A comparative study of burials in the eastern Mediterranean : the late Bronze through Early Iron Age
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During the Bronze Age, a complex regional system of trade catalyzed by the Mediterranean Sea arose and connected distant lands. The Eastern Mediterranean and Near East made up the core of this system. The system collapsed at its apex in ca. 1200 BCE. Through a diachronic study of burials during this transitional period, a better understanding of the effects of this collapse had on the people can be found. Mortuary practices are a representation of social identities and through the study of these practices in the generalized areas of Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, Cyprus, Crete, and Mainland Greece reaffirms the uneven collapse in the Eastern Mediterranean. Each region exhibited a distinct style of burial in the Late Bronze Age with a noted shift in most regions from individual burial practices to group burials in the Early Iron Age. This indicates a shift in identity, possibly with an increase in importance of group identity. An overall decline in grave goods represents the system collapse, while the transformation of burial practices indicates a change in social perceptions.