Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Art and Art History

First Advisor

Brian Madigan


Literature and archaeological findings have been valuable resources for understanding how the ancient Athenian buried the dead. Grave excavations tell historians a great deal about burial practices. However, so much more can be learned about these practices through the art found in graves. The painted image not only tells us what occurred on the day a person died and his subsequent burial, but it even illustrates the years of mourning which followed for the living. These vessels chronicle the importance people placed on the varying aspects of death and the funeral ritual. From the Geometric period of the tenth century through the fifth century Classical era, we know burial rituals remained the same, but what people memorialized on funeral goods changed from generation to generation. Athenian cemeteries have provided a substantive body of material that bears witness to how the ancient Athenian's view of death changed over the centuries-and with this change, the pottery market thrived.