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Archaeological Survey of the Gournia Landscape

Archaeological Survey of the Gournia Landscape: A Regional History of the Mirabello Bay, Crete, in Antiquity

L. Vance Watrous
Donald Haggis
Krzysztof Nowicki
Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan
Maryanne Schultz
John Hayes
Angeliki Kossyva
Eberhard Zangger
Volume: 37
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 412
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  • Book Info
    Archaeological Survey of the Gournia Landscape
    Book Description:

    A regional survey was undertaken in the central part of the Mirabello Bay area: along the northeastern coast of Crete in the Gournia Valley and the northern half of the Isthmus of Ierapetra, ending in the valley of Episkopi, to provide a regional context for the Bronze Age palace and settlement of Gournia. As this survey was the last and geographically most central compared to three other surveys (Vrokastro [Hayden 2004a], Pseira [Betancourt, Davaras, and Hope Simpson 2005], and Kavousi [Haggis 2005]) conducted in the Mirabello region, it ties together the data from all four surveys regarding the environment, population(s), and social organization of an entire region. Furthermore, this volume goes beyond the survey data to consider, at some length, the evidence from local excavations, so as to provide an in-depth and integrated picture of the regional socio-economic development. It is meant as a regional archaeological study of the Mirabello Bay area.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-039-1
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Maps
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Figures
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. List of Plates
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  7. Preface
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  9. Chronology
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  10. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)

    • 1 The Field Project
      (pp. 3-8)
      L. Vance Watrous

      This chapter begins with a summary of the early archaeological research in the Mirabello region that led up this survey, followed by a description of the goals, methods, and results of the field project. The final section lays out the theoretical background for the sociopolitical emphasis of the study.

      Archaeological research in the Mirabello area began during the first two decades of the 20th century. Detailed discussions of archaeological work in the Vrokastro and Kavousi survey areas can be found in Shaw 1990; Hayden 2000; and Haggis 2005, 2–4. As the section below reveals, the extensive archaeological work carried...

    • 2 The Region
      (pp. 9-14)
      L. Vance Watrous and Eberhard Zangger

      The Gournia survey area is located at the center of the Mirabello region (Map 1, middle area) in eastern Crete. At the heart of this area is the semicircular Bay of Mirabello, 17 km wide east–west and 10 km north–south. Five rivers run down from the mountains and extend through river valleys to the coast, emptying into the Mirabello Bay—at Hagios Nikolaos, Ammoudara, Istron, Pacheia Ammos, and Tholos (Kavousi). Each of these valleys has had a major settlement, either inland (as Neapolis, Kritsa, Kalo Chorio, Episkopi, and Kavousi) or coastal (as Mochlos), although tourism has swollen the...


    • 3 Final Neolithic Period: Egalitarian and Heterogeneous Communities
      (pp. 17-20)
      L. Vance Watrous and Maryanne Schultz

      This chapter begins by describing the Final Neolithic settlement data in the Gournia survey area in terms of site numbers, size, hierarchy, and population density. Contemporary site data from the survey projects at Kavousi and Vrokastro are summarized in order to provide maximum coverage of the Mirabello region. Finally, the chapter explores wider questions of subsistence, exchange, and social organization in the region during the FN period.

      The earliest settlements known in the Gournia survey area date to the FN period. The Gournia Survey Project identified four FN habitation sites—one hamlet, one farm, and two field sites (Table 1;...

    • 4 Early Minoan I–II Periods: Emergence of a Stratified Society
      (pp. 21-32)
      L. Vance Watrous and Maryanne Schultz

      The first section of this chapter presents the EM I–II settlement data from the Gournia Survey, followed by a summary of the contemporary information from the Kavousi and Vrokastro projects and, finally, a discussion of the regional pattern of settlement in the Mirabello area. Building on this framework, the second section of the chapter draws on information from local excavated sites to discuss various aspects of EM II society in the Mirabello region, including subsistence, industry, trade, and social organization.

      During EM I–II, there was a virtual explosion of new settlements established in the area. The number of...

    • 5 Early Minoan III–Middle Minoan IA Periods: Disruption and Social Reorganization
      (pp. 33-40)
      L. Vance Watrous and Maryanne Schultz

      This chapter begins by presenting the EM III–MM IA settlement data from the Gournia Survey. It then summarizes contemporary data from the Kavousi and Vrokastro Surveys to form a basis for discussing the regional pattern of settlement in the Mirabello area. As the EM III–MM IA ceramic phasing remains controversial, the sequence of developments at local excavated sites (e.g., Vasiliki, Myrtos/Pyrgos, Gournia, Mochlos, and Pseira) during this period are described in order to provide an additional framework. The following section treats the more general question of EM III–MM IA chronology in East Crete. The chapter ends with...

    • 6 Middle Minoan IB–II Periods: Growth of Regional Factions and Conflict
      (pp. 41-50)
      L. Vance Watrous and Maryanne Schultz

      This chapter begins with an account of the MM IB–II sites located in the Gournia Survey Project area. Following a summary of contemporary survey data from the Kavousi and Vrokastro areas, the chapter analyzes the Protopalatial settlement pattern of the Mirabello region. The final sections discuss excavated settlements, land use, craft production, exchange, and social organization of Protopalatial society in the Mirabello Bay region.

