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Excavations at Sissi II

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Jan Driessen

3. The Cemetery at Sissi

Report of the 2009 and 2010 Campaigns

Ilse Schoep, Aurore Schmitt et Isabelle Crevecoeur

Texte intégral

  • 1 See general plan of site in Chapter 1 (fig. 1.3 and 1.4)
  • 2 Also participated in the 2009 and 2010 campaigns: L. Verhulst (KULeuven, 2009-2010), N. Calliauw (K (...)
  • 3 The secondary pottery deposit in 1.1 can be dated to MM IIB on the basis of fragments of a straight (...)

1The cemetery of the settlement on the Bouffos is located on the lower part of the north and north-east slope of the hill1. As is the case at Mochlos, the cemetery was laid out on different terraces that followed more or less the contours of the hill (fig. 3.1)2. All structures so far discovered are rectangular with different compartments and can be defined as house-tombs, a type of tomb that is frequent in East Crete in the Early and the Middle Bronze Age (Mochlos, Pseira, Palaikastro, Petras etc.) (Soles 1992; Schoep forthcoming). The cemetery was separated from the settlement by a substantial terrace wall that runs along the upper part of the north and north-east slope, effectively separating the realm of the dead from the realm of the living. The discovery of funerary structure 9.1-2, situated immediately north of the Neopalatial houses in Zone 2, has demonstrated that the cemetery is not restricted to the north-east slope of the hill as thought initially but extended also over the lower part of the north slope. All activity in the cemetery can be dated between EM II A and MM IIB3 and so far there is no evidence for later activities. Because none of the funerary structures have so far been completely excavated, it is at present not possible to identify the limits of the individual tombs and the following discussion therefore focuses on compartments. The discussion of the compartments in the report will be structured according to the terrace on which they were found.

1. Upper Terrace (Zone 1)

1.1. Compartments 1.11-1.12 and 1.24

  • 4 Schoep 2009: 53-54; Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 86-88.

2The excavation of compartments 1.11-1.12 started in 2008 and was continued in 20094, when more jar burials were uncovered. Excavations to the east of 1.11-1.12 in 2010 have shown that the latter compartments probably formed part of a larger structure on this terrace that extended to the east (1.24) and perhaps also to the north (fig. 3.2). Apart from scant traces of a north-south wall, the compartment to the north has all but disappeared as a result of erosion. Remnants of a packing layer in a cavity in the bedrock in the south-east corner of what must originally have been the compartment suggests an identical construction date to compartments 1.11 and 1.12. The north wall of 1.11-1.12 extends beyond the east wall of 1.12 to form the (badly preserved) north wall of compartment 1.24 (fig. 3.1). At present, the south limit of 1.24 has not been established but the compartment so far was devoid of human remains. Three complete EM III handmade cups suggest that this compartment, which was built at the same time as 1.11-1.2 i. e. in EM IIA, was reused in EM III.

Fig. 3.1. PLAN OF CEMETERY (P. HACIGÜZELLER)

3The pottery in compartments 1.11-1.12 dates to EM IIA and the EM IIA date of this structure is confirmed by the date of the sherds in the packing layer laid out to level out the uneven bedrock (fig. 3.3). The walls were constructed in medium-sized to large irregular stones on top of this packing layer. The walls curve in towards the lower course, which is especially clear in the case of the west wall of 1.11. The uppermost preserved course of stones consists of relatively large stones that were placed in such a way that the more regular flattish side of the blocks faced outwards, thus giving the upper course of the west wall the appearance of an outside wall. Considering the large amount of medium sized stones that were recovered from inside 1.11-1.12, it is possible that the higher part of the walls was also constructed in stone. The south wall presents itself as a double wall. A sounding to the north of the north wall of 1.11-12 has shown that the bedrock here is considerably higher and that the floor of the compartments was constructed in a hollow in the bedrock. Since there is no sign of any doorway entry into 1.11-12, it is probable that access was gained from above. It is not clear at present whether the larger tomb of which compartments 1.11-1.12 formed part also continued to the south and west because excavation here was stopped at the MM I-II level.

Fig. 3.2. COMPARTMENTS 1.11 AND 1.12 (P. HACIGÜZELLER & I. CREVECOEUR)

Fig. 3.3. PACKING LAYER ON TOP OF BEDROCK IN SPACE 1.12 (I. CREVECOEUR)

1.2. Compartment 1.11

4The west compartment 1.11 (fig. 3.2) revealed the disturbed primary burials of four individuals, including one adolescent. Anthropological analysis has allowed identification of pairs of long bones on the basis of metric and morphological criteria. A large-bodied and robust individual is best represented (fig. 3.4, in red) but his remains are scattered over the entire compartment. The second most complete individual is less robust (fig. 3.4, in green) and was found on top of the former. All bones, even the smallest ones such as hand and foot bones, are well represented and thus we are dealing with primary burials (table 3.1). However, the fact that certain bones of the individual rendered in green on the plan were grouped together suggests post-depositional reorganisation, perhaps at the time of deposition of new individuals. Two more individuals, more slender, one of which was less than 20 years old, are represented by a limited number of bones.

