by Birgitta Eder,
3 April 2008
|Published||April 3, 2008|
by Birgitta Eder,
3 April 2008
|Published||April 3, 2008|
Published also in: B. Eder, The Northern Boundary of the Mycenaean World, in: A.Mazarakis Ainian – Argyroula Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou (eds.), 2° Αρχαιολογικό Έργο Θεσσαλίας και Στερεάς Ελλάδας, /Πρακτικά επιστημονικής συνάντησης, Βόλος 16. – 19.3. 2006/ (forthcoming, submitted for publication December 2006).
The search for the northern frontier of the Mycenaean world has a long history in Mycenaean studies. 1 The starting point for my present investigation was offered by my study of Mycenaean seals and sealings. 2 Seals made of various materials come from all over of Mycenaean Greece (see plate 1 for a distribution of seals of the “Mainland Popular Group” in the Aegean). Apart from the core areas of the Argolid, Messenia and Boeotia they have been found also in the area of western, central and northern Greece up to the mountain Olympos. These include golden signet rings with figural illustrations and hard stone seals which were made of semi-precious stones; glass was either engraved or pressed in moulds to produce seals, and finally seals were made of less valuable materials such as soft stones like steatite (see plate 2 for distribution of various seal types in Thessaly). Material, style and shapes link all those different categories of seals from all parts of the Greek mainland. 3
The use of seals and corresponding sealings has a long tradition in economic administration. This is valid for pre-literate as well as literate systems of administration, and even in a written administration seals play their role as means of control of economic transactions. Sealed and inscribed clay nodules have been found in the palatial centres and sub centres on the Greek mainland in Mycenae, Tiryns, Midea, Pylos and Thebes, and the study of those sealings has made clear, how seals were employed at the interface between the administrative interests of the central palace administrations and persons and institutions outside the palaces. 4
The circulation of Aegean seals is almost confined to the Late Bronze Age Aegean, and only very few exceptional pieces have been found on the western coast of Asia Minor, in Cyprus and the Levant. This suggests that they were actually not considered as objects of trade and exchange. 5 The limitation of their distribution suggests that they were – to a certain extent – intelligible only to a restricted circle of users. If we take them as tokens of an administrative system, Aegean seals had bureaucratic limits of function; and this circumstance may be reflected by their geographical diffusion. 6
In Greece the northernmost examples come from the cist tomb cemeteries of Ag. Dimitrios, which lie on the northern slopes of mount Olympus on an inland route leading from western Macedonia to Thessaly. 17 steatite seals of the ‘Mainland Popular Group’ and one pressed glass seal come from a few tombs within two cemeteries of cist tombs 7. A tomb at Treis Elies contained a single seal which most likely belongs to the ‘Mainland Popular Group’. 8 A carnelian ‘Cut Style’ seal was found in a post-Bronze Age context at Dio, where it arrived under unknown circumstances at an unknown date. These 20 seals form a spatially and chronologically rather compact group. This suggests that seals did not arrive in the Olympos area by chance as a single find might imply, but are rather part of a larger distribution pattern which covers the Greek Mainland (plates 1–2). 9
Even the simplest seals – such as Mainland Popular Group seals, pressed glass seals or fluorite seals – did not travel beyond an imaginary border line across the river Aliakmonas. This appears remarkable since the cist tomb cemeteries at sites like Aiani and Ano Komi on the other side of the river are otherwise rich in objects of Mycenaean origin such as weapons and pottery, and grave gifts as well as burial customs are in many respects similar to those at Agios Dimitrios. 10 None such seals have been found in neighbouring Macedonia, Epirus, Albania or even further north in the Balkans.
The confines of seal distribution offer an indication of the territorial extent of political and economic control exercised by the Mycenaean palatial system. From written documents M. Liverani outlines the concept of borders and territorial control in Near Eastern states, where boundaries were recognised as a watershed for taxation. Even if geographical features like mountains or rivers offered a border line, territory was defined on the basis of people and places under the authority of the state. 11 Applying this perspective to Mycenaean Greece, the distribution of seals provides something like a spatial mapping of bureaucratic influence. Instead of drawing a precise boundary line, what mattered to the palatial system was to establish and make clear in which direction each settlement or group of people had to send its contribution in products and workforce. This leads to a definition of boundaries not as lines but as groups of settlements, which were politically and economically oriented towards the respective Mycenaean centre. A northern boundary of Mycenaean Greece can thus be tentatively established by following the limits of administrative reach as indicated by the seals.
Mycenaean Greece would thus include the northern part of Thessaly up to the Olympos region, whereas the Middle Aliakmonas would be already part of a different world. However, official symbols of the state are subject to widespread imitation and manipulation. 12 In order to underpin this concept of a northern frontier of the Mycenaean world, I started to consider other classes of evidence.
