This thesis applies approaches from the disciplines of classical archaeology and anthropology to investigate representations of social identity via burial practices, especially grave goods. I focus on female burials of the 9th-7th centuries BCE from two important communities in the Mediterranean. One is a burial dated to 850 BCE found in the Agora of Athens in Greece. Three additional burials come from the cemetery of the 8th-7th centuries BCE at Pithekoussai, the earliest documented Greek settlement in southern Italy, on the island of Ischia. I provide a thorough investigation of the burials, focusing on the treatment of the corpse after death, the preserved remains of the deceased, the grave goods placed within the burial, and the context of the burial within the society as a whole. Using material evidence and anthropological theory, I demonstrate that these burial practices, particularly the grave goods, result from very different social contexts: the community at Athens functioned as a socially stratified hierarchical society, whereas the community at Pithekoussai, believed to be established as a trading settlement, was less socially rigid. Using the social identity of the deceased to understand social structure also allows us to understand the motivations and actions of the living towards the dead. In so doing, this study of the relationship between death rituals and social identity broadens how we should view death in the ancient world.