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Crete beyond the Palaces

Crete beyond the Palaces

Leslie Preston Day
Margaret S. Mook
James D. Muhly
Volume: 10
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 340
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  • Book Info
    Crete beyond the Palaces
    Book Description:

    This volume presents the papers from the conference "Crete 2000: A Centennial Celebration of American Archaeological Work on Crete (1900-2000)," held in Athens from July 10-12, 2000. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) Study Center for East Crete organized the conference. Scholars participating in the American and joint Greek-American excavations on Crete or studying material from these excavations were invited to present papers at the conference. The volume is divided into the following sections: Trade, Society and Religion, Chronology and History, Landscape and Survey, and Technology and Production.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-087-2
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Leslie Preston Day
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. Conference Program Crete 2000: A Centennial Celebration of American Archaeological Work On Crete (1900–2000)
    (pp. xix-xxii)
  8. Opening Remarks
    (pp. xxiii-xxvii)
  9. Introduction History of American Excavations on Crete
    (pp. 1-18)
    Geraldine C. Gesell

    The Crete 2000 conference was a celebration of the American archaeological work in Crete between 1900 and 2000. This historical review emphasizes the work and experiences of the early American excavators on Crete, particularly Harriet Boyd Hawes (Fig. 1), Richard Seager (Fig. 2), and Edith Hall Dohan (Fig. 3), who worked in the first decade of the century. Other authors in this volume show how those who work in Crete today have taken the results and conclusions of these pioneer archaeologists as a base and are building on it. Contributors also consider the results of excavations in other parts of...


    • 1 Pseira and Knossos: The Transformation of an East Cretan Seaport
      (pp. 21-28)
      Philip P. Betancourt

      Pseira is a small island off the coast of Crete on the eastern side of the Gulf of Mirabello. It has a Minoan town of substantial size, which was excavated in two campaigns. Richard Seager (1910) examined it in 1906 and 1907. More recently, the settlement has been investigated in a synergasia directed by Costis Davaras and the author (Betancourt and Davaras, eds., 1995; 1998; 1999; 2002; 2003; Floyd 1998; McEnroe 2001). The early excavations uncovered portions of more than fifty structures, and the modern project excavated six buildings in the town.

      Fundamental changes can be recognized at Pseira between...

    • 2 The Incised and Relief Lily Jars from Mochlos
      (pp. 29-42)
      Thomas M. Brogan

      For most of the 20th century, excavators of Minoan sites have relied heavily on decorated pottery (most often fine wares) to address questions of chronology and ceramic production and exchange. Given the more detailed excavation methods now employed at most prehistoric Cretan sites (e.g., the aim to recover 100% of the material record and process complete ceramic assemblages), it will come as no surprise that approaches to Minoan pottery are changing. One gauge is provided by the heightened value that scholars now assign to pottery in coarse fabrics (e.g., Moody 1985, 51–65; Haggis and Mook 1993, 265–293). With...

    • 3 Kommos: The Sea-Gate to Southern Crete
      (pp. 43-52)
      Joseph W. Shaw

      Kommos (Fig. 3.1), a harbor-town like Ugarit in Syria or Kition in Cyprus, can serve as a focus for study of east-west connections (see also Shaw and Shaw, eds., 1996, 8–11, 379–398; and, after which this now updated article is taken, Shaw 1998). At Kommos, evidence for interconnections covers a broad spectrum from ca. 1800 b.c. to 600 b.c., some 1200 years. The site was first settled in MM IB. The two major periods are Minoan and Greek (Fig. 3.2). For the Middle and Late Bronze Age, there are three large civic buildings, at least partially designed for...

    • 4 A Possible Minoan Harbor on South Crete
      (pp. 53-60)
      Elpida Hadjidaki

      The recent discovery of a group of three stone anchors off the coast of Crete, combined with the evidence for a possible Minoan harbor on the south coast of the island, provide new insights into the nature and extent of Minoan seafaring and trade. This paper will discuss two finds with a bearing on Minoan seafaring and trade. Since as yet we have conducted only surveys in the tentative harbor area, many questions still remain to be resolved.

      Very few prehistoric anchors have been found on Crete. Frost (1963, 38) identified a pierced, gray pebble-stone found in the sea at...


