rarely, pots. Children’s graves are also found in settlements, mainly in the Early and Late Mycenaean periods; the explanation for the choice of such a location for burial remains conjectural.In many cases a special construction and arrangement of the place are found, for the protection or display of the child’s remains. Particular care was often taken over the floor and the covering of the grave, and in rarer instances larnakes were used.Children’s burials were either poorly, adequately or richly provided with grave goods, or with none at all. The kinds of grave goods that accompanied them were similar to those of adults. However, feeding-bottles, bird-shaped askoi, figurines and, probably, sea shells appear to have been typical children’s grave goods. It would seem from the existing evidence that the burial of children followed the same ritual and established customs as that of adults, but at the same time they often convey an intense and moving picture of grief.The factors that determined the character of child burials over the greater part of the Greek mainland in the Late Bronze Age must be sought for in the resources and status of the family in society, other factors being the child’s age and sex, the level of infant mortality, the fear of the family dying out and in natural parental tenderness. These feelings in particular and the notions more generally of the Mycenaeans about death are expressed in many instances by the distinctive care of these burials from the Early Mycenaean period, and even earlier, to the end of the Bronze Age.
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