Burial customs offer an ideal test case: Both Thessaly and Macedonia share a tradition of single burials in cist and pit graves which continues in both areas into the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (see plate 3 for a distribution of cist and pit graves in the LH IIIA–B periods). 13 Thessaly, however, came under the influence from the southern Greek Mainland from the early Mycenaean period onwards. Following examples in the south various tomb types such as large and small tholos tombs, chamber tombs and built chamber tombs were adopted in Mycenaean Thessaly (see plate 4). 14 As far as the present state of research allows telling, Late Bronze Age tholos tombs, chamber tombs and built chamber tombs cover Thessaly from south to north. The blank in western Thessaly reflects more the state of research, and future archaeological investigations may well fill in this gap. In this case the absence of evidence is not sufficient evidence of absence.
Besides the area of Volos and Dimini, where up to now four large tholoi (diameter around 8 m) are known, the only other large tholos tomb stands in the western plain at Georgikon near Karditsa. 15 Earth cut chamber tombs are generally rare, but have been located in Kato Mavrolophos, Pherai, and Mega Monastiri and at Soufli magula near Larisa. Small built tholos tombs with a diameter between 3.0 and 5.0 m are much more popular and continue to be built and used also in the Early Iron Age. Late Bronze Age examples have been located at Pteleon, Anavra, Aerino and Koryphoula (on the southern end of the former lake Karla) in the south and in Gonnoi, Rachmani, Spilia and Bounarbashi in the north. 16 Finally, built chamber tombs, which correspond in size to these smaller tholoi, have been identified in Pharsala, Ag. Antonios and Aerino. 17 The built tomb in Rachmani is a dubious case, which could either have been a tholos or a chamber tomb. 18
All these various tomb types were used for multiple burials, probably as family tombs. They remained in use for generations over long periods of time, and in addition to the simpler and generally more modest single burials in cist and pit graves. Differences exist in respect to the expenditure on construction and size of the tombs, and also the variety of burial gifts displays differences in wealth. All these differences may be taken to reflect differences in social rank and suggest the existence of a quite pronounced social hierarchy. Despite the limited evidence from western and northern Thessaly, the distribution of tholos and chamber tombs suggests that Thessaly – including the Peneios-valley – was culturally integrated into a southern network and socially more differentiated than contemporary Macedonia.
In contrast, archaeological evidence from Macedonia suggests small scale patterns of settlement, each centred on individual habitation mounds, these typical toumbes, which form so characteristic features of the landscape in central Macedonia. Cemeteries seem to have been organised in clusters of cist and pit tombs, and tomb architecture as well as the comparatively limited variety of burial gifts suggest rather flat social hierarchies. 19 Tholos tombs and chamber tombs were apparently not adopted. 20
A look at the different traditions in the production and consumption of various classes of Late Bronze Age pottery in Macedonia on the one hand and in Thessaly on the other hand supports the view of a cultural border between these two regions. Here I owe much to the work of Barbara Horejs, who studied the various groups of handmade pottery from the toumba of Agios Mamas in the Chalkidiki and examined variances in the reception and distribution of the different handmade pottery classes in Macedonia, the inner Balkans and in the Aegean. 21 A border zone between “north” and “south” becomes visible only when one takes into consideration all the pottery classes which were in use in both areas in roughly the same period. If one looks at the distribution of Mycenaean painted pottery only, one gets the familiar picture of the diffusion of Mycenaean pottery from the southern Greek mainland into Macedonia. 22 In this respect southern West-Macedonia and the coastal regions around the Thermaic Gulf appear to have formed the zones of primary contact with the Mycenaean Aegean, and communication with Thessaly is almost implied by geographical proximity. 23 In the present context, however, it is important to look at the remarkable differences in the reception of different classes of pottery in Late Bronze Age Macedonia and Southern Greece.
Southern Greece had a strong MH tradition in the production and consumption of a variety of pottery classes, which included Grey Minyan and handmade mattpainted pottery during the Middle Bronze Age. At the beginning of the Late Bronze Age Mycenaean pottery formed only a small percentage of the whole pottery assemblage. 24 However, by LH IIIA2 Mycenaean pottery seems to have almost entirely replaced this variety by its famous koiné style of the palatial period.