Fig. 3.4. PLAN OF HUMAN REMAINS IN COMPARTMENT 1.11 (I. CREVECOEUR)

Anatomical element

Right

Left

Non defined

Cranio-facial complex

3

Mandible

2

Clavicle

2

Scapula

1

1

Humerus

4

2

Radius

2

3

1

Ulna

3

1

Metacarpals

1

6

Phalanges hand

5

Vertebrae

1

Hip bone

1

1

Femur

2

2

Patella

1

2

Tibia

2

2

Fibula

1

2

Calcaneus

2

Metatarsals

1

1

5

Phalanges foot

1

11

Table 3.1. INVENTORY OF ANATOMICAL PARTS REPRESENTED IN COMPARTMENT 1.11 (I. CREVECOEUR)

  • 5 Sakellarakis & Sakellarakis 1997: 207, 210, 216-217.

5On top of and underneath the human remains were found large flat fragments of a terracotta container, which can only have belonged to a larnax or a large tub. There is limited evidence for the use of larnakes in tombs in EM II elsewhere5.

Fig. 3.5. FRAGMENTS OF TRIPOD JAR FROM COMPARTMENT 1.11 (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

6Two jars along the north wall of the compartment to the north of these remains contained the remains of perinatals (09-01-0316-OB001 and 09-01-0325-OB002). A tripod jar with horizontal handles and a double pierced lug was found lying on its side immediately north of the skulls (fig. 3.5). Careful excavation of the contents of the jar revealed only few bones that were concentrated at the bottom of the jar. Numerous bones were, however, found around it. Their position suggests decomposition inside the jar, after which the contents of the jar spilled. A second tripod jar, which appears to have been broken at the time of deposition or was broken by stones that had fallen on top of it, was sitting in the north-west corner of the compartment with a lid resting against it (09-01-0325-OB003) (fig. 3.6). At the bottom of this jar were found, in a much eroded state, perinatal skull fragments, rib fragments and a humerus diaphysis. A lid (09-01-0325-OB003) was also found underneath the second jar in the north-west corner of the compartment.

1.3. Compartment 1.12

  • 6 For this tumbler, see Schoep 2009: 55, fig. 3.10.

7Compartment 1.12 (fig. 3.2) contained the primary inhumation of a male individual placed along the north wall as well as four jars with the remains of perinatals in the south part of the compartment 09-01-0275-OB001-004. These jars can be dated to EM IIA: a side-spouted jar with T-rim and hatched butterfly motif, a hole-mouthed jar with rolled rim and two tripod jars with horizontal handles and double pierced lug. Beside these four burial containers, a fine tumbler (08-01-0281-OB001) in buff clay with red-brown paint and a lid were found in the east compartment6.

8The preservation of the human remains in the jars differs considerably. Although in some cases the identification of individual bones is problematic, there can be no doubt about the human nature of the remains. The remains in the jar against the south wall of 1.12 were concentrated in the middle and the higher part of the jar whereas in the bottom part nodules of a fine white-grey-yellow sediment were found. The anatomical preservation of the perinatal was exceptional (several long bones, fragment of skull and hand bones) and the flesh clearly decomposed in a filled-up space, i. e. inside some sediment or material placed inside the jar.

9The male adult along the north wall of 1.12 (fig. 3.2) was laid out on top of a packing layer that leveled out the uneven bedrock. The bones were in anatomical connection but had been slightly disturbed after decomposition of the body. The skull was found in the north-east corner of the compartment but the mandible was found further to the west, close to the wall. The right tibia and fibula were found in loose anatomical connection. In addition, several hand bones could be identified and it is clear that we are dealing with a primary burial that was disturbed. The alveolar bone resorption in the molar tooth region suggests that the adult was advanced in age and most teeth show signs of intensive wear. The pelvis was too fragmentary to identify the sex of the skeleton with certainty but its morphological characteristics seem to suggest a male.

Fig. 3.6. LID (09-01-0325-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

Fig. 3.7. COMPARTMENT 1.17 (P. HACIGÜZELLER AND I. CREVECOEUR)

1.4. Spaces 1.17, 1.18 and 1.29

10Spaces 1.17, 1.18 and 1.29 are situated in the south part of the cemetery, on the upper terrace of the north-east slope. To the south of 1.29 and 1.18 the bedrock crops up and this area seems to have functioned as open space, in which some pottery deposits (cups, juglets) was found.

