Minoan Funerary Practices During the Bronze Age: With a Study on the Introduction of Cremation to Crete
Funerary practices , Minoan , Bronze Age , Cremation
The funerary practices on Crete during the Bronze Age are very diverse in nature. Tomb architecture in the Early Minoan period is characterized by regional variations. In the Middle Minoan and Late Minoan periods the regional variations, present in the Early Minoan period, are not as palpable due to the increased trade within the island that allowed for better circulation of ideas. With the introduction of the palaces there is a shift in the communal burials of the Early Minoan period that left commingled remains. The shift towards a more individualistic nature of burials in the Middle Minoan period saw the introduction and use of pithoi and larnakes to further divide the space within a tomb. The Late Minoan period is the height and fall of Minoan power on Crete. It is also a time when new people were arriving on Crete and this is reflected in the funerary remains. The introduction of cremation to Crete is a drastic change to the island where the main form of burial has been inhumation since the Early Minoan period. Cremation is first noted in areas that have strong trade connections. Cremation is commonly used in the Near East and I attempt to track its progression and appearance on Crete from the East. The Iliad is also consulted on the basis of plausibility for the funeral of Patroklos and the cremated remains that are found within the Mediterranean context during the Bronze Age.