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In the mid-ninth century BC, an expectant Athenian mother died before she could be safely delivered of her heir; she and her foetus were cremated and interred, in-urned in a pit, with a particularly elaborate range of offerings. In the late fifth century, an Athenian boy died on the verge of becoming a teenager and was also interred with an unusually varied grave goods assemblage. His burial was marked by a finely carved gravestone that characterised him as an athletic and muscular youth beyond his years. Both burials are stimulating case studies for investigating how lamented potential, at both extremes of the life cycle, impacted the construction of the burial record in Geometric, Archaic and Classical Greece. They, amongst others, are explored in this paper to discuss why burials of individuals that died around points of transition in their life courses were the burials most likely to engage with tenets of the extended life course concept, in ancient Greece. The focus is upon children, and material culture used to construct identities for them in burial contexts, in Athens across the ninth to fourth centuries BC.


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