1.5. Space 1.17

11Compartment 1.17 to the south of 1.11-1.12 (fig. 3.1) reveals a complex stratigraphy that testifies to the intensive use of this area in MM I-IIA. In the north-east corner of 1.17 and against the south wall of 1.11-12 a horizontally placed pithos was found (fig. 3.7). To the east, 1.17 is defined by a wall abutting onto the exterior face of the south wall of 1.11-1.12 and to the south and west by walls that were constructed on top of a pebble floor. The exact chronological relation between these walls and the pithos is at present not clear (does the pithos cut the pebble floor or vice versa?).

12The pithos contained the remains of a woman of advanced age, as suggested by the alveolar resorption around the molars and the traces of wear on the teeth. The woman had been inserted into the pithos head first and the body was found in contracted position (fig. 3.8). The skull, however, was found in the centre of the pithos rather than at the bottom. The presence of fragments of the top vertebra (atlas-) and the axis, which form the joint connecting the spine and skull in the region of the mandible, suggests that the head was moved after decomposition. The face of the skull was missing but was found immediately beneath one of the stones of a later wall constructed over the pithos and it seems likely that the skull was disturbed at this moment. The left side of the thorax was in anatomical connection but the right half had slid down along the south side of the pithos, as a result of the decomposition of the body in a void.

Fig. 3.8. FEMALE BURIAL IN PITHOS (I. CREVECOEUR)

13No grave goods were found in the pithos but an unusual looking pedestalled bowl was found over the lower part of the skeleton (fig. 3.9). The lower half of the pithos was supported by a circular arrangement of stones underneath which an earlier as yet unexplored burial level was encountered.

Fig. 3.9. PITHOS IN SPACE 1.17 BEFORE EXCAVATION (I. CREVECOEUR)

Fig. 3.10. A & B PEBBLE FLOOR OVER PITHOS (I. CREVECOEUR)

  • 7 Concentrations of burnt bones were found in 1.30-1.31 (see infra).

14The pithos was crushed by the construction of a later thin wall, which ran over the former and then turned south (fig. 3.9) and which was associated with a floor of large pebbles (fig. 3.10 A & B). On the latter were found the remains of two individuals but since the south limit of this compartment has not yet been found the exact number of individuals cannot be determined. The bones were badly preserved and fragmentary. A pelvis and associated bones of the lower limb (tibia, femur and foot bones), small hand and foot bones as well as a radius and ulna were found in anatomical connection. A humerus and left ulna to the south of the latter were also found in anatomical connection. The evidence suggests that we are dealing with primary burials that were disturbed after decomposition. A small fragment of burnt bone that was fired white on the outside but black on the inside was found in the middle of the deposit7. The pottery associated with these burials is MM IB-IIA in date, as suggested by the presence of wheel-made straight-sided and carinated cup fragments. The floor of large pebbles associated with this burial had sunk slightly where it ran over the broken pithos.

1.6. Space 1.29

  • 8 The south wall of 1.17 was built at the same time as the east wall of 1.20, a small room filled wit (...)

15The south wall of 1.17 forms the north limit of 1.29 and its south limit was originally formed by a wall constructed on top of the bedrock that had all but eroded away (fig. 3.1). Its east limit consists of the continuation of the east wall of 1.17 but its west limit is not clear. Three pithoi were found in space 1.29, one of them lying against the south face of the south wall of 1.17 and thus post-dating the latter and the floor of small pebbles on which it is sitting (fig. 3.11)8.

Fig. 3.11. BURIAL PITHOI IN SPACE 1.29 (A. SCHMITT)

16The southernmost pithos (2 on fig. 3.11) was positioned on top of a pebble surface made up of rather large pebbles (apparently at the same level as the floor of large pebbles further north, see 1.17) and was supported by a circular arrangement of stones. The human remains in and around this pithos suggest that it had been used on several occasions. Upon the deposition of a new individual, remains of a previous burial were taken out and deposited along the east side of the pithos (see the position of the long bones in fig. 3.12). While the skull and mandible of a child were left in the pithos, the long bones were taken out and placed to the east of the pithos. These bones were overlying the east wall of space 1.29, suggesting that the latter was no longer functioning as a wall by then. The last burial in pithos 2 was placed on its right side in a contracted position with hands folded in front of torso (fig. 3.13). Study of the bones (table 3.2) allowed the identification of a MNI of four individuals including one child (aged between 4 and 8.5 years).