Very much in contrast to the Mycenaean uniformity of the south, a high degree of variability in pottery production and consumption characterises the Late Bronze Age in Macedonia. Mycenaean pottery was at least from LH IIIA part of the local pottery repertory, but forms only a small percentage (5%) of the whole pottery assemblage. 25 But this is only true for Mycenaean decorated pottery, whereas unpainted Mycenaean pottery or cooking vessels were almost never integrated into Macedonian pottery traditions. 26
Mattpainted pottery forms a characteristic element of the regional cultures of Late Bronze Age Macedonia. It was inspired by prototypes from the south in the beginnings of the Late Bronze Age and continued to be produced in Macedonia throughout the Late Bronze Age, in contrast to the southern Greek mainland where it seems to have died out in the course of the palatial period. 27
Apart from these pottery classes which illustrate the strong influence from the south, a variety of unpainted handmade wares of local and Balcanic traditions was in use in Late Bronze Age Macedonia. These include bowls with wishbone handles, amphorai with conical necks, incised globular kantharoi and pyraunos-cooking pots, just to recall some of the more widely distributed shapes. 28 In contrast to the celebrated koiné on the southern Greek Mainland during the Mycenaean period of LH IIIA and B, contemporary Macedonian societies made use of a larger variety of pottery wares and shapes than ever before. 29 These differences in the range of pottery classes in use in Macedonia on the one hand and the more southern mainland on the other hand indicate that during the Mycenaean palatial period these regions were separated by different eating and drinking habits, and that differences existed in respect to social contexts of how and when which types of pots were used. 30
In the area between northern Thessaly and southern Macedonia several tomb contexts of the Late Bronze Age produced similar mixed assemblages of pottery groups. The cemeteries of cist and pit graves in the mountainous regions of the Olympos and the Chasia mountain range as well in the area of the Middle Alikamonas valley contained a mixture of Mycenaean pottery (mainly alabastra) with local handmade shapes and mattpainted handmade wares. This applies to the graves at Agrelia in the mountainous area of northwestern Thessaly as well as to the tombs at Spathes and Tou Lakkou t’Ambeli near Agios Dimitrios on the northern flank of the Olympos, and to those cist and pit graves which have been discovered at Aiani, Ano Komi and other sites along the middle course of the Aliakmonas, where the local mattpainted pottery covers an important section within the local range of pottery products. Mycenaean pottery makes up to 35 % of the pottery in these tombs. 31
In Mycenaean Thessaly only a limited number of data from tomb contexts and settlements exists which can be used to illustrate the intensity in usage and circulation of Mycenaean wares in comparison with other classes of pottery. According to the present state of research LH I pottery has not been recorded from Thessaly until now. A number of sites have produced LH IIB; 32 however, no clue exists to assess the relative share of other local wares which followed a MH tradition of pottery production. In the coastal area of the Pagasitic Gulf, at Pefkakia and Volos-Palia, these wares probably continued to be produced as late as LH IIIA1. 33 However, in the course of the palatial period (LH IIIA2–B) the usage of Mycenaean pottery at sites in the area of the Pagasitic Gulf appears to have followed consumption patterns which are familiar from the southern Greek mainland. The pottery from the complex of buildings at Dimini, which was destroyed at the end of LH IIIB and reoccupied in LH IIIC Early, illustrates the common repertory of shapes and decorative patterns of Mycenaean pottery of the palatial period. 34
Similar perspectives might apply to other settlements. Sites located in the interior plains of Thessaly such as Bounarbashi and Rodia in the area of Larisa in the north or Ktouri in western Thessaly have produced rich collections of Mycenaean pottery, although one has to take into account painful gaps in systematic archaeological investigations. The lack of stratigraphically well dobserved contexts makes it thus impossible to document the proportions of Mycenaean pottery in relation to handmade wares or to illustrate corresponding periods of circulation. However, a few data suggest different patterns of reception and use of Mycenaean pottery at these northern and western Thessalian settlement mounds on the one hand and their Macedonian counterparts on the other hand. Whereas Mycenaean pottery is abundant in the surface material from the magules of Thessaly, 35 the local pottery assemblages on the toumbes of Macedonia contain only small amounts of Mycenaean pottery in LH IIIA–B. In Macedonia Mycenaean pottery became more frequent only towards the end of the Late Bronze Age, although not all sites followed this general trend 36.
