This project combines the study of changing technologies of the body (the change from single, contracted, unfurnished inhumations to multiple, richly furnished and adorned burials, accompanied by the commingling of earlier remains) with changing technologies of grave construction (the change from small graves used once to large, deep graves with complex roof structures, especially designed to be re-opened and re-used over longer periods). The project will consist primarily of a biodistance analysis of the human remains in order to reconstruct kinship relations among multiple burials in the same tomb, or among clusters of tombs. The post-doctoral researcher will carry out, in the first instance, the biodistance analysis of the assemblage from the early Mycenaean North Cemetery at Ayios Vasileios, Laconia, Greece (the site which later became the palatial centre of Mycenaean Laconia). The analysis may be extended to include a restricted number of other Mycenaean assemblages to which the post-doctoral researcher has, or can arrange access. The post-doctoral researcher will also contribute to the study of the mortuary practices in the North Cemetery by integrating the results of their analysis with an investigation of the changing architectural design of the graves, focusing on technological solutions for the roof and entrance to the graves. The ultimate aim is to investigate how emerging social divisions between age, gender and status groups arise out of the traditional kinship structures, through which mobilisation of labour and the allocation of resources are channelled. The project therefore anchors social change as well as innovations in mortuary and construction practices in the traditional kinship structures of the Middle Helladic period.
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