Grave Reminders: Comparing Mycenaean tomb building with labour and memory [Paperback]

Daniel R. Turner (Author)

ISBN: 9789088909832 | Published by: Sidestone Press | Year of Publication: 2020 | Language: English 330p, H254 x W178 (mm) 36fc/110bw

Other Formats

Hardback - ISBN: 9789088909849 - £ 135.00

Grave Reminders


From ca. 1600 – 1000 BC, builders across southern Greece crafted thousands of rock-cut chamber tombs similar to earlier and contemporary ‘beehive’ tholos tombs. Both tomb styles were designed with multiple uses in mind, filling with the remains of funerals forgotten over generations of reuse. In rare cases, the tombs were used once or seemingly not at all, cleaned thoroughly or sealed and abandoned entirely. Rather than focus on the missing or muddled record of funeral and post-funeral activities, this book re-examines Mycenaean tomb architecture and the decisions that guided it.

From minimalistic to monumental, builders designed tombs with forethought to how commissioners and witnesses would react and remember them. Patterns suggest that memories of what tombs should look like heavily influenced new construction toward recurring shapes and appropriate scales. The wider debates over cost from ‘architectural energetics’ and perception in Aegean mortuary behaviour are thus revisited. Both can find common purpose in labour measured through a relative index and collective memory – how labourers and patrons saw their work. That metric for comparison lies within a median standard: in this instance, tombs expressed in terms of correlative shape and simple labour investment of the earth and rock moved to create them. This was accomplished here through photogrammetric modelling of 94 multi-use tombs in Achaea and Attica, verifying a cost-effective alternative for local authorities warding off information loss through site destruction from looting and earthquakes. Since most labour models suggest the tombs were not burdensome, commissioners held extravagant building in check by weighing the social risks and rewards of standing out from the crowd.

Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgements List of Figures List of Tables Chapter 1. Introduction 1.1. Place and purpose 1.2. Case studies and reasoning 1.3. Advancing objectives: comparative labour and grave reminders 1.4. Forecast: from catalogue blueprints to transient experience Chapter 2. Setting 2.1. Mycenaean tomb development 2.2. The rock canvas 2.2.1. Physiography of southern Greece 2.2.2. Soil mechanics and risks 2.3. Sponsor’s gamble 2.3.1. Costly signalling with tombs 2.3.2. Risks of investment: the expected standard 2.3.3. Cost and altruism in cooperative labour 2.4. Summary Chapter 3. Artists at work: perspectives and logistics in cooperative building 3.1. Construction planning and alignment 3.2. Further projections on time constraints 3.3. Tracking progress from household to cooperative labour 3.3.1. Preindustrial construction logistics § Planning and guidance § Support § Gendered work § Scheduling § Mechanics 3.3.2. Labour rates § Procurement § Transport § Placement § Reuse 3.4. Measuring success 3.4.1. Modelling tombs with photogrammetry § Alternate data collection 3.4.2. Finding sameness with Euclidean distance § AA01 standard and the Tomb Relative Index (TRex) 3.5. Summary Chapter 4. A labour catalogue with multi-use tombs 4.1. Menidi 4.2. Portes 4.3. Voudeni 4.4. Summary Chapter 5. Reminders 5.1. Building legacy in the early LH 5.2. End-stage from LH IIIC Achaea 5.3. Interpreting tomb scale and sameness 5.4. Labouring toward forgetting 5.5. Concluding summary References Cited Appendix 1. Labour rates Appendix 2. Other tombs Appendix 3. Digital collection of excess tomb models

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