Also the consumption of unpainted Mycenaean pottery seems to have followed different rules in Thessaly from those in Macedonia: K. Kilian noted in his rather brief discussion of the survey material from the Bounarbashi magula the presence of large numbers of plain Mycenaean pottery which included unpainted kylikes. Unpainted Mycenaean pottery was also found on the magula of Ktouri. Unpainted and painted wheelmade Mycenaean pottery formed complementary parts of Mycenaean table wares on the southern Greek mainland, and the occurrence of both painted and unpainted Mycenaean pottery on these habitation mounds of Northern and Western Thessaly appears to conform rather to a southern pattern of pottery consumption. 37 In other words, although final confirmation through data from excavations is missing, the usage of Mycenaean pottery in Thessaly was probably modelled on Mycenaean eating and drinking habits of the south. In contrast, in Macedonia the integration of unpainted Mycenaean pottery into the assemblage of locally produced wares was limited to the extreme. 38
A few tomb contexts illustrate the pure Mycenaean character of Mycenaean burial gifts in Thessaly. The cist tomb cemetery of Nea Ionia in Volos comprises mainly the period LH IIB–IIIA1 and offers ideal conditions for studying burial assemblages. In respect to pottery, even in LH IIB burials received almost exclusively Mycenaean vessels, and mattpainted or other handmade pots form the rare exception to this general rule. 39 This pertains even more to the pottery which was buried in the chamber tombs from Mega Monastiri, Velestino-Pherai and Kato Mavrolophos or the tholos tombs near Pteleon (LH IIB–IIIC). Here the pottery is exclusively Mycenaean in character, and shape and decoration correspond to the repertory of Mycenaean vessels current in the south, even if a predilection for alabastra appears to be a Thessalian phenomenon. 40 No context appears to confirm the contemporaneous and joint deposition of handmade mattpainted and wheelmade pottery in tombs of LH IIIA–B Thessaly. 41
This holds true even further north in the Peneios valley, where three tombs at Spilia, Rachmani and Soufli magula have been documented with their contents. A burial in the tholos tomb at Spilia contained two alabastra of LH IIIA2 date, one knife, one needle, one steatite lentoid seal (which probably belongs to the Mainland Popular Group) and two whorls. 42 At Rachmani the gifts of a burial in a built tomb consisted of a LH IIIB amphoriskos, two seals, again of the Mainland Popular Group, and a glass relief bead. 43 A group of LH IIIA2–B alabastra belonged to the burial gifts of six burials in a chamber tomb at Soufli magula. 44 Neither mattpainted nor unpainted handmade pottery was found in these tombs, and in this respect burial habits seem to conform to southern standards.
Despite the uncertainties and gaps in the archaeological record the available evidence suggests that the northern and western plains of Thessaly were integrated into the Mycenaean koiné of pottery production and consumption of the Mycenaean mainland. Socially and ideologically this pattern of reception seems to be modelled on the production guidelines and consumption habits of the southern mainland. Things change further north in the mountainous regions of the Olympos and further west in the Chasia, where Mycenaean pottery formed only a component of the local pottery assemblage and was buried in tombs along with a range of handmade and mattpainted wares.
Apart from different traditions in pottery production and consumption in Macedonia on the hand and on the Mycenaean mainland on the other hand, also the distribution of prestige goods implies the existence of a North-South divide in the Mycenaean palatial period (LH IIIA2–B). While in the early Mycenaean period Mycenaean type swords arrived at places far in the Balkans, such exports seem to be missing to a large extent in the LH IIIA–B periods. This applies also to other Mycenaean prestige goods such as gold jewellery, glass relief beads and ivory works. 45 Taking into account the present state of research, in LH IIIA–B prestige goods of Mycenaean workmanship seem not to have travelled much further north than the Aliakmonas valley and thus confirm the postulated border area. The cemetery of Aiani close to the northern bank of the Aliakmonas and the one at Spathes on the northern flank of the Olympos yielded Mycenaean bronze swords, and according to its spiral decoration the cruciform sword from Aiani most likely came from a Mycenaean palatial workshop. 46 In addition, the tombs at Spathes contained glass relief beads and the seals of the Mainland Popular Group which I have mentioned before. 47
Kolitsaki was a site with Mycenaean finds near Servia on the right bank of the Aliakmonas where archaeological investigations took place 1985–86 before it was flooded by the artificial lake. Fragments of LH IIIB pottery belong to craters, skyphoi and a ceramic stand. They apparently do not represent burial gifts, but rather belong to the inventory of a settlement (or sanctuary). 48 Two fragments of wheelmade hollow figures are also part of this archaeological context. 49 They belong to feet of two hollow clay animal figures of the type which is known from Mycenaean sanctuaries and tomb contexts. 50 Now these new finds bear reference to the well-known and rather isolated find of a terracotta head from Ano Komi, which must have once been part of a wheelmade human figure of clay, 51 even if its date to either LH IIIB or IIIC remains open. Several Mycenaean figurines (of the standard types) have turned up outside the Aegean, especially in the Near East and in Asia Minor, and some in Agios Mamas in the Chalkidiki. However, wheelmade figures of humans and animals were apparently not exported and rather confined to the Aegean. 52 To my mind all these finds reflect a high density of various objects of Mycenaean origin in the area of the Middle Aliakmonas and imply an impact on a social as well as cultural level during the Mycenaean palatial period which is otherwise unknown from Late Bronze Age Macedonia.
Anthropological studies of border and frontier zones have taught us that political, ethnic or linguistic borders hardly appear as clear lines in the material culture, but rather as zones of cultural hybridization or creolization. 53 Communication across the border favours acculturation processes on both sides and creates haziness in the material record. What we actually find in the cemeteries of south-western Macedonia seems to correspond with this hybrid character of a border zone.