    • 5 The ʺBig Houseʺ at Vronda and the ʺGreat Houseʺ at Karphi: Evidence for Social Structure in LM IIIC Crete
      (pp. 63-80)
      Leslie Preston Day and Lynn M. Snyder

      We are indebted to the early archaeologists on Crete for first revealing the islandʹs cultures and for establishing the basic chronology, but the limitations of their work are evident today because of the expansion of knowledge from a century of excavation and survey and advances in archaeological methods and theory. A good example of both the value and limitations of the pioneer work on Crete can be seen in the excavations of Harriet Boyd (Hawes) at Vronda Kavousi over a hundred years ago, and the comparisons provided by more recent investigation of the site. The material recovered from the new...

    • 6 Gournia, Vronda Kavousi, Kephala Vasilikis: A Triad of Interrelated Shrines of the Expiring Minoan Age on the Isthmus of Ierapetra
      (pp. 81-90)
      Theodore Eliopoulos

      By rare luck, excavators over the last century have brought to light, in a geographical radius of only 3 km, three shrines belonging to the last days of Minoan civilization. American excavations at Gournia at the beginning of the 20th century and at Vronda Kavousi towards its close, and the excavation of the East Crete ephoreia at Kephala Vasilikis in 1994–1996 (Fig. 6.1), have provided the opportunity not only to study these shrines as individual buildings and as part of their urban and geographical settings, but also to investigate their relations to neighboring shrines and other contemporary religious buildings....

    • 7 The Architecture of the Late Minoan IIIC Shrine (Building G) at Vronda, Kavousi
      (pp. 91-102)
      Nancy L. Klein

      When Harriet Boyd began to excavate at Kavousi in 1900, she was among the first to investigate the archaeological sites of Eastern Crete. At that time, the scholars involved with the fledgling study of Aegean prehistory were occupied with the tasks of preliminary identification and classification not only of sites, but of pottery and architecture. Boydʹs work at Vronda brought to light remains from the Bronze to Early Iron Ages and initiated a discussion of this transitional period after the fall of the Minoan palaces. Although she did not produce a plan of the site, she seems to have concentrated...

    • 8 Halasmenos, Destroyed but not Invisible: New Insights on the LM IIIC Period in the Isthmus of Ierapetra. First Presentation of the Pottery from the 1992–1997 Campaigns
      (pp. 103-124)
      Metaxia Tsipopoulou

      The Late Minoan IIIC settlement at Halasmenos belongs to a dense pattern of occupation of the wider Northern Ierapetra isthmus, known from sites excavated or reported by survey. After seven field and two study seasons beginning in 1992, we are in a position to proceed with an initial synthesis. From its very beginning, the project has been a multinational synergasia in its true sense and, consequently, this paper owes much to the input of a dedicated and hard-working team.

      Halasmenos, although not a unique occurrence (Coulson and Tsipopoulou 1994), adds two significant new elements to our knowledge of the area....

    • 9 Household Analysis in Dark Age Crete
      (pp. 125-136)
      Kevin T. Glowacki

      Several authors in this volume discuss extraordinary buildings, such as communal shrines or rulerʹs dwellings; in contrast, I focus on the ʺnot-so-big housesʺ of Dark Age Crete and the interpretation of domestic activities that took place within them. ʺHousehold analysisʺ or ʺhousehold archaeologyʺ is currently a topic of great interest to researchers in many parts of the world. There is a large (and still growing) literature covering not only specific sites and methods of analysis, but also dealing with important theoretical frameworks for understanding site formation processes and their effect on house floor assemblages and the interpretation of past household...

    • 10 Religion at Minoan Kommos
      (pp. 137-150)
      Maria C. Shaw

      Since 1976, excavations on the south coast of Crete at Kommos have revealed substantial remains of a Minoan settlement. These consist of two main areas: one with monumental buildings to which we refer as the ʺCivic Centerʺ (Fig. 10.1), the other a town to the north built on a hill (Figs. 10.2 and 10.3). Here, I review evidence for religion and whether there were differences in its conduct at the two locations. My approach somewhat resembles that in an excellent recent article by Peatfield (1992) but is more limited in scope, as I confine myself to Kommos, while he compares...


