A colorful death: A study of the social life of colors in Late Bronze Age grave goods

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The study of burials can include, among other things, examinations of grave goods, architecture, osteological and organic remains, context and location, socio-religious and ritual importance, sacred landscape, socio-economic relevance, and so on. One area that has not been investigated in depth regarding the objects placed in the graves is the aspect of color: does their color in general or specific colors have any importance, sym-bolically or in any other way? Are some of these objects and goods there because they have a specific color rather than for other reasons? What we call “color” today can be said to have three major components: hue, degree of shine or mattness, and depth or saturation of the hue. Looking at Late Bronze Age tombs in the Argolid, I used these parameters initially in a pilot project to register and analyze all the non-skeletal and non-ceramic grave goods in five chamber tombs at Asine. e results indi-cated that color did seem to be important: the most essential component by far was that of shininess/brightness—almost every object placed in the grave was reflective, lustrous or shiny. Certain hues seemed far more common than others—yellow and dark/black followed by white/light. In this study, I have added the grave material from Berbati and Dendra to determine whether the first preliminary findings were still valid for a larger quantity of material and from different areas and contexts within them. e results indicate that shininess is still by far the most impor-tant component; however, the use of hues is less clear-cut than it seemed at first. Aspects of materiality, interaction, agency and the social life of colors are discussed as they provide ways to understand the findings


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Antikvetenskap
Titel på värdpublikationMycenaeans up to date
Undertitel på gästpublikationThe archaeology of the northeastern Peloponnese―current concepts and new directions
RedaktörerAnn-Louise Schallin, Iphiyenia Tournavitou
StatusPublished - 2015
Peer review utfördJa


NamnSkrifter utgivna av Svenska institutet i Athen, 4°
ISSN (tryckt)0586-0539