This thesis constitutes an attempt to approach and interpret a Prepalatial tholos tomb, Tholos Γ at the cemetery of Phourni, in Archanes, Crete, and Prepalatial mortuary practices in general, within the conceptual framework and the theoretical developments of the archaeology of death. The study follows four main stages.
The first is the study of the evidence from Tholos Γ (presented in more detail in the Appendices of Volume 2), which allows the reconstruction of the entire history of the tomb, from its construction until its excavation. Thus, Tholos Γ, apart from being one of the very few well excavated and unlooted Prepalatial tombs, becomes the only tomb the history of which can be followed in relative detail. In the second stage, a synthesis of the existing theoretical approaches to the mortuary archaeological record is attempted, and the problems, potentials, advantages and significance of the archaeology of death are examined. The theoretical framework within which we approach Prepalatial mortuary practices is also presented. The third step is a description and discussion of the mortuary practices of Tholos Γ and other Prepalatial cemeteries, and particular emphasis is given to variations, differences and changes through time and space.
The evidence presented and the conclusions made in the first three stages are used in the final stage of analysis, where an attempt is made to reconstruct the mortuary beliefs, and the horizontal and vertical organisation of Prepalatial society on the basis of the available mortuary evidence. Concerning the last two topics, we also discuss the Cycladic character of the Tholos Γ assemblage, and, more generally, the character of Creto-Cycladic relations during the early Prepalatial period.
At the end of the thesis conclusions are made on the basis of what was discussed before, and possible issues for future research are investigated.
Minoan Archaeology, Prepalatial Crete, Early Minoan, Archaeology of Death, Mortuary Practices