Ancestors, Warriors, Looters: Aidonia And The TAPHOS Project
AIA Society: Dallas/Ft. WorthLecturer: Kim Shelton
This elaborately illustrated lecture will present the preliminary results of the current (2015-2019, 2021) excavations of the TAPHOS project (Tombs of Aidonia Preservation, Heritage, exploration Synergasia) at the Late Bronze Age cemetery of Aidonia in the southern Corinthia, Greece. The Mycenaean cemetery of Aidonia, discovered through looting followed by excavation in the 1970s and 1980s, consists of multi-burial chamber tombs with material dating from the early 15th to late 13th centuries BCE. The tombs are remarkable for the high quality of construction and for the precious and numerous contents of the burials, including the so-called “Aidonia Treasure,” a group of objects that appeared illegally on the antiquities market during the 1990s.
This cooperative effort between the Corinthian Ephorate of Antiquities and the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology (UC Berkeley), a recipient of the AIA Site Preservation Award, was initiated in 2014 due to the resumption and intensification of looting over the last few years. A pilot survey and mapping of the Aidonia hillside, revealed not just one, but three distinct cemeteries, and more than 30 examples of illicit activity. Recent excavation in all three cemeteries is presented here with undisturbed evidence of warrior graves and a variety of mortuary traditions that indicates a changing relationship to the ancestors, together with the destruction to tombs and remains from later site use and looting.
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