Color for the dead, status for the living

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Color affects us both consciously and subconsciously, and can create actions and reactions: biological (colorful males to attract females in the animal world), psychological (the use of warm colors or cool colors to effect a specific mood), symbolic (specific colors for weddings and mourning), religious (blue, saffron), emotional (expressionism in art), social (pink and blue infant clothing) or purely esthetic. By ‘color’ is meant three elements: hue, value and saturation. The aim of this continuing study is to investigate whether color in antiquity, specifically the Aegean Late Bronze Age, was chosen for any purpose, and if so, whether we can say anything about the choice of color as message bearing. Chamber Tombs I:1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 from LBA Asine have been chosen for the study. This is very much a work in progress, as shall become apparent, and there are still unresolved problems which may be eliminated in the future by enlarging the study to include more material, more contexts and more sites. Very tentative results are offered from the initial pilot study and this second follow-up: the most important factor in burial gifts seemed to be shininess; the hues that seemed to be the most important were yellow, white and blue/black/dark. High saturation is also important for dark hues. Some suggestions for interpretation are made.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAegaeum : annales d'archéologie égéenne de l'Université de Liège
PublisherUniversité de l'État à Liège
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2010
EventThe 13th International Aegean Conference - Kosmos - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 2010 Apr 192010 Apr 23

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0776-3808


ConferenceThe 13th International Aegean Conference - Kosmos

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Classical Archaeology and Ancient History


  • Asine
  • color
  • Aegean Late Bronze Age
  • color symbolism
  • chamber tombs


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