Religious Hierarchy in Ancient Mycenae: A Contextual Analysis of Figurine Production at Petsas House

Samantha Alford : Classical Languages/Anthropology

Mentor: Professor Kim Shelton

Figurines in the shape of humans, animals, and inanimate objects, such as furniture, have been found in excavations throughout the archaeological site of Mycenae, a Bronze Age settlement and palatial center. Samantha will investigate the production patterns of these figurines by analyzing archaeological data from a Mycenaean ceramics center, Petsas House. By comparing these figurines to those from other Mycenae excavation sites, she will attempt to make inferences about the distribution of figurines and the social structure of Mycenae. Previous scholarship has suggested that Mycenaean religion was socially stratified, with figurines being a main expression of “popular” religion. Samantha’s main research will determine whether Petsas House produced its figurines in accordance with an official, elite religion, or, conversely, if Petsas House produced for the “common” people and cult.