Unique archaeological evidence about Lynkestis
A very interesting paper about the “Cemetery of Archaic and Classical times of Achlada in Florina” was presented by archaeologist Liana Gelou (Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina) during the 30th meeting of the Archaeological Work in Macedonia and Thrace, which was organized by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Ministry of Culture. In her paper Mrs. Gelou referred to the finds of the excavations at the site.
|A cup in the shape of a ram head [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
In December 2014, underneath building remains dating back to the Roman period, an organized cemetery was located. The finds were impressive and shed light on hitherto unknown aspects of the civilization developed in Lynkestis during the Archaic and Classical times.
|A golden rosette found at the chest of the deceased [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
In ancient Greek literature we find very few references to ancient Lynkestis. In addition to that, up to now there were no archaeological finds to fill in the gaps of our knowledge about the area – in particular, during the period prior to the unification of the Macedonian state by Philip II. Until recently, due to this lack of data, it was assumed that the area had been socially and culturally isolated.
|Golden earrings [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
According to Strabo, the Lynkestai come from the tribe of Bacchiads, which were expelled from Corinth in mid-7th c. BC. The first known king of Lynkestis, in mid-5th c. BC, was the son of Bromeros, Arrhabaios I, the granddaughter of which is considered to be Euridice, mother of Philip II. This tradition has been preserved in myths and shows the relationship of Upper Macedonia inhabitants with the Northeastern Pelopponese and the descent of the royal houses (The royal house of the Temenides of Aigai, the Bacchiads of Lynkestis) from Hercules and Argos or Corinth respectively.
|A male and a female grave of the 5th c. BC. The had the same grave goods [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
Men were buried with their weapons, reflecting the ideal of the warrior, and women were buried with their jewelry. Warriors are accompanied by one or two spears or javelins, iron swords and knives, weapons implying real rivalry for dominion and the establishment of territorial possessions. Weapons, jewelry and golden foils characterize the gender and the social status of the deceased, while clay and bronze pottery, figurines and utensils are related to burial rituals and beliefs about the after-life.
|A Corinthian exaleiptron (a vase for ointments) [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
Furthermore, an abundance of bronze jewelry has been found. These include fibulae and pins, rings (simple or with depictions on the bezel), earrings and bracelets (simple or spiral ones).
|A triangular mouth-piece [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
By examining the Achlada pottery it can be concluded that the majority of the craftsmen were indigenous and had been influenced from big artistic centres, like that of Ionia, Corinth and Athens, areas with which the Macedonians had close trade relations. The local craftsmen adopted common types and motifs, the rendering of which depended on the extent to which the artistic trends had been assimilated and the local special characteristics and traditions. There were also foreign craftsmen, goldsmiths, potters, coropolasts, armorers etc. working in Macedonia during the Archaic times.
|Corinthian aryballos [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of Florina ]|
The finds of Achlada confirm the systematic commercial and cultural relations with important centres of south Greece and the colonies. These relations clearly influence the local production and show no differences to the cemeteries of the same period in the rest of the Macedonian territory.
Many answers were hidden in the soil of Achlada and the current research fills in the gaps of the written sources about the history of Macedonia and the national identity of Macedonians. Along with the finds of Aiani, the burial complex of Achlada enriches the archaeological map of the area, documents the historical knowledge and outlines the physiognomy of Hellenism of Upper Macedonia. The recent, unique in the area finds show vividly the unitary nature of Greek culture and prove that, parallel to the Macedonians of Lower Macedonia, the kingdoms of Upper Macedonia of the 6th and 5th c. BC are characterized by a robust economy, a high standard living and a high level of culture.
Paper presented in the 30th meeting of the Archaeological Work of Macedonia and Thrace
Source: Archaiologia Online [March 21, 2017]