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VIRTUAL - The Rise of a Hierarchical Society at Late Bronze Age Mitrou, Greece: What Made It Possible?

April 13, 2021 @ 6:00 pm EDT Eastern Time

This is an online event.

AIA Society: Hartford

Lecturer: Aleydis Van de Moortel

Five years of archaeological excavations and surveys at Mitrou by the University of Tennessee and the Greek Archaeological Service have produced a uniquely rich data set for studying the rise of an indigenous elite in central Greece. During the early part of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1700/1600 – 1400 BCE), Mitrou’s elite manifested itself through the construction of large building complexes and elite tombs as well as a reorganization of the settlement structure and burial practices. Access to far-flung exchange networks provided it with high-status goods and chariot technology.

Unlike contemporary elites in the Peloponnese, which were much influenced by Aegina and Crete, Mitrou’s elite developed strategies for projecting and legitimizing power that were its own and owed little to the southern Aegean. It will be argued that Mitrou’s leaders constructed a new ideology of power, claiming special status and asserting their local, central Greek identity possibly in reaction to the expansion of southern Aegean activities in the area. Only in the 15th century BCE did they increasingly adopt the elite culture of Mycenae, and to all appearances this adoption was voluntary. Mitrou’s elite ostensibly was defeated early in the 14th century BCE, when the site was destroyed and apparently taken over by an outside palatial power–a phenomenon observed in other areas of Greece as well. For the next 300 to 400 years, their monumental tomb became the focus of special activities suggestive of the awe and esteem in which the former elite was held by the local population.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Maran, J., and A. Van de Moortel, 2014 “A Horse Bridle Piece with Carpatho-Danubian Connections from Late Helladic I Mitrou and the Emergence of a Warlike Elite in Greece During the Shaft-Grave Period,” American Journal of Archaeology 118.4 (Oct. 2014) 529-548.

Van de Moortel, A., 2016 “Politics of Death at Mitrou: Two Prepalatial Elite Tombs in a Landscape ofPower,” in A. Dakouri-Hild and M.J. Boyd (eds.), Staging Death: Funerary Performance, Architecture, and Landscape in the Aegean (Berlin: De Gruyter) 89-116.

Van de Moortel, A., S. Vitale, B. Lis, and G. Bianco, 2019 “Honoring the Dead or Hero Cult? The Long Afterlife of a Prepalatial Elite Tomb at Mitrou,” in E. Borgna, I. Caloi, F. Carinci, and R. Laffineur (eds.), MNHMH/MNEME. Past and Memory in the Aegean Bronze Age. Proceedings of the 17th International Aegean Conference, University of Udine and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, 17-21 April 2018 (Liège and Leuven: Peeters) 277-292. Aegaeum 43.

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April 13, 2021
6:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Vincent Tomasso


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