1. Cist tombs and pit graves at Agrelia, Aiani and Ano Komi contained local handmade wares and mattpainted pottery, Macedonian type pins and spear heads, and their material culture thus shows a strong Macedonian background. 54 The same applies to the cist tomb cemeteries near Agios Dimitrios on the slopes of mount Olympos which contained Mycenaean LH IIIA–B pottery and a few handmade vessels of local character. Pins are possibly missing there.
2. The high percentage of Mycenaean pottery, the presence of Mycenaean swords and daggers as well as the fragments of hollow wheel made figures which were found in Ano Komi and Kolitsaki near Servia illustrates a strong impact of Mycenaean material culture which is otherwise unknown from Macedonia in LH IIIA–B.
This blending of different cultural traditions results in the hypothesis of a boundary zone located between the northern plains of Thessaly and the Aliakmonas valley. The Pieria and Chasian mountain ranges formed the geographical massive barrier between two different systems, without preventing communication among individual groups. They separated the politically, economically and socially highly stratified systems of the Mycenaean world from the small scale societies of Late Bronze Age Macedonia. The presence of glass relief beads and 18 seals in the cist tomb cemeteries near Agios Dimitrios on the northern slopes of mount Olympos confirm a strong Mycenaean influence. Seals as well as glass relief beads were almost confined to the Aegean area and certainly were not produced for export purposes. 55 On the basis of these seals I would like to argue that the Olympos region was the northern outpost of the economic and social system, which we are used to connect with the Mycenaean palaces.
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* I would like to thank Barbara Horejs and Reinhard Jung for stimulating discussions and for letting me read and refer to several of their articles before publication.
1 See Wardle 1975; Feuer 1983, with a summary 179–200; Harding 1984, 235–244; Kilian 1976a; 1986; Bergonzi 1988 with a good review of scholarship; Kilian 1990; Feuer 1999; Touchais 2002.
2 This is part of my larger study carried out at the Mykenische Kommission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which is dedicated to the northern and western regions of the Greek mainland in the Late Bronze Age: Eder 2007a; 2007b and forthcoming.
3 Several thousand Aegean seals are collected and published in the CMS series, where volume V and its supplements pertain to the finds in Greek museums and collections. For a recent account on the seals of the so-called Mainland Popular Group, pressed glass seals and fluorite seals see Dickers 2001.
4 Palaima 2000a; 2000b; 1987. Thebes: Piteros, Olivier und Melena 1990; Aravantinos 1990. Pylos: Pini 1997; Flouda 2000. Mycenae: Müller, Olivier and Pini 1998. For a summary see Krzyszkowska 2005a, 284–300; see also Bennet 1989. On the mainland only palatial sites have produced clay nodules; cf. Hallager 2005, 248–249 fig. 4, 260; also Driessen 1996.
5 Cf. Pini 2005a, 778 n. 6; Krzyszkowska 2005a, 307–308; 2005b, 774; Darcque 2004, 50–51; Eder 2007 and forthcoming.
6 See Eder 2007a; 2007b.
7 Agios Dimitrios: Among 34 tombs of the cemetery at Spathes four cists contained twelve seals, while six seals come from one of two cist graves at Lakkou t’Ambeli. See CMS V Suppl. 1 A, 377–378, nos. 348–353 (tomb 2 at Lakkou t’Ambeli), nos. 354–365 (tombs 8, 21, 26, 30 at Spathes, no. 363 is a pressed glass seal).
8 Poulaki-Pandermali 1989, 324.
9 This appears even more clearly when compared to the almost random distribution of the about 20 Aegean seals which have been recovered from more than a dozen places in the Eastern Mediterranean and frequently come from post-Bronze Age contexts. For references see Pini 2005a, 778 n. 6; Krzyszkowska 2005a, 307–308; Eder 2007b.
10 Aiani and Ano Komi: Karamitrou-Mentesidi 1998; 2000; 2004.
11 Liverani 1988, 84–85; 2001, 52–65; Cherry 1987, 153.
12 Lightfoot and Martinez 1995, 480; Trinkaus 1984, 36–37; see also Cherry 1987, 152–159.
13 Cist and pit graves in Thessaly: Lewartowski 2000, 90–92 with references; Feuer 1983, 77–78 fig. 18; see also Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 214 fig. 6,1 showing a slightly incomplete distribution map of cist and pit graves on the Greek mainland in LH IIIA–B. For southern West-Macedonia see above n. 10.
14 Distribution map of tholos tombs, built chamber tombs and earth cut chamber tombs in LH IIIA–B: Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 216–217 fig. 6.2–3; see also Feuer 1983, 74–78 fig. 18.
