Institute of Archaeology


Cristina Ichim

The Kylix, the Chamber Tomb and the Boar's Tusk Helmet: Processes of Cultural Affiliation in the Middle and Late Bronze Age Southern Aegean


Email: cristina.ichim.13@ucl.ac.uk
Section: World Archaeology


The Kylix, the Chamber Tomb and the Boar's Tusk Helmet: Processes of Cultural Affiliation in the Middle and Late Bronze Age Southern Aegean

Throughout the Middle and Late Bronze Age (c. 1750-1200 BC) communities across the southern Aegean exhibit an intensifying convergence of cultural characteristics, often referred to via the modern terms 'Minoanisation' and 'Mycenaeanisation'. These cultural and historical processes are generally seen to represent either emigrating Cretans and Greek mainlanders, or the active negotiation and adoption of externally derived cultural elements and practices by local communities at what are consequently to be viewed as 'Minoanised' and 'Mycenaeanised' communities. These two main opposing perspectives - the colonialist and post-colonialist views - fail, however, to account for the role of the '-ised' communities in the formation or transformation of the 'Minoan' and 'Mycenaean' cultures and the impact this interaction had on the perceived cultural core communities on Crete and the Greek mainland. The core-periphery model inherent in both these views sees a 'Minoan' and 'Mycenaean' core area as generating the full range of cultural and ethnic markers, circumscribed by concentric zones of decreasing integration; this is problematic as it has the effect of homogenising cultural variability and masking the variable processes involved in the creation of cultural and ethnic identities.

Instead of viewing these processes of cultural affiliation as outward flows of cultural influence, my project proposes to evaluate the counter-value of a de-centred model - in many ways both formally and informally, a network model - that sees communities across the southern Aegean both partaking in and contributing to the development of a differentially shared cultural discourse, what to date have been simplified as the 'Minoan' and 'Mycenaean' cultures. Through an exploration of funerary behaviour (tomb architecture, burial assemblages, and mortuary practices) from c. 1750 BC to 1300 BC across the southern Aegean, my project documents and analyses the rich diversity of cultural expressions and eclectic borrowings in the mortuary sphere with the purpose of unpacking the underlying complex processes of cultural affiliation known as 'Minoanisation' and 'Mycenaeanisation' and questioning the extent to which the two are part of a longer-term pattern of shifting interaction rather than two discrete and separate phenomena.


  • UCL Graduate Research Scholarship
  • UCL Overseas Research Scholarship


  • MA, Archaeology, UCL, 2014
  • Hon. BA, Archaeology and Classics, University of Toronto, 2013
    Conference papers

    Knappett, C. and C. Ichim, 2015,'Sets as nets: configuring artefact associations as networks to reveal functional sets', paper presented at Digging a Vertex, Finding the Edges: Approaches to Social Network Analysis in Archaeology, International Workshop July 3-4, Cologne, Germany.