Hittite Seals, with particular reference to the Ashmolean Collection. By D. G. Hogarth. Pp. 108, folio, 10 plates, 115 text-illustrations. Oxford: The University Press, 1920. £3 13s. 6d
Journal of Hellenic Studies
island of Mochlos, not far off, was in Minoan days not an island at all but a peninsula, joined to the land by a small isthmus, on either side of which was a harbour. And on the larger isle of Pseira, off the coast, which of course was always an island, the houses of the ancient town descend from the hill into the sea, and from a boat one can look down into the dwellings of the Minoan inhabitants. ' The cemetery seems to have continued in use from very early times down to the L.M. I. period.
... L.M. I. period. The discovery of child burials in B.M. III. pots, a small oval larnax of apparently the same date, and a few stone vases of the eai'ly type sufficed to show that the first burials were contemporary with those discovered at Mochlos, Pseira, and the Gournia cemetery at Sphoungaras.' But ' whereas at Mochlos and Pseira the greater number of graves dated from the E.M. period, here the M.M. I., M.M. III., and early L.M. I. periods play the most important, part in the history of the cemetery.' As at Sphoungaras, and in contrast to Mochlos and Pseira, the paucity of small objects found with the dead is notable ; the majority of burial jars containing nothing but fragmentary human remains. No seal-stones were found. Mr. Seager gives some admirable reproductions of the best burial jars, which add many fine examples of Minoan ceramic decoration to the great number already known. The jar with the shoal of dolphins (Plate XIV.) is very fine, and Mr. Seager with it publishes, by permission of Sir Arthur Evans, who has not yet published it himself, the splendid fresco of dolphins and fish found in the Palace of Knossos. Both are of the M.M. III. period. Another good dolphin vase, of the transition from M.M. III. to L.M. I., is published in colour on Plate IX. Of all the vases published in the twenty-one plates the photographs and colour reproductions are excellent. A notable feature of the necropolis is the evidence of the disregard of the Minoans for the graves of their forebears that it shows. Earlier interments were ruthlessly broken up and shoved out of the way to make room for new ones. The burials were primary, that is to say, the bodies were placed in the jar soon after death and left there, trussed up in a sitting position. They were put into the jars head downwards, and the jar was then placed on the ground bottom up. All the jars are small, and considerable force must have been used to cram the bodies into them. Secondhand or broken jars were often considered good enough for the dead. There was apparently no mark above ground of the existence of a cemetery. We gain an interesting insight into the burial customs of the lesser folk of Minoan days from this excavation, and on this account it is worthy of special remark.