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Kate Harrell
Jan Driessen

Destruction and other material acts of transformation in Mycenaean funerary practice

Michael J. Boyd

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The symbiosis of practice and material culture in Mycenaean tombs may be encapsulated in Julian Thomas’ 1996 phrase ‘the production of context’. Thomas was referring to the role of material culture in context, where social practices are constituted through the bringing together of particular groupings of persons and artefacts (Thomas 1996: 171), and over time the reordering of things, people and places forms a continuous restructuring of locale, presenting certain practices as meaningful in particular ways. This is close to a description of what is often referred to as a ‘field of action’ (Barrett 1988; Robb 2010). I have discussed the concepts of ongoing reordering and fields of action in Mycenaean tombs elsewhere (Boyd forthcoming). Two specific aspects are considered here: practices of transformation, and in particular those of apparently destructive intent.

The archaeological approach to grave contexts has been monotonous. Burial contexts are seen as a pristine reflection of a mo...


Michael J. Boyd is the Stavros S. Niarchos Fellow in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge.

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2015

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