Mycenaean Tombs of Mazarakata

Archaeological Walk in the Mycenaean Mazarakata Cemetery

Five kilometers outside of Argostoli, going to Pessada, there are the Mazarakata Tombs found at the beginning of the 20th century. It is the largest cemetery of the Mycenaean period that its ruins bear witness to the Mycenaean civilization that flourished in this region.

In 1810, the first graves at Mazarakata were accidentally found by the British army Major Charles Philippe de Bosset. 

The findings, of an unknown culture at that time, came from, de Bosset, to his Neuchâtel Museum. From the same cemetery, systematic excavations continued on the island when the Dutch philander Goekoop demanded to prove that Cephalonia was Homer’s Ithaca.

Many excavations took place in 1908 and 1909 by Kavvadia, who together with Colonel De Bosset investigated 16 vaulted tombs and 83 burials. Under the graves there were roads and caves in which the deceased was carried. The shapes (square, table, elliptical) and the size (small, large) of the chambers vary. 

The mythology Kefalonia starts from Mesolithic (10000 – 6000 p . Ch .), Which existed in the area of the island plants which continued to Neolithic period as well in EH (2600-2000 BC) and Middle Helladic (2000-1600 e.g. , X ).

 In the region of Skala and Sami have found several stone tools from silicate or obsidian . Few archaeological traces have left the first two periods of copper . Intense activity was observed in the Mycenaean period, which shows a number of vaulted or carved graves on the island, the most important being found in Mazarakata, Metaxata, Lakithra, Diakata Krania and Palitos Contoenada.

Kefalonia and the other islands of the region were combined, due to the existence of Mycenaean finds, with a large Mycenaean kingdom of maritime character, whose name until today remains unknown. Perhaps the archaeologists say, an area called “Tomb” (in Paliki there is the name Tafios). The rulers of this kingdom were descended from Perseus, the legendary king of Mycenae. As the legend tells us, the kings of Mycenaean Kefalonia claimed the reign of the Mycenaeans, and for this purpose a campaign against the islands was attempted with Amphitryon, in which Kefalos took part from the Thorikos of Attica and Elisos from the Elos of Messinia. The aim was the Taffy and the Televeys.

Mycenaean period

The period, covering the second half of the 2nd millennium BC called Late Helladic or Mycenaean, the island was inhabited to a large extent. Relics of Mycenaean settlements were found on the southern foothills of Krani hill, Theodori of Sami and recently near Poros on the southeastern side of the island.

The dispersion of Mycenaean civilization across Kefalonia is testified by the finding of tombs (vaults and thalamotes) of this era in all areas of the island. Small built vaulted tombs have been found in Kokolata and Mazarakata of Krani, as well as in Makrata and Poros in the region of Proron.

Poros’ tomb, excavation research and discovery by Mr. L. Kolonas outperforms the others in size, in use and in importance. Thracian tombs clusters, dug in the rock, have also been found in many locations of Kranea (typical of Mazarakota tombs) and Paliki, west of the island.

The contents of the graves were the gifts of the dead, consisting of clay pots and vessels, bronze weapons and tools, and jewels of gold, copper, electro and glass, as well as seals of semi-precious stones.

Mycenaean Tombs of Mazarakata

The public utilities that the English conquerors of Cephalonia wished to build in the 19th century led to the discovery of the Mycenaean tombs of Mazarakota, the largest Mycenaean cemetery in the Ionian Sea near the Mazarakata area in Leivathos. The Swiss Deputy Governor, De Bosset (best known for the construction of the Argostoli Bridge, which was named after him) in 1813, excavated the area to save limestone for road pavement.

On Anglican rule, four of the seventeen Mycenaean tombs of Mazarakata were violated and the finds were held by  De Bosset . They are to date the museum  Neuch a tel  , Switzerland, where donated. 

The great Kephalonian archaeologist Panagis Kavvadias dealt with the Mycenaean tombs of Mazarakata in 1899 and until the beginning of the 20th century he had explored the 4 tombs discovered by  De Bosset  and brought to light another 12. The 17th tomb was discovered accidentally in 1951 and was investigated by the archaeologist of Kefalonias Spyros Marinatos. 

The Mazakrakata Mycenaean tombs are carved in the natural rock, underground and do not have the same shape and size. Burying pits also vary. As in the Mycenaean period prevailed the custom of redeeming, each tomb was used many times. The golden finds in the carved vaulted tombs indicate the existence of rich Mycenaeans.


The cemetery, because it was intact, is of great importance. Many references were made to Homer’s books about the cephalonic cemeteries that were confirmed after that which came to light.

Original Source: Kefalonian Paths  Author Anna Charoni

 

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