The present dissertation is focused on the 'hypogeic phenomenon' that spread across the south-eastern part of Italy during the Bronze Age. Two main discussion areas are covered: the shift from cultual to funerary use of the hypogeic structures, and their social value.
During the IV - III millennium a.C, hypogeic structures were probably used by some households as locations related to some sort of ancestors' cult. The author argues that, eventually, during the Bronze Age these places were re-used as funerary spots due to the competition between families for supremacy among the community. Grave goods indirectly seem to confirm this assertion: in some of these structures it was possible to find burials with a rich supply in the central area, while individuals placed in more peripheral zones of the structure were not associated with any grave-goods. In the Late Bronze Age, the deposition of grave-goods stopped, and in this same period communities started to adopt incineration as primary funerary rite.
The author thinks that the social context that produced these structures was featured by a a stable differentiation between ruling members and subordinated people.
AUTHOR: Veronica Lia
REFEREE: Alberto Cazzella
UNIVERSITY: Sapienza Università di Roma. Department of Scienze dell'Antichità.
DATE OF GRADUATION: 2014