Our final lecture for the 2012 – 2013 season is by Dr. R. Angus Smith, Classics at Brock University.
This paper concerns evidence for mortuary ritual from the Mycenaean cemetery of Ayia Sotira near Koutsomodi in the Nemea Valley. During the summers from 2006 to 2008 The Canadian Institute in Greece sponsored the excavation of this cemetery, which contains a total of six chamber tombs. One of these was rescued from looters in a 2002 salvage operation by the 4th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, and our project excavated the other five. The area, unfortunately, is one where illegal searching and excavation is a constant threat. As a consequence we have developed methods to recover as much information as possible, even of the most thoroughly ransacked remains. The chamber tombs at Ayia Sotira were family tombs that were used over generations, and contained multiple burials of men, women, and children. The associated pottery shows that the cemetery was used for about 150 years, or five generations, near the end of the Mycenaean period. The burial goods were modest, and consisted primarily of pottery with some figurines, jewelry, and other items. These modest tombs were undoubtedly associated with the nearby Mycenaean settlement of Tsoungiza, and offer a picture of the humble mortuary practices associated with this settlement.