Fig. 3.12. PITHOS 2 IN SPACE 1.29 WITH HUMAN BONES ALONGSIDE (A. SCHMITT)

Anatomical element

Right

Le

Non sided

NMI (f)

Skull

2

Mandible

3

Clavicle

1

1

Humerus

1

1

4

3

Radius

2

1

1

2

Ulna

3

1

3

Hip bone

2

1

Femur

1

2

1

Tibia

2

2

1

3

Fibula

2

4

3

Table 3.2. INVENTORY OF ANATOMICAL PARTS IN AND ALONG PITHOS 2

Fig. 3.13. EXCAVATION OF PITHOS 2 IN SPACE 1.29 (A. SCHMITT)

1.7. Space 1.18

17The pebble floor on which the south wall of 1.17 is constructed continues to the west into space 1.18, where another horizontally placed pithos was found (fig. 3.14). The pithos was covered by an extensive deposit of redeposited material (mainly pottery but also stone vase fragments, obsidian blades and loose bones), which appears to have been laid out over an area covering 1.18-north and 1.18-south as well as the west part of 1.29 and perhaps even part of 1.11-1.12 and 1.18 (fig. 3.1). The burial pithos, just like the three pithoi found in 1.29 (see supra), predates the deposition of this extensive deposit, an event that appears to have taken place in MM IIA (fig. 3.15a). A lot of the pottery is quasi-complete but broken and typologically the pottery consists mainly of cups, juglets and shallow bowls (‘lekanes’) (fig. 3.15a, b). Post-dating this fill there was some additional burial activity (primary inhumation laid out on top of it and a badly preserved pithos burial).

18The west wall of 1.18, which separates 1.18 from 1.20, is constructed on top of the pebble floor and thus postdates the latter and probably predates the extensive secondary deposit. At the same time, the pebble surface covers the south-east corner of an earlier compartment (1.23).

Fig. 3.14. PITHOS IN 1.18 WITH REDEPOSITED MATERIAL ON TOP (I. SCHOEP)

Fig. 3.15. A&B MM IIA JUG WITH DISCS AND LEKANE (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)

1.8. Compartment 1.20 and 1.28

19Compartment 1.20 to the west of 1.18 is separated from the latter by a shared wall that was constructed on top of a pebble surface. Compartment 1.20 revealed several layers of redepositioned pottery, with the pottery lower down dating to EM III and/or MM IA and the pottery higher up dating to MM II. Presumably the higher levels can be connected with the large redeposition of material in MM IIA (see supra). To the west of 1.20, the outline of another (as yet unexcavated) compartment can be made out on the surface.

20The south wall of compartment 1.20 turns out to be the continuation of the north wall of compartment 1.23 (fig. 3.1), which is also the south wall of compartment 1.22. Both compartments contain several burials but have not yet been excavated. The pottery associated with the lowest level inside the south-east corner of 1.23 seems to suggest a construction date in EM II for this compartment but with reuse in MM I-II. Associated with the latest period of use (1.28) was the skeleton of a child between 2.5 and 5 years old, which was covered by fragments of an ovalmouthed amphora (fig. 3.16). It seems that the vase was already broken when it was used to cover the body. The bones, which are badly preserved and show traces of old breaks, show that we are dealing with a primary burial of a child in contracted position.

Fig. 3.16. CHILD BURIAL IN SPACE 1.28 (A. SCHMITT)

2. Middle terrace9

2.1. Compartment 1.13

21Compartment 1.13 measures 1.5 m by 1.5 m and its north and south limit are known (fig. 3.17-18). The east limit is defined by the bedrock but its west limit can at present not be identified. The uneven bedrock was levelled by means of a pebble floor on which no remains were found. Sherds on top of this floor suggest an EM II date for the use of this pebble floor. The human remains were found at ca. 10 cm above the pebble floor and two concentrations of bones can be noted (fig. 3.17). Excavation of this deposit was started in 2007 and the present account does not include the bones that were transported to the Ayios Nikolaos storeroom in 2009. Very little pottery was associated with these burials but the extent sherds suggest a MM IB/II date.

Fig. 3.17. COMPARTMENT 1.13, LEVEL WITH BURIALS (A. SCHMITT)

Fig. 3.18. COMPARTMENT 1.13, EARLIER PEBBLE FLOOR (A. SCHMITT)

22A MNI of four individuals (table 3.3), three adults and a child represented by a couple of long bones and teeth suggesting an age between 5 and 9 years old, can be identified. The first individual is represented by part of the lower body and a left tibia and fibula (Figure 3.19). The bones were not in anatomical connection but their orientation is nevertheless coherent. Three more coherent anatomical units can be attributed to a second individual: the right upper limb, (n° 1, 21, 22), the left lower limb (n° 23, 38, 39), a right femur and a right fibula (n° 37 and 40). On the basis of these data it is possible to suggest that the body was oriented east-west, with the head towards the east, and was lying on its right side. Two fore-arms (n° 32, 46, 47, 63) that are parallel to one another (in green) and oriented east-west probably belong to the same body. On account of their spatial proximity and the same degree of wear of the upper and lower teeth (in pink), the frontal part of skull 67 can be associated with mandibule 68.

