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Constructing ‘Traditions’: Aspects of Identity Formation in the Southern Ionian Islands during the Late Helladic Period and the Iron Age

Issue: Vol 32 No. 1 (2019)

Journal: Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology

Subject Areas: Ancient History Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jma.39329


This paper focuses on the Late Helladic (LH) burial structures and related sacred areas of the southern Ionian Islands and considers how they served as diachronic markers of social space and active agents within the processes of individual and collective identity formation and negotiation. More specifically, it explores a series of examples depicting instances of manipulating memory and the past. I argue that Mycenaean burial monuments played an important part in the configuration of ideological narratives and the construction of traditions aimed either to affirm or to legitimise social status and socio-political hierarchies. Development of tomb and hero cults as interrelated phenomena with strategies of past manipulation are also discussed in detail. The chronological framework covers a broad period between the early LH and the Geometric period, and focuses on the island of Kefalonia, which includes the richest dataset.

Author: Ioannis Voskos

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