ΤΑ ΟΣΤΑ ΜΙΛΟΥΝ: PRELIMINARY ANALYSES OF CLASSICAL AND HELLENISTIC PERIOD (490-146 BCE) BURIALS FROM ATHENS, GREECE Open Access

Marklein, Kathryn Elaine (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/736664585?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract
ΤΑ ΟΣΤΑ ΜΙΛΟΥΝ: PRELIMINARY ANALYSES OF CLASSICAL AND
HELLENISTIC PERIOD (490-146 BCE) BURIALS FROM ATHENS, GREECE
By Kathryn E. Marklein
The Classical period, between the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, in Ancient Greece is
recognized as a "Golden Age" and characterized by an influx of creative thought, artistic
achievements, and economic prosperity. This cultural burgeoning and economic
prosperity also resulted in a marked improvement in measures of overall health that
continued into the Hellenistic period, preceding Greece's eventual absorption into the
Roman Empire. Analyses of contemporary skeletal samples suggest increases in
nutritional diversity and longevity as well as a reduction in various skeletal stress
markers. As a contribution to this growing body of knowledge, this study presents a
synthesis of artifactual, stratigraphic, and skeletal evidence for eleven previously
unpublished burials recovered from four Classical and Hellenistic-era, extramural
archaeological sites in Athens that have been under continuous excavation for the past
twelve years. These sites have yielded fragmentary (N=5) skeletal individuals dated to
Classical period and both individual (N=4) and commingled remains (MNI=17) from the
Hellenistic. Results are reported from macroscopic and radiographic analyses of growth
patterns, skeletal stress indicators, and evident pathologies. Interpretation of these
findings in relation to historical material on contemporary Classical and Hellenistic
Greece, and specifically on Athens, informs us that these skeletons fall within the
historical norms of social, ecological, and demographic trends of the designated periods.
Biosocial implications of recorded pathologies address issues of disability, oral hygiene,
and chronic disease. In addition to the skeletal analysis, artifacts and grave practices
factor into the identification of these Classical and Hellenistic individuals. By presenting
novel osteological evidence from several Classical and Hellenistic sites, this study further
contributes to the growing bioarchaeological literature on life and health in the ancient
Greek world.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………..1
Background
Introduction to bioarchaeology through an archaeological lens…………………..3
The innovation and influence of J. Lawrence Angel……………………………...5
Historical and ecological backdrop of Athens…………………………………….7
Religion, death, and burial throughout the Classical and Hellenistic periods…...14
The Sites…………………………………………………………………….……17
Methods…………………………………………………………………….…………….19
Results
Individual burials………………………………………………………………...20
Commingled burials……………………………………………………………...22
Cremations……………………………………………………………………….26
Discussion
Age at death……………………………………………………………………...28
Cremation………………………………………………………………………...28
Grave goods: Presence and purpose……………………………………………..30
Biocultural implications of pathologies………………………………………….32
Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………….38
References………………………………………………………………………………..40

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