Anatomical element

Right

Left

Non sided

MNI (f)

skull

2

Mandible

3

Clavicle

1

1

Humerus

1

1

4

3

Radius

2

1

1

2

Ulna

3

1

3

Hip bone

2

1

Femur

1

2

1

Tibia

2

2

1

3

Fibula

2

4

3

Table 3.3. INVENTORY OF ADULT ANATOMICAL ELEMENTS AND MINIMUM NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS FROM COMPARTMENT 1.13

23The number of carpals, phalanges, vertebrae, ribs, scapula and hip bones is very restricted and that tarsal bones are completely missing. However, such bones are very fragile and it cannot be excluded that differential preservation is a factor.

24The anatomical position of the upper and lower limbs as well as the presence of some phalanges and metacarpals suggests that decomposition of at least some of the individuals took place in compartment 1.13. These primary depositions were, however, disturbed after decomposition of the body. The fact that parts of a single bone had been displaced over smaller or larger distances suggests that these interferences with the bones took place after the bone had dried out and had become very fragile and thus some time after its decomposition. It would seem that this compartment received several successive interments.

Fig. 3.19. COMPARTMENT 1.13, INDIVIDUALS IDENTIFIED (A. SCHMITT)

3. Lower terrace with structures 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.15-1.16

  • 10 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 59-70.

25This terrace situated between the modern fence and the outcrop of bedrock to the south was taken up by a row of structures, of which 1.6, 1.8 and 1.7 were excavated in 2007 and 2008 (fig. 3.1)10. Compartments 1.6 and 1.7 were used for primary inhumation. Compartments 1.15-1.16 and the area to the south of 1.7 and 1.15-1.16 seem to have been subjected to several episodes of deposition of pottery and loose bones, without any evidence for primary burial. Excavation will continue in this area next year.

3.1. Compartments 1.15-1.16

26Compartments 1.15-1.16 are situated to the east of 1.7 and are separated from one another by a N-S dividing wall. The west wall of 1.16 is constructed against the east wall of 1.7 and a wall of large blocks seems to form the east limit of 1.15. The latter blocks are sitting on top of an earlier wall of smaller blocks, thus suggesting different phases of use. The northern wall of compartments 1.15-1.16 has eroded away and to the south no clear limit has (so far) been found, although it is likely that a south wall existed somewhere between 1.15-1.16 and the bedrock further south (the distance is too great for this space to have formed a single compartment) (fig. 3.1). Both 1.15 and 1.16 contained secondary depositions of pottery, probably made at different times as the pottery lower down is handmade and the pottery from the higher levels is wheel-made.

3.2. Spaces 1.30-1.31

27Excavation of spaces 1.30 and 1.31 (fig. 3.20) is incomplete and what follows is a preliminary interpretation of the stratigraphy. Space 1.30 is delimited to the east by a double wall, which appears to be the continuation of the east wall of 1.15 and to the south by an outcrop of bedrock (fig. 3.1). So far, no west wall has been identified with certainty but the west wall of 1.16 seems to continue all the way to the outcrop of bedrock in the south. The area to the west of this potential wall is space 1.31, and that to the east is 1.30. Pottery and human bones were found in both spaces but the bones were more numerous in 1.31 whereas pottery was denser in 1.30 (fig. 3.20).

Fig. 3.20. SPACES 1.30-31 (A. SCHMITT)

Fig. 3.21. SPACE 1.30 (I. SCHOEP)

28Space 1.30 revealed an extensive deposit of pottery in primary position (fig. 3.21). The pottery is mostly complete and consists of jugs, dishes, plates and cups (carinated and straight-sided). Some of the cups were clearly stacked and the same holds for some of the dishes and plates (fig. 3.22). Besides the carefully placed pottery, the deposit contained numerous human bones that were not in anatomical connection, fragments of burnt mudbrick and charcoal as well as animal bones (pig and hare). Some of the pottery appears to have been broken in situ by fallen stones. The human bone material consists of selected bones, such as arm and leg bones as well as skulls, and was clearly a secondary deposition. Since some of the bones were found in between and amongst the pottery, it seems likely that they were deposited at the same time. A preliminary study of the material suggests that the deposit dates to MM IIA. The preliminary study of the bones suggests an MNI of 16 adult individuals in 1.30 and 1.31 (table 3.4). In addition, a lower molar and some phalanges of the hand and foot were also recovered. Small and short bones (carpals, phalanges, tarsals, spine etc.) are missing.

