Construction Practices, Space, and Sociocultural Identity in the Koan Burial Arena during the Mycenaean Palatial and Postpalatial Periods
This chapter investigates burial practices and cultural identity at the cemetery of Langada on Kos and discusses the evidence for diachronic changes in the context of Koan Late Bronze Age society. More specifically, through an in-depth study of excavation data, this contribution reconsiders three significant aspects of the Langada burial arena. The first one concerns tomb type, size, shape, and spatial distribution. The second and the third aspects concern, respectively, evidence for tomb reuse and mortuary treatments. The analysis of these features is used to compare burial practices, characterize societal structure, and better understand cultural developments. The results of this research imply that the gradual formation of a Mycenaean identity on Kos was the outcome of a long-term process of integration between Greek mainland and local funerary traditions, which came to fruition during Late Helladic IIIA2 and Late Helladic IIIB. During these phases, Mycenaean identity functioned to bind a well-organized Koan society. In the successive Late Helladic IIIC period, on the other hand, the identification of greater variability in material evidence and burial practices suggests that, while Mycenaean culture remained important, Koan society had a more fluid character and a looser structure.
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