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                             Funerary Assemblages from Grave Circle B
Mycenaean death mask


Grave Gamma, one of the largest graves in Grave Circle B, contained one female and three male inhumations. It was marked by a stone stele with relief decoration depicting an armed man attacking a lion. The skull of one of the inhumations, which belonged to a twenty-eight years-old male, had been operated on by trephination, possibly to treat a haematoma. This is one of the earliest known examples of such surgical intervention in Europe and one that required medical knowledge, great courage and skill. Among the many grave gifts of Gamma were a death-mask made of electrum (gold and silver alloy), a beautiful amethyst stone seal with an engraved representation of a male head, two gold cups and bronze weapons.

Grave Delta contained three inhumations with grave gifts consisting mostly of armour. One of the most important finds is a long bronze sword with gold revetment, which ends in two opposed lion heads on the hilt. Swords (both long and short), bronze machetes, daggers, spear-heads, and stone arrow-heads furnish the warriors of the Shaft Grave period.

Grave Omicron belonged to a woman whose many grave gifts included gold jewelry, diadems with repousse decoration and necklaces. This grave is conventionally named 'the Grave of the crystals', owing to its exquisite duck-shaped rock-crystal kymbe and bronze pins with ornate rock-crystal heads. Of particular interest are the semi-precious stone necklaces, as well as one made of amber, precious material imported from north-western Europe.

The architectural type of Grave Rho, which is the latest of these graves (15th cent. BC), seems to reproduce Near Eastern prototypes and is another proof of the contacts between the Mycenaeans and the Eastern Mediterranean civilizations. This grave comprised a built chamber, which was accessed by a covered dromos (entrance passage). Very few grave gifts escaped looting.  





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