      The Gournia Survey recorded a total of 76 Protopalatial sites (Table 4; Map 20): 13 villages, 29 hamlets, 17 farms, and 17 field sites, as well as 7 burials (and 3 possible burials). This is...

    • 7 Middle Minoan III–Late Minoan I Periods: The Rise of a Regional State
      (pp. 51-64)
      L. Vance Watrous and Maryanne Schultz

      The first section of this chapter begins by presenting the Neopalatial data from the Gournia Survey, which is followed by a summary of the Kavousi and Vrokastro survey results. In the next section, the chapter gives an overview of the Neopalatial settlement pattern in the Mirabello region. The third section includes information from excavations at Gournia, Vasiliki, Pseira, Mochlos, and Myrtos/Pyrgos. The final section examines certain aspects of Mirabello society, including craft production, trade, and social organization.

      Neopalatial settlement (Table 5; Map 25) in our survey zone consisted of 72 settlements (6 villages, 22 hamlets, 21 farms, and 23 field...

    • 8 Late Minoan IIIA–IIIB Periods: Depopulation and Mycenaean Occupation
      (pp. 65-68)
      L. Vance Watrous

      Following the widespread destruction of sites (Gournia, Mochlos, Pseira, and Vasiliki) at the end of the LM IB period, the number of sites in the Gournia survey area dropped precipitously. During the Neopalatial period, there had been 72 settlements (7 villages, 27 hamlets, 16 farms, and 22 field sites). In the LM IIIA–IIIB period, these numbers dropped to a total of 10 sites, with only 6 settlements: 1 village (8), 2 hamlets (123, 144), 1 farm (81), 2 field sites (84, 104), which represent an 86% decline in the number of settlements (Table 7; Map 32). Non-habitation sites fell...

    • 9 Late Minoan IIIC–Geometric Periods: Retreat into Refuge Settlements
      (pp. 69-76)
      Krzysztof Nowicki

      In the LM IIIC period, the number of local sites rises from eight in LM IIIA–IIIB to nine (Table 8; Map 33 ). Gournia (8) was abandoned, and a cluster of new sites (81, 84, 90, 97) was settled in the Isthmus valley. Off-site pottery (Map 34) found by the survey was minimal and was mostly dispersed around the cluster of sites in the Cha Gorge–Monastiraki area. Types of off-site pottery included cookware, pithoi, basins, and fine ware (Map 35).

      Higher up, site 150, Katalimata, Kephala, and Chalasmenos also were established. The area covered by the Gournia Project...

    • 10 Orientalizing–Classical Periods: Population Nucleation and Development of the Polis
      (pp. 77-80)
      L. Vance Watrous

      Settlement in the survey zone remained severely nucleated during the Orientalizing–Archaic periods, much as it had been in the earlier Iron Age (see Ch. 9).

      Only the town at Prophetes Elias (150), the fortified hill site 144 at its base, and the coastal site 2 near the Vrokastro survey area were inhabited (Table 11; Map 38). Judging from its size during the Classical period, the town at Prophetes Elias (150) probably grew during this period. The site produced cookware, mortars, relief pithoi, and drinking vessels (a krater, banded jugs, and black-glazed and monochrome cups). Few off-site finds were identified...

    • 11 Hellenistic and Roman Periods: Expansion of the Isthmus in an International Era
      (pp. 81-94)
      Natalia Vogeikoff-Brogan

      The Gournia Survey has produced scant evidence for any significant occupation on the Isthmus Plain, the surrounding lowlands, and hill slopes during the Hellenistic period. Only three sites (5, 23, 77) preserve some evidence of continuity from the Classical period. The farm at Palaiobarda (5), west of Gournia on the south slope of a steep coastal hill, and the hamlet-sized settlement at Halepa (23) were established late in the Classical or early in the Hellenistic period. Site 77, a hamlet near Monastiraki, was short-lived, occupied ca. 350–200 b.c. The site at Prophetes Elias (150) at Kato Chorio, which shows...


    • 12 Conclusions
      (pp. 97-102)
      L. Vance Watrous

      We conclude by considering one of the main focuses of this study, the development of social complexity in the Mirabello region that culminated in the formation of a Minoan polity centered at Gournia.

      The subject of Minoan state formation has been warmly debated since the publication of Renfrew’s book The Emergence of Civilisation in 1972. The main theories are listed below in rough chronological order of their appearance:

      1)Diffusion: A. Evans (1921–1935) and Childe (1947) attributed increased social complexity in the Aegean and Europe to powerful influences from the Near East.

      2)Managerial Chiefs: Renfrew (1972) posited that regional economic...


    • Appendix A Catalog of Sites
      (pp. 105-134)
      L. Vance Watrous
    • Appendix B Neolithic and Bronze Age Pottery
      (pp. 135-154)
      Donald Haggis
    • Appendix C Late Minoan IIIC–Orientalizing Pottery
      (pp. 155-162)
      Donald Haggis
    • Appendix D Archaic–