Fig. 3.22. SPACE 1.30: STACKED CARINATED CUPS (I. SCHOEP)

  • 11 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 61-67.

29A layer of densely packed small stones and pottery (comprising complete and semi-complete shapes), especially jugs and cups, as well as loose bones was found to overlie the north part of spaces I.30 and I.31 (fig. 3.20). Noteworthy amongst the bone material is a concentration of grey/black burnt bones, fired at a temperature above 300° Celsius, which can only be reached by putting bones directly in the fire. This deposit was also found to cover 1.15 and 1.16 (see supra) and to extend further west along the south limit of 1.7, although it does not seem to have extended over 1.711. An oblique line of NW-SE stones could have functioned as some kind of retaining wall for this secondary deposit. Similarly, a line of stones over 1.15-1.16 could also have functioned as some sort of retaining wall for this deposit.

Anatomical elements

Right

Left

Non sided

NMI (f)

Skull

3

Mandible

2

Clavicle

1

1

1

2

Humerus

9

10

9

14

Radius

2

2

8

6

Ulna

5

2

2

5

Hip bone

1

1

Femur

9

12

10

16

Tibia

4

8

9

11

Table 3.4. INVENTORY OF ANATOMICAL ELEMENTS AND MINIMUM NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS IN SPACE 1.30-1.31

3.3. Compartment 1.10

  • 12 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 77-85.

30Compartment 1.10 (fig. 3.1, fig. 3.24 a&b) is situated to the west of compartment 1.9, in which a secondary deposition of a MNI of 11 was excavated during 200812. Compartment 1.10 shares its north wall with compartment 1.9, suggesting that they were constructed at the same time. It is possible that compartments 1.9-1.10 formed part of a larger structure that extended northwards. A handmade straight-sided cup (08-01-1104-OB001) was found leaning against the north face of the north wall of 1.9-1.10. Upon removal of the cup, a human bone (part of a femur) appeared suggesting that this space also formed a compartment, the walls of which have eroded away. The pottery from 1.9 was not diagnostic, consisting of small, worn sherds. In 1.10, a couple of handmade, straightsided cups were found, suggesting a date in EM III-MM IA. This would coincide with the date of the handmade cup to the north of the north wall of 1.9-1.10.

31Compartment 1.10 (ca. 1.70 m x 1.20 m) revealed two concentrations of bones, one in the east part and one in the west. On top of the bedrock a packing of small stones and earth (but no sherds) functioned as a floor level. In the east part of the compartment a layer with small pebbles was noted to have been laid out on top of an earlier level, suggesting that these pebbles were used to mark different episodes of deposition. The fact that the bones in the lower level show signs of old breaks supports the hypothesis of two layers of deposition.

32Individual 1 (fig. 3.24B) was placed on a floor along the west wall in a contracted position on its left side. Individual 2 is better represented and was placed on his front, his lower limbs bent and folded under the chest. The third individual was placed on the floor along the east wall and is presented by parts of the lower limbs. On top of the latter a fourth individual, an adolescent, was lying on his right side with legs contracted and arms bent at the height of the head. A perinatal is represented by some long bones and ribs that retain some anatomical connection. Of the sixth individual, the sacrum, a fragment of the hip bone and the right femur were found in anatomical connection, suggesting that the adult would have been oriented east-west with the head in the south-east corner of the compartment. A left humerus and radius in loose anatomical connexion belong to individual 7. Individual 8 is represented by tarsal bones of the right foot in anatomical connection with four metatarsals and four metatarsals of the left foot. We may observe a recurring orientation of the bodies of the adults and the adolescents in the east part of the compartment, the head being placed in the south-east corner and the legs in a contracted position or under the ribcage.

  • 13 Neither the phalanges of the hands and feet nor the vertebrae of C3 to L5 figure in the graphical r (...)

33On the basis of the skull fragments 12 individuals can be identified (fig. 3.23). As the 12 recovered skull fragments do not match the teeth and bones of the small children from this compartment, a MNI of 20 individuals may be suggested. Of the children three died before the age of 1 and five before the age of 5. Figure 3.23 gives an overview of the different body parts and their representation. Because of the poor preservation of the epiphyses of the long bones, skulls and the scarcity of teeth, it was not always possible to distinguish between adults and adolescents (fig. 3.23). The number of mandibles, clavicles and long bones is systematically lower than 12, varying between 6 and 11. Only five mandibles provide information as to the age of the skeletons. A pair of clavicles, a left humerus, a pair of radius and ulna, a pair of ilium and a left femur suggest the presence of at least one adolescent. A total absence of carpals and tarsals and an almost complete absence of metacarpals, metatarsals and vertebrae as well as phalanges may be noted13.