    • 11 New Construction at Mochlos in the LM IB Period
      (pp. 153-162)
      Jeffrey S. Soles

      The LM IB period at Mochlos is one of considerable growth. There is a great deal of new construction and an expansion of the settlement into new areas. This growth is not an isolated phenomenon, however, but occurs at Gournia and elsewhere around the Bay of Mirabello. The nature of the settlement is transformed throughout the region. Such a change did not occur in a vacuum: the volcano on Santorini erupted just before LM IB, the Mycenaean occupation of Knossos occurred sometime near the end of the period, and the destruction of Minoan Crete took place at its end. The...

    • 12 From Foundation to Abandonment: New Ceramic Phasing for the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age on the Kastro at Kavousi
      (pp. 163-180)
      Margaret S. Mook

      Harriet Boyd Hawes spent the third week of her 1900 excavation season in Kavousi digging some 710 m a.s.l., on the peak of the Kastro (Fig. 12.1), which she described as ʺ … a fine, breezy spot overlooking the narrow isthmus from the Cretan to the Libyan seaʺ (Boyd 1901, 138). There, she uncovered the remains of thirteen rooms situated on seven different levels, but she published only one pot from the site (Boyd 1901, pl. 2). In her general report on the pottery, she concluded, ʺMany fragments of the pottery prove by their designs that the buildings date from...

    • 13 Writing on the Walls. The Architectural Context of Archaic Cretan Laws
      (pp. 181-198)
      Paula J. Perlman

      At its annual meeting in May 1893, the Council of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) chose Crete as a field for exploration and invited the Italian epigrapher and archaeologist Federico Halbherr, of the University of Rome, as project director. Halbherr had been in charge of ʺthe first, the most important and almost the only scientific excavations carried out on Krete, during 1884–6.ʺ During that time he excavated at Gortyn where he discovered ʺbeside many archaic inscriptions, the queen of Greek inscriptions, the Gortyn law codeʺ (ʺAmerican Expedition to Kreteʺ 1894, 538). In 1893 and 1894, Halbherr and a...

    • 14 Eleutherna and the Greek World, ca. 600–400 b.c.
      (pp. 199-212)
      Brice Erickson

      Recent excavations at Eleutherna, a polis in West Crete, bring important new evidence to bear on the related issues of Cretan decline and isolation from overseas markets ca. 600–400 b.c. These two centuries form a poorly understood part of the islandʹs history. The new evidence from Eleutherna comes from the excavations of the University of Crete at Orthi Petra. Noteworthy among investigated Cretan poleis, Eleutherna provides evidence for continuity of settlement across the 6th and 5th centuries and allows a chronological sequence of local ceramic shapes to be plotted. In addition, finds of imported pottery, both from abroad and...

    • 15 The Late Hellenistic Period in East Crete
      (pp. 213-220)
      Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan

      Our knowledge about Hellenistic Crete is based largely on the work of historians such as Henri van Effenterre (1991; 1994; van Effenterre and Bougrat 1969), Paul Faure (1989), Stylianos Spyridakis (1970), and, more recently, Angelos Chaniotis (1988; 1996; 1999). The contribution of archaeologists to the subject, particularly the economy of Hellenistic Crete, has been minimal. Most recently, W. Harris commented, ʺ … a great desideratum is that the archaeologists who work on the particulars of Hellenistic and Roman Crete should give more thought to the larger problems of economic history … it is depressing to see that some of those...


    • 16 Past and Present Perspectives on the Archaeological Landscapes of Mirabello
      (pp. 223-232)
      Donald C. Haggis

      Our perception of the cultural landscape is formed by two dominant fields of reference, which are independent but equally vivid systemic contexts affecting our interpretation of archaeological remains and informing our inferences about the past. One is the living, contemporary environment—the modern landscape, settlement patterns, communication routes, and so on. The other is the archaeological record itself. The modern landscape has become a conceptual framework for archaeologists; it has not been a definable realm of analogy subjected to methodological scrutiny. It is a vivid picture that assumes not only cultural continuity but also environmental constancy. Perhaps it is difficult...

