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Expressions of Gender in Mortuary Behaviour from Middle Helladic and Mycenaean Burial Samples in the Aegean

Leith, KE; (2013) Expressions of Gender in Mortuary Behaviour from Middle Helladic and Mycenaean Burial Samples in the Aegean. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Gender, particularly in regard to Mycenaean constructions of masculinity and male ideologies and identities, has affected and influenced Aegean Prehistory throughout its history as a discipline. The research aims to critically re-investigate the question of gender roles, status and ideology and to understand how expressions of gender in funerary behaviour varied among different groups across space and time during the Middle and Late Bronze Age (2100 BC-1100 BC) in the Aegean. To do this, statistical analysis of cemeteries in which human remains have been osteologically analysed was conducted using the gender attribution approach, and then results were extrapolated in an exploratory fashion to select cemeteries without sexed skeletal remains. The interpretation of results is informed by archaeological context, current discourses of gender archaeology and archaeological mortuary theory. Analyses revealed that: 1) in earlier Middle Helladic (2100-1800 BC) burial practice individual burials were distinguished but not overtly differentiated in terms of material expressions of identity, however at certain sites high-status female burials were accompanied by small but wealthy assemblages and were often linked to textile production; 2) during the transitional and Early Mycenaean phase (1800-1400 BC), elite mortuary ideology became highly masculinised though not necessarily male-exclusive, and in rare cases, weaponry could be associated with both male and female burials; 3) during the Palatial phase (1400-1100 BC), gendered practices became fixed, and male burials were exclusively associated with weaponry kits whilst female burials were linked often to objects of adornment. Throughout the epoch, there are indications that high status female burials linked to textile production activities were distinguished by gendered burial practices that stem from those observed during the Middle Helladic phase, and that the interplay of gender and other social ideologies was varied and complex.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Expressions of Gender in Mortuary Behaviour from Middle Helladic and Mycenaean Burial Samples in the Aegean
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1393592
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