Fig. 3.23. COMPARTMENT 1.10, INVENTORY OF BONES (A. SCHMITT)

Fig. 3.24. A & B COMPARTMENT 1.10 (A. SCHMITT)

4. North Slope (Zone 9)

4.1. Structure 9.1-2

34The cemetery was found to extend further west than previously envisaged and the lower terrace of the North Slope seems to have comprised several small structures (Figs. 3.1 & 3.25) and one larger structure, which is perched on the edge of this terrace overlooking the sea. This structure consists of at least two compartments, 9.1 (north) and 9.2 (south). The walls are double-faced, the exterior face consisting of rather large blocks and the interior face of small stones. The south wall of this structure seems to have been robbed but before this happened, a pottery dump was placed against the outside of this wall.

Fig. 3.25. HOUSE TOMB IN ZONE 9 ON NORTH SLOPE (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)

Fig. 3.26. HOUSE TOMB IN ZONE 9: NORTH COMPARTMENT 9.1. FROM SOUTH (A. SCHMITT)

35Excavation in 2010 focused on the north compartment, 9.1, which measures 4 m by 3.5 m and contained the remains of eight individuals. A wall, built of small stones with orientation N-S and parallel to the east wall of the tomb, divides compartment 9.1 into two parts, A and B (fig. 3.25). Seven individuals were found in part B (east, fig. 3.26), one in A (west). The first individual was found in a pithos in the north-east corner of this room. This pithos had been disturbed by the burial of individual 4, a woman in contracted position (fig. 3.27), hands placed under the head and knees drawn up to the chin. The deposition of this woman (individual 4) in turn disturbed individual 5, who was lying on his right side oriented NNE-SSE and was partly truncated. On top of individual 5 a pebble floor was laid out on which individual 2 was deposited in a contracted position. Although individual 2 was probably the last one to have been buried in this room the skull is missing. To the south of and facing individual 4 a second female of advanced age (individual 3) was deposited. She was lying on her back, hands in front of her face and legs in a contracted position with heels under thighs. A layer of fine gravel covered the bodies of both women (individual 3 and 4).

36Of individual 8 in the middle of compartment B, oriented E-W, were found the left upper limb, some ribs and some vertebrae. The anatomical position of these bones suggests a primary burial that was disturbed by the later positioning of individual 3. Individual 6 (fig. 3.28) was placed orthogonally onto individuals 3, 4 and 5 (orientated NNW-SSE). He was placed on his left side in a contracted position, hands under the head (fig. 3.29). The soil under the skeleton contained gravel and the outline of a pit was identified to the west, while pebbles mark the north-east limit of the inhumation. On top of his feet, two flared bowls, for which good parallels exist at MM IB/MM IIA Myrtos Pyrgos (Carl Knappett pers. comm.), as well as a fragmentary broc were found. Individual (7) is a secondary burial of skull, hip bone and long bones in a pit in the south-west corner of the compartment, covered by a lamp and a fragmentary tripod cup.

Fig. 3.27. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, SHOWING INDIVIDUALS 4 AND 3 NEAR EAST WALL (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)

Fig. 3.28. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, SHOWING INDIVIDUAL 6 (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)

Fig. 3.29. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, BOWLS PLACED OVER FEET OF INDIVIDUAL 6 (I. SCHOEP)

Bibliographie

5. References

▪ Soles 1992 = J. Soles, The Prepalatial Cemeteries at Mochlos and Gournia and the House Tombs of Bronze Age Crete. (Hesperia suppl. 24), New Jersey, 1992.

▪ Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009 = I. Crevecoeur & A. Schmitt, Etude archéo-anthropologique de la nécropole (Zone 1), in Sissi 1, 57-94.

▪ Sakellarakis & Sakellarakis 1997 = Y. Sakellarakis & E. Sakellarakis, Archanes. Minoan Crete in a new Light, Athens, 1997.

▪ Schoep 2009 = I. Schoep, The excavation of the Cemetery (Zone 1), in Sissi 1, 45-55.

▪ Schoep forthcoming = I. Schoep, The House-Tomb in Context: Assessing Mortuary behaviour in Northeast Crete. In M. Relaki and Y. Papadatos (eds), From the Foundations to the Legacy of Minoan Society, Sheffield Round Table in Honour of Professor Keith Branigan. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology. Oxford (forthcoming).

Sissi I = J. Driessen et al. Excavations at Sissi. Preliminary Report on the 2007-2008 Campaigns. Aegis 1, Presses Universitaires Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2009.

Notes

1 See general plan of site in Chapter 1 (fig. 1.3 and 1.4)

2 Also participated in the 2009 and 2010 campaigns: L. Verhulst (KULeuven, 2009-2010), N. Calliauw (KULeuven, 2010), J. Danckers (KULeuven, 2010), S. Lozano Rubio (UMadrid, 2010), R. Ballis (UAthens, 2010), R. Rogge (KULeuven, 2010), S. Déderix (UCLouvain, 2009-2010), C. Dalberra (Université de Bordeaux, 2010), P. Baulain (Paris IV-Sorbonne, 209-2010), S. Rooms (KULeuven, 2010), A. Civetta (Université de Provence, 2010), K. Quintelier (KULeuven, 2010), M. Vrachnakis (2010) and Y. Milidakis (2010).

3 The secondary pottery deposit in 1.1 can be dated to MM IIB on the basis of fragments of a straight-sided cup in style écossais (Schoep 2009: 50-51).

4 Schoep 2009: 53-54; Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 86-88.

5 Sakellarakis & Sakellarakis 1997: 207, 210, 216-217.

6 For this tumbler, see Schoep 2009: 55, fig. 3.10.

7 Concentrations of burnt bones were found in 1.30-1.31 (see infra).

8 The south wall of 1.17 was built at the same time as the east wall of 1.20, a small room filled with redeposited pottery (but no bones); both were constructed on top of the same floor of small sea-pebbles.

9 Other compartments that have been excavated on this terrace are 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 (see Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009; Schoep 2009).

10 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 59-70.

11 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 61-67.

12 Crevecoeur & Schmitt 2009: 77-85.

13 Neither the phalanges of the hands and feet nor the vertebrae of C3 to L5 figure in the graphical representation since their state of preservation did not allow more specific attribution.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 3.1. PLAN OF CEMETERY (P. HACIGÜZELLER)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-1.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.2. COMPARTMENTS 1.11 AND 1.12 (P. HACIGÜZELLER & I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-2.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.3. PACKING LAYER ON TOP OF BEDROCK IN SPACE 1.12 (I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-3.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.4. PLAN OF HUMAN REMAINS IN COMPARTMENT 1.11 (I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-4.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.5. FRAGMENTS OF TRIPOD JAR FROM COMPARTMENT 1.11 (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-5.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.6. LID (09-01-0325-OB003) (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-6.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.7. COMPARTMENT 1.17 (P. HACIGÜZELLER AND I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-7.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.8. FEMALE BURIAL IN PITHOS (I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Légende Fig. 3.9. PITHOS IN SPACE 1.17 BEFORE EXCAVATION (I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-9.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.10. A & B PEBBLE FLOOR OVER PITHOS (I. CREVECOEUR)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-10.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.11. BURIAL PITHOI IN SPACE 1.29 (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-11.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.12. PITHOS 2 IN SPACE 1.29 WITH HUMAN BONES ALONGSIDE (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-12.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.13. EXCAVATION OF PITHOS 2 IN SPACE 1.29 (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 308k
Légende Fig. 3.14. PITHOS IN 1.18 WITH REDEPOSITED MATERIAL ON TOP (I. SCHOEP)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 324k
Légende Fig. 3.15. A&B MM IIA JUG WITH DISCS AND LEKANE (CHR. PAPANIKOLOPOULOS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-15.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.16. CHILD BURIAL IN SPACE 1.28 (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Légende Fig. 3.17. COMPARTMENT 1.13, LEVEL WITH BURIALS (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-17.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.18. COMPARTMENT 1.13, EARLIER PEBBLE FLOOR (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-18.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.19. COMPARTMENT 1.13, INDIVIDUALS IDENTIFIED (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-19.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.20. SPACES 1.30-31 (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-20.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.21. SPACE 1.30 (I. SCHOEP)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-21.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.22. SPACE 1.30: STACKED CARINATED CUPS (I. SCHOEP)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-22.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.23. COMPARTMENT 1.10, INVENTORY OF BONES (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 272k
Légende Fig. 3.24. A & B COMPARTMENT 1.10 (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-24.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.25. HOUSE TOMB IN ZONE 9 ON NORTH SLOPE (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-25.jpg
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Légende Fig. 3.26. HOUSE TOMB IN ZONE 9: NORTH COMPARTMENT 9.1. FROM SOUTH (A. SCHMITT)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Légende Fig. 3.27. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, SHOWING INDIVIDUALS 4 AND 3 NEAR EAST WALL (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Légende Fig. 3.28. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, SHOWING INDIVIDUAL 6 (L. MANOUSOGIANNAKI/N. KRESS)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 72k
Légende Fig. 3.29. NORTH-EAST PART OF COMPARTMENT 9.1, BOWLS PLACED OVER FEET OF INDIVIDUAL 6 (I. SCHOEP)
URL http://books.openedition.org/pucl/docannexe/image/3124/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 57k

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