Society’s elites often find ways to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world, from purple-trimmed togas and medieval castles to first class seats and designer labels. The phenomenon dates back centuries.
An international team led by Aleydis Van de Moortel, professor and head of the Department of Classics, has discovered some of the earliest evidence of how aspiring leaders of Bronze Age Greece reshaped their society to set themselves apart from other people. Those ways included the use of chariots, burial practices, and architectural design.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently featured the project in this story.
Van de Moortel and her team excavated the small Greek island of Mitrou, which is on the Gulf of Atalanti about a hundred miles north of Athens. Just 1,100 feet long and 600 feet wide, the excavation site served as a local administrative center that linked trade routes between the Eastern Balkans and the larger settlements in Greece. Mitrou provides important lessons for archaeologists interested in Greek elites and social and commercial development across the region.