    • 17 Vrokastro and the Settlement Pattern of the LM IIIA–Geometric Periods
      (pp. 233-246)
      Barbara J. Hayden

      In 1903, Richard Seager and Harriet Boyd visited Vrokastro, a 300 m high peak that flanks the coast of the Gulf of Mirabello near its midpoint (Hall 1914, 80) (Figs. 17.1, 17.2, 17.3). Vrokastro is located 2 km east of the fertile, well-watered Kalo Chorio or Istron River Valley, and it is the highest peak in a series of hills and ridges that parallel the coast of the Gulf of Mirabello in this area. Its summit is located at the eastern end of a series of hills (Kopranes) and a long ridge, Karakovilia, that extend west toward the Aphendi Christos...

    • 18 Western Crete in the Bronze Age: A Survey of the Evidence
      (pp. 247-264)
      Jennifer Moody

      In 1939, when Pendlebury called parts of West Crete ʺthe back of beyond,ʺ no one disagreed. Now, however, after nearly 70 years of hard work by the 25th Ephoreia in Chania and Rethymnon, and an international cast of archaeologists (including Swedes, Danes, Italians, Canadians, British, Irish, French, and Americans), it is clear that Pendleburyʹs phrase no longer applies. Recent publications by Tzedakis and Martlew (1999), the Hallagers (2000), Andreadaki-Vlasaki (1992a–b; 1997a–d), Godart and Tzedakis (1992), as well as the near completion of four intensive archaeological surveys—the Khania Archaeological Survey Project (KASP) (Moody 1987; 2000; Moody et al....

    • 19 South of Kavousi, East of Mochlos: The West Siteia Mountains at the End of the Bronze Age
      (pp. 265-280)
      Krzysztof Nowicki

      During the last two-and-a-half decades, several excavations and intensive surveys have been undertaken by American archaeologists in the Mirabello area. Although they covered mainly sites and areas already investigated at the beginning of this century, new methods, a better knowledge of the archaeology of Crete, and a more complex understanding of Minoan society allowed not only re-examination of the archaeological evidence and clarification of some chronological problems but also shed new light on several key questions concerning the Cretan Bronze Age. In this chapter, I address only a few selected problems that are in some way related to that activity...


    • 20 Chrysokamino and the Beginnings of Metal Technology on Crete and in the Aegean
      (pp. 283-290)
      James D. Muhly

      On several occasions Z. Stos-Gale (1993, 119; 1998, 727) has quoted a remarkable passage from Renfrewʹs seminal work The Emergence of Civilisation. It reads:

      One of the problems concerning the development of Aegean metallurgy is to understand why it underwent its tremendous expansion in the Early Bronze 2 period … The appearance of the dagger perhaps presents a clue. For while the Aegean smiths of the final neolithic could make flat axes and awls … daggers are not seen … anywhere in Europe until the inception of the Aegean Early Bronze 2 period. In Europe and the Near East, daggers...

    • 21 Mochlos and Melos: A Special Relationship? Creating Identity and Status in Minoan Crete
      (pp. 291-308)
      Tristan Carter

      In this chapter, I hope to shed some light on how Mochlos defined itself in its East Cretan, Minoan, and Aegean contexts. It will be argued that during EM II and LM IB, Mochlos was the primary procurer of Melian obsidian in East Crete, an activity that formed a component in how this communityʹs elite forged and expressed their political identity. This interpretation is based not only on the quantity of obsidian found at the site, but also on the manner in which it was consumed.

      Ever since Seagerʹs (1909; 1912) excavations of the ʺHouse Tombs,ʺ the wealth and importance...

    • 22 Late Minoan III Mochlos and the Regional Consumption of Pottery
      (pp. 309-320)
      R. Angus K. Smith

      The idea of the unity of Minoan culture begins with Sir Arthur Evans and survives to this day. In the first volume of The Palace of Minos, Evans wrote:

      From the close of the Neolithic Age to the transitional epoch when iron was coming into use—throughout a space of time extending, at a moderate estimate, over two thousand years—the course of the Minoan civilization is singularly continuous and homogeneous. (1921, 13)

      Although Evans was aware of differences in regional styles of Minoan pottery, he spent little time considering them. For Evans, the great palaces were the centers of...