Archaeologist Michael Galaty on "Making Memories"

How does the memory of a culturally significant site persist across thousands of years? Archaeologist Michael Galaty (University of Michigan) explores this question in a free public talk entitled "Making Memories: The Strange Case of the Mycenaean 'Ossuary' at Final Neolithic Ksagounaki, Mani, Greece."

In 2013, Diros Project members excavating at Final Neolithic Ksagounaki (occupied 4250-3800 BC), located outside the remarkable Neolithic cave site of Alepotrypa in Mani, Greece, revealed a circular monument that had been inserted into the existing settlement/mortuary complex, truncating several burials. To our surprise, the monument - an "ossuary" - was filled with secondarily deposited bones and Mycenaean artifacts from the Late Helladic III A-B phase (circa 1400-1200 BC). We now believe the ossuary was built in a single construction phase and that the builders had some knowledge of Ksagounaki, which attracted them to the location, and, perhaps, a cultural memory of the cave, which had been destroyed by an earthquake and sealed shut sometime after 3800 BC, almost 3000 years earlier. The Ksagounaki ossuary is unique in the Mycenaean world, and the origin of the bones and artifacts found within remains a mystery, deepened by the fact that there are no known Mycenaean sites anywhere in the Inner Mani.  

Michael Galaty is Director of the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology and Professor of Anthropology and Classical Studies at the University of Michigan.

Making Memories is part of an ongoing series of archaeology talks presented by the Kentucky Society of the Archaeological Institute of America with support from the University of Louisville Departments of Anthropology and History. For more information about the series, visit

Friday, September 13, 2019 at 6:00pm

University of Louisville Center for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 1606 Rowan Street, Louisville, KY 40203

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Students, Faculty/staff, Alumni, Public


Arts & Sciences, Anthropology, Classical/Modern Languages, Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, English, Fine Arts, Hite Art Institute, History, Honors, Humanities, Liberal Studies, College of Arts & Sciences



free and open to the public


archaeology; anthropology; history; ancient Greece

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