Πέμπτη 8 Απριλίου 2010

Μυκηναϊκοί Τάφοι ανακαλύφθηκαν στη Νεμέα / Mycenaean tombs discovered in Nemea, Greece

Πέντε μυκηναϊκούς θαλαμωτούς τάφους που χρονολογούνται μεταξύ 1350-1200 π.Χ. και τα λείψανα 21 ανθρώπων ανακάλυψαν αρχαιολόγοι στο νεκροταφείο της Αγίας Σωτήρας στη Νεμέα.

Στις ανασκαφές εξέτασαν τα οστά των νεκρών (ανάμεσά τους και μια μεγάλη οικογένεια που αποτελείτο από δύο άντρες, μία γυναίκα και δύο παιδιά), οι οποίοι πιθανότατα προέρχονταν από τον μυκηναϊκό οικισμό της Τσούγκιζας που βρίσκεται πολύ κοντά στην αρχαία πόλη των Μυκηνών, όπως συμπεραίνει η αρχαιολογική ομάδα.

Ωστόσο, δεν είναι εφικτή η εξέταση DNA καθώς τα οστά τους δεν είναι καλά διατηρημένα. Στους τάφους βρέθηκαν ακόμη κομμάτια οψιανού και θραύσματα πυριτόλιθου, που χρησίμευαν για την τελετή της ανακομιδής.

Αυτό που εξέπληξε τους αρχαιολόγους ήταν η παντελής έλλειψη κτερισμάτων χρυσού και αργύρου, γεγονός αξιοπερίεργο για τον μυκηναϊκό πολιτισμό που είναι πασίγνωστος για τα πλούσια ταφικά έθιμά του.

Τα κτερίσματα ήταν αρκετά σεμνά - αλαβάστρινα αγγεία, γυάλινες χάντρες κλπ. Κατόπιν τούτου κατέληξαν σε συμπεράσματα είτε ότι οι τάφοι έπεσαν θύματα αρχαιοκαπηλίας είτε ότι δεν έχουν εντοπιστεί ακόμα οι τάφοι των πλουσίων.

Τρίτη πρόταση του καθηγητή Ανγκους Σμιθ (Angus Smith) του Πανεπιστημίου Μπροκ (Brock University) του Καναδά είναι ότι αυτοί οι άνθρωποι ζούσαν σε αταξική κοινωνία.

English version
A team of archaeologists have unearthed five chamber tombs at Ayia Sotira, a cemetery in the Nemea Valley in Greece, just a few hours walk from the ancient city of Mycenae. The tombs date from 1350 – 1200 B.C., the era in which Mycenae thrived as a major centre of Greek civilization.

They contain the remains of 21 individuals who probably came from Tsoungiza, an agricultural settlement close to the ancient city. Despite the significant human remains, however, the team have found no evidence of elite burials, prompting speculation that Tsoungiza may have been an egalitarian society without leaders.

The team excavated the five tombs between 2006 and 2008, containing the skeletal remains of 21 individuals, including what appears to be an extended family made up of two men, one woman and two young children. Detailed analysis of the remains will be difficult to carry out as they are generally poorly preserved. The team have been advised by scientists that DNA analysis will not be possible, but it is hoped that analysis will reveal further information about the diet of the individuals.

The team also discovered pieces of obsidian and flint debris in the tombs, and believe that these tools would have been used to cut up bodies as part of ‘secondary burial’ procedures - a funerary practice that was not uncommon in the ancient world. Professor Angus Smith, of Brock University in Canada, is one of the directors of the excavation project. He explained: ''You bury somebody, then you wait for that person to decompose, then you go back into the tomb or grave and you collect the bones after all the flesh has decomposed''.

The team were surprised to find a lack of burial goods in the tombs. The Mycenaean civilization is known for its rich elite burials, but the goods found at Ayia Sotira were modest. They included alabaster pots, bowls, jugs, faïence and glass beads, and a female Psi figurine (one of three styles typical of Mycenae). After water-sieving the remains, they also found stone micro beads that were no bigger than a millimetre in size. One tomb contained 462 of these beads stowed in a side-chamber, and are thought to be the remains of a necklace.

There were no findings of the gold or silver artefacts expected in an elite burial, although they did find fragments of a conical rhyton, a two-hole vessel that can be used for libation rituals and is often associated with elite burials.

Professor Smith described the tomb complex as having a ''distinctly different character to those around Mycenae. The wealthy and very wealthy tombs are missing''.

One explanation could be that the elite tombs were looted, either in ancient times or more recently. When the team arrived at Ayia Sotira, they found 'probe holes' that had been dug into the ground by looters searching for airways. Another possibility is that the elite tombs at Ayia Sotira just haven’t been discovered yet.

A third possibility is that these people lived in a classless society, that despite being close to a rich city, the people of this settlement, for whatever reason, had no elites. ''It does seem to be a community of agriculturalists who don’t seem to have a clear leader or clear elite mixed in amongst them'', said Professor Smith. ''Were they governed by the palace at Mycenae which sort of oversaw them? Or were they removed enough that they had their own system of politics and government but one that didn’t produce clear elites''?

Πηγές / Sources: Ethnos, Independent

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