Tomb types

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  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 17-05-18 20:44
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  • Tomb types
    • Cist
      • In isolation/small groups
      • Body curled in protracted position
      • Floor was prepared floor of river pebbles
      • One vase placed with dead
      • Present at GCB - contracted burials, poor offerings
    • Tholos
      • Round, shaped like pointed dome, built into side of hill
      • Approached by dromos cut horizontally into slope of hill
      • 9 discovered at Mycenae (1500-1200BC)
      • In earliest tombs very small stones used - selected for flatness
      • Lower part of wall built vertically like drum up to about 1/4 of height
      • Vault added through corbelling system
      • Earth piled around exterior to create balance -mound formed above tomb
      • Later tholoi used increasingly large stones - Treasury of Atreus had enormous blocks
      • Treasury of Atreus also had side chamber - unusual
      • Doorways developed from small slabs to longer lintels with relieving triangles - improved stability by releasing pressure
      • Earlier dromoi were cut into rock and unlined with masonry - they often collapsed, so later ones were lined with rubble, and in the final tholoi ashlar conglomerate was used
      • Seepage of water meant that layer of plesia was alternated with earth when covering late tholoi - however, 3 layers were used in Tomb of Aegisthus and the vault still collapsed
      • Tomb of Clytemnestra & Treasury of Atreus - curving wall built of poros support mound over tholos
      • Lavishly decorated
      • Treasury of Atreus - façade embellished with half columns,  rosettes, spirals and zigzags with stone being hauled from around 15km away
      • Orchomenos - tholos side chamber shows that bronze plates/decorative plaques would have been nailed to interiors - seen on ceiling
    • Shaft
      • Cut up to 2.5 metres into the rock
      • Chamber created at base of shaft by: leaving a rock ledge to support beams of a roof/building a secondary wall to support them/using wooden posts.
      • Lined with rubble walls for support
      • Fully extended
      • Room for several bodies on tomb floor - all at once? successive?
      • After burial roof was put in place, shaft filled with earth & grave was marked with 2m stone stele - plain or decorated
      • When grave was opened for later burials, fill had to be dug out & timber roof lifted out - gifts fro earlier burials smashed & shoved to one side/mixed into back fill
      • GCB - 14 graves
      • GCA - 6 large graves, 7th grave outside the wall
      • In fashion from 1600-1500BC - last one built at Mycenae in 1500BC, abandoned for tholos type - shaft graves did continue elsewhere for another 100 years.
    • Chamber
      • Tomb dug out of rock leads down to wall of stones that block entrance - inside is a circular chamber
      • People buried in pits/placed directly on floor
      • Pottery sherds found in entranceway - feasting/ritual after burial?
      • Similar to tholoi, which appeared at similar time - likely used by less wealthy
    • Tumulus
      • First burial laid on ground & covered with stones,  tumulus  raised over it.
      • Later burials - mound cut through with burials on original surface/in pits/cists/pithoi
      • Mound intended to be seen from distance - marked by large stone/stele

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