15 References in Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 82: Tholoi no. 428 (Volos); no. 92 (Dimini A and B); no. 116 (Georgiko). An unplundered tholos tomb of LH IIIA1–2 date was recently discovered at the northern periphery of Volos: V. Adrimi-Sismani in Whitley 2005, 59–61 and in the present volume. For the tholos at Georgiko see most recently Intzesiloglou 2005.
16 References in Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 82: no. 19 (Anavra), 385 (Spilia), no. 336 (Pteleon), no. 341 (Rachmani), no. 121 (Gonnos). For Aerino see now Arachoviti 2000, 367–368; for Koryphoula see Adrimi-Sismani, Nkardalinou and Agnousiotis 2004.
17 References in Cavanagh and Mee 1998, 88: no. 248 (Mega Monastiri), no. 383 (Soufli magula). For the chamber tombs at Pheres and Kato Mavrolophos see Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou 1994; Arachoviti 2000 and Malakasioti 1992. Eder forthcoming will offer the full bibliographical documentation of each site.
18 Wace and Thompson 1912, 40–41; Feuer 1983, 76–77.
19 Andreou and Kotsakis 1999, 113; Andreou, Fotiadis and Kotsakis 2001, 307 (=1996, 585), 325–326; Andreou 2001, 169–171; see also Wardle 1997, 524–525. The production of a variety of pottery classes and their often quite different integration into the range of pottery groups, which were used in these small communities on the various settlement mounds of Macedonia, offer an idea of the small scale of the societies in question. Cf. Jung 2002b; 2004; Jung forthcoming a (on the local differences in the reception of Mycenaean pottery); Horejs 2005, 255–282; 2006, pl. V.a (on the small regional groups which can be distinguished on the basis of a stylistic evaluation of mattpainted pottery). The pit and cist tombs of Aiani and Ano Komi in south-western Macedonia show all more or less the same expenditure on construction, and also few and modest burial gifts do imply rather flat social hierarchies when compared to Mycenaean burials. Only few burials are distinguished by the deposition of bronze weapons: Karamitrou-Mentesidi 1998; 2000. However, Barbara Horejs points out to me in conversation that even the limited variety of burial gifts and their variance in numbers suggests the existence of hierarchically structured societies in Late Bronze Age south-western Macedonia.
20 This seems to be the case in the Late Bronze Age; however, in the EIA chamber tombs were apparently adopted at Kambos Phrouriou in the area of the middle course of the Aliakmonas and further northeast at Makrigialos/Pydna and Alikes Kitrous: Chondrogianni-Metoki 1997, 39–41; Besios 1991, 172.
21 Horejs 2007; 2005, 28–207 discusses various groups of handmade wares and pottery fabrics of Late Bronze Age Macedonia, 255–282 she illustrates and discusses the distribution of Late Bronze Age mattpainted pottery.
22 Horejs 2007, pl. V.a; cf. Touchais 2002, 202–203 fig. 1.
23 See also Jung 2005, 53 n. 48.
24 Dickinson 1989; Rutter 2001, 137. Mattpainted pottery in a MH tradition continued to be produced and consumed, at least as part of the pottery assemblage, in several areas of the Greek mainland until LH IIIA1: cf. Horejs 2003, 351–352.
25 Horejs 2003, 346; Jung 2003, 132; 2004, 212–213: e.g. in Kastanas the Mycenaean pottery in layers 16 to 13 (LH IIIA Late – IIIC Developed/Advanced) forms 6–20% of the whole pottery assemblage. See also Jung 2002a, 218–229.
26 Jung 2002a, 191–198; 2003, 132; 2004, 213–214.
27 Horejs 2003; 2005, 255–282; 2007; Hochstetter 1984, 181–188 with fig. 49.
28 Horejs 2007; 2005 offers a thorough dicussion of the various groups of Late Bronze Age handmade pottery from Ag. Mamas and their regional cultural context.
29 Horejs 2007; 2005, passim; percentage of Mycenaean pottery: Jung 2003, 132; 2004, 213–214.
30 On the basis of the ceramic evidence from Kastanas (LH IIIC Early) Jung 2002b, 41 discusses the differences in the use of Mycenaean versus mattpainted pottery and the implications for the different social and symbolic meaning of the two pottery groups.
31 Agrelia: Feuer 1983, 131–140. Spathes, Mycenaean and handmade pottery: Poulaki-Pandermali 1987a, 707 pl. 137, 2; 1987b, 203; see also eadem in Demakopoulou 1988, 135 no. 80–82; Ancient Macedonia 1988, 152–153 no. 60–61. Ano Komi, Aiani and other sites along the middle course of the Aliakmonas River: Karamitrou-Mentesidi 1998; 2000; 2004. Jung 2004, 36 calculates the percentage of Mycenaean wares in the tombs of Aiani and Ano Komi around 35 %.
