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Book: Animal Iconography in the Archaeological Record

Chapter: Lions and Other Animal Representations Found in Funerary Contexts in Archaic Macedonia

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.38878


This article aims to present and discuss some of the animal representations found on grave goods dated from the sixth and fifth centuries BC in the region of ancient Macedonia. The burials excavated in this region contained numerous grave goods, but gold sheets are one of the few types of objects that were locally produced, specifically for funerary purposes. Different figures were engraved or embossed onto these prior to attachment on different items of clothing, shoes and armour (notably helmets, gloves and pectorals), equipping the deceased for their final voyage. The omnipresence of lion figures is particularly important as it is characteristic of the region. Lions were often depicted in symmetrical motifs, of which they occupied a central position, forming sometimes a heraldic composition. The variations in style observed could indicate the presence of different craftsmen in the region. Many aspects pertaining to the function and symbolism of these sheets are still to be explored, especially the way in which they could emphasise the social status of the deceased.

Chapter Contributors

  • Nathalie del Socorro ( - ndelsocorro) 'Universit√© Paris X Nanterre'