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Kate Harrell
Jan Driessen

Damaged Pottery, Damaged Skulls at the Tsepi, Marathon Cemetery

Maria Pantelidou Gofa


This paper considers the Early Bronze Age (henceforth EBA) cemetery at Tsepi, near Marathon, where a large pit filled with pottery was discovered. The interpretation of the fill as burial offerings led us to clarify some novel funeral rites dated to the Late Chalcolithic period. Moreover, within the same cemetery, the mandible is frequently missing from the skulls and, in exceptional cases, it was dragged down or detached and placed next to the skeleton. The meaning of this treatment is unknown.

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The bay of Marathon is sandy and well protected. Some 2.5 km from Marathon, at the southeast tip of Central Greece and fully open to the Aegean Sea, is located the prominent area of Tsepi, site of the largest known cemetery on the Mainland during the Early Bronze Age of which the corresponding settlement has not yet been located. The cemetery covers an area of 1500 m² and was partially excavated by Spyridon Marinatos (Marinatos 1970a; 1970b; 1970c; 1970d; 1971; 1972), but his sudden death left the work unfinished. The present author was commissioned by the Archaeological Society at Athens to succeed him in the fieldwork and continue the excavation. This second stage of fieldwork has already resulted in the publication of the burials originally excavated by Marinatos, as well as two tombs excavated more recently (Pantelidou Gofa 2005). The graves were dug in rows and their location, as well as the method of construction, con...


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