32 Survey in Mountjoy 1999, 824, 827–835; Jung forthcoming b, fig. 2 illustrates the distribution of Early Mycenaean pottery in the North Aegean.
33 MH wares in Late Bronze Age levels at Pefkakia magula: Maran 1992, 174–176 (mattpainted pottery of the LBA), 306–309 (comparitive evidence from Eutresis), 353–355 (comparative material from the shaft graves at Mycenae), 373–374: „Die Laufzeit mattbemalter Keramik schließlich dürfte auf der Ostpeloponnes zumindest den Großteil der Stufe SH I umfassen, während sie in Mittelgriechenland und Thessalien sogar noch länger (wahrscheinlich SH II/IIIA1) andauerte.“ On mattpainted pottery in LH contexts on the Greek mainland see Horejs 2003, 351–352; 2005, 251–252, 274–276 with references.
34 Jung forthcoming a, fn. 25 with reference to Adrimi-Sismani 1999–2001, 95, 97 fig. 25.
35 In the course of his fieldwork Bryan Feuer observed large numbers of Mycenaean painted pottery on the surface of the magules Bounarbashi (Feuer 1983, 103) and Rodia (Feuer 1983, 113), which he describes in terms of density as 7–10 sherds per m2 (Feuer 1983, 96). Excavations at Ktouri magula in western Thessaly recovered also a rich collection of Mycenaean pottery. The pottery belongs to the LH IIIA–B periods and is not Submycenaean as Y. Béquinon suspects. Béquinon 1932, 147–174 documents Mycenaean and Protogeometric finds: „le site de Ktouri se révèle particulièrement riche en céramique submycénienne.“ (169); cf. also Feuer 1983, 95. On the date of the pottery from Ktouri (LH IIIA2–B) see Mountjoy 1999, 821–822; Kilian 1976b, 70.
36 See above note 25 .
37 Bounarbashi: Kilian 1976b, 68; Ktouri: Béquinon 1932, 168: „mais il se présente aussi des vases dépourvus de tout ornement.“ Cf. Jung 2002a, 191–192 with fig. 67, where he compares the proportions of painted and unpainted Mycenaean pottery from different settlements of southern Greece and Kastanas in Macedonia.
38 See above note 26 .
39 However, a jug from a LH IIB/IIIA1 context appears to continue a local tradition of MH mattpainted pottery: Batziou-Efstathiou 1991, 31–32 fig. 12, pl. 20 α–γ: jug BE 6173 from tomb 187.
40 For references to the individual sites see above notes 16–17; cf. Mountjoy 1999, 820–825.
41 A cist tomb at Dimini may form the exception to this rule; however, the effective number of burials remains unclear. One can thus not exclude the possibility that this tomb was used for more than one burial. Among two cist tombs at Dimini which yielded LH IIIA2 pottery, one contained also a mattpainted jug. Tsountas 1908, 150–152 fig. 64–67; for the date see Mountjoy 1999, 840, 842–843 fig. 339 Thessaly no. 74–75 (LH IIIA2). Mycenaean pottery (LH IIB–IIIB) and vessels with a rather MH appearence came from cist tombs near Larisa, but the context of the individual pieces remains entirely unclear. Feuer 1983, 102, 121; Theochari 1960; 1962, 40–46.
42 Soufli magula: Gallis 1973–74, 573–574 pl. 383α–γ; Feuer 1983, 68 fig. 14, 121, 123 figs 59–60 (LH IIIA2); Mountjoy 1999, 840–841 fig. 338 no. 69–70 (LH IIIA2), 846–847 fig. 341 Thessaly no. 97 (LH IIIB).
43 Rachmani: Wace und Thompson 1912, 40–41, 47–48 fig. 23e, 50 fig. 26 h–k; Mountjoy 1999, 845–846 fig. 341 Thessaly no. 89 (LH IIIB).
44 Spilia/Ossa: Theocharis 1969a; 1969b, figs 1–2; Feuer 1983, 104, 109, 108 fig. 37, 110 fig. 38; Mountjoy 1999, 840–841 fig. 338 Thessaly no. 67 (LH IIIA2).
45 Jung 2005, 53–57. Representative architecture, sculpture, frescoes and any evidence of literacy are absent from Late Bronze Age Macedonia anyway, but due to lack of research this applies also to Thessaly when one leaves the area around the Gulf of Volos. Our knowledge of the northern and western areas of Thessaly in the Late Bronze Age suffers from too little of excavations and surveys, and it is thus dangerous to base conclusions on the absence of data.
