Bioarchaeological field analysis of human remains from the mass graves at Phaleron, Greece

2019-11-07

Front cover of Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome 12, 2019Opuscula 12 (2019) is available for purchase at Amazon.com, Adlibris, and Bokus. Distributed by eddy.se ab at bokorder.se.

Bioarchaeological field analysis of human remains from the mass graves at Phaleron, Greece. With an introduction by Stella Chryssoulaki and an appendix by Anna Linderholm, Anna Kjellström, Vendela Kempe Lagerholm, and Maja Krzewińska

By Anne Ingvarsson (Gustavianum. Uppsala University Museum) & Ylva Bäckström (Lund University)

Abstract

In 2016, archaeological excavations undertaken by the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica, Piraeus and Islands 3.8 km south-west of Athens, Greece, revealed mass burials of 79 skeletons in three rows. The burials are dated to the 7th century BC. The anthropological field documentation was undertaken by The Swedish Institute of Athens, and followed established bioarchaeological protocols regarding taphonomic processes, age, sex, injuries, and pathological changes. The descriptions and interpretations should be regarded as preliminary field observations. A majority of the individuals were young adult or juvenile males, most of them without signs of active disease and with a generally good oral health status, but with corroded iron shackles around their wrists. Cause of death could not be determined although extensive and likely perimortem fractures were observed. The only object related to injury and/or possible cause of death was an arrowhead found in the chest of one of the skeletons. Why and where the individuals were killed is a matter of conjecture; the observations from the field documentation neither validate, nor disprove the hypothesis that these individuals were captives and victims of the so-called “Cylonian conspiracy” in the 7th century BC.

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Bibliographical information

Anne Ingvarsson & Ylva Bäckström, ’Bioarchaeological field analysis of human remains from the mass graves at Phaleron, Greece. With an introduction by Stella Chryssoulaki and an appendix by Anna Linderholm, Anna Kjellström, Vendela Kempe Lagerholm, and Maja Krzewińska’, Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome (OpAthRom) 12, Stockholm 2019, 7–158. ISSN: 2000-0898. ISBN: 978-91-977799-1-3. https://doi.org/10.30549/opathrom-12-02

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