46 Aiani, cruciform sword (Type D according to Sandars): Karamitrou-Mentesidi 2000, 600, 606 fig. 11; Jung 2005, 53 n. 54. Two horned swords from Spathes near Agios Dimitrios: Poulaki-Pandermali 1987a, pl. 136.2, 137.2; Demakopoulou 1988, 136 nos 83–84. Note also the Mycenaean swords from the tombs at Agrelia: Feuer 1983, 132, 135 fig. 73; 136, 138, 139 fig. 78; Papadopoulos 1998, 20 pl. 13 no. 89; 27 pl. 20 no. 125; Kilian-Dirlmeier 1994, 46 pl. 15 no. 79.
47 Spathes: Poulaki-Pandermali 1987a; 1987b; see also the contributions of the excavator in the following publications: CMS V Suppl. 1 A, 377–378; Demakopoulou 1988, 135–137 no. 80–86; Ancient Macedonia 1988, 152–155 no. 60–63.
48 Karamitrou-Mentesidi 2004, 174–175, 188 fig. 15.
49 Karamitrou-Mentesidi 2004, 175, 189 fig. 17.
50 The geographically speaking nearest examples come from southern Thessaly: A hollow bull figure was found at Dimini: Adrimi-Sismani 1996, 1304 pl. V.15. A terracotta chariot model with two horses was recovered from a chamber tomb at Mega Monastiri, ca. 25 km north of Volos: Demakopoulou 1988, 131 no. 74.
51 Ancient Macedonia 1988, 136 no. 36: surface find from the location Zigres.
52 Distribution of Mycenaean figurines in the Near East: Leonard 1994, 137–141 and map 37; Pilali-Papasteriou 1998; Darcque 2004, 48–50. Jung 2004, 219 n. 75 mentions new finds of figurines from the toumba of Agios Mamas in the Chalkidike. Apart from a few exceptions wheelmade terracotta figures belonged to the inventory of Mycenaean sanctuaries: cf. Renfrew 1985, 413–416 fig. 10.1–2, 425–7 on the distribution of hollow terracotta figures; Kilian 1992; Müller 1992, 475–481 (Delphi). I would like thank R. Jung for pointing out to me the new find of a wheelmade terracotta bull at Troy, which despite Aegean prototypes was locally produced: Rigter und Thumm-Doğrayan 2004.
53 Lightfoot und Martinez 1995, 480–488: „Rather than lamenting the ‘noise’ commonly found in the material culture at the margins of social units, we should take advantage of this ambiguity in considering the implications of cross-cutting social networks and the creolization of cultural constructs (488).“ Ericson und Meighan 1984, 145: “People living along a ‘border’ (tribal, linguistic, or other) are often quite likely to interact with people on the other side, and are indeed more likely to interact with ‘foreigners’ who are close by than with their own people who are at a greater distance. (…) The effect of these social relationships was to ensure that people in a border area were apt to have relatives across the border, that is, people who had married into the next tribal or linguistic group. This clearly provided the social mechanism for contact and trade across tribal and linguistic boundaries. Once through the border zone, introduced goods and ideas had little difficulty in diffusing internally within the homogeneous tribal territory. Boundary arbitration through intermarriage would tend to create haziness in and along border areas. There would tend to be a hybridization of material items of the two groups in contact. This discontinuity in the material record might be useful in identifying the location of the border.” Cf. Gosden 2001. On the zonal character of borders in the Late Bronze Age Near East see Liverani 1988, 85–89.
54 Feuer 1983, 186–187; Jung 2002b, 45–46. Similar burial practices and similar assemblages of burial gifts have been documented in the area of the upper Axios/Vardar River valley, at Ulanci in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: see Mitrevski 2003, 46–52. Pins and spear points in the tombs of Agrelia: Feuer 1983, 135 fig. 73; 137 fig. 74, 76; 139 fig. 78; Ano Komi: Karamitrou-Mentesidi 1998, 463 fig. 13; 2000, 606 fig. 13–14 (Aiani); Jung 2005, 54–55 with n. 64–65.
55 See above note 5. On the geographically limited distribution of glass relief beads see Hughes-Brock 1999, 291; Nikita 2003, 32–3; Nightingale 1998, 217–20; cf. Matoïan 2003 (on Mycenaean glass relief beads from Ugarit).
Published also in: B. Eder, The Northern Boundary of the Mycenaean World, in: A.Mazarakis Ainian – Argyroula Doulgeri-Intzesiloglou (eds.), 2° Αρχαιολογικό Έργο Θεσσαλίας και Στερεάς Ελλάδας, /Πρακτικά επιστημονικής συνάντησης, Βόλος 16. – 19.3. 2006/ (forthcoming, submitted for publication December 2006).
Cite this article (MLA style):
Eder, B. “The Northern Frontier of the Mycenaean World*.” 3 Apr. 2008. In: Horejs, B. – Pavúk, P. (eds.): Aegean and Balkan Prehistory. http://www.aegeobalkanprehistory.net/index.php?p=article&id_art=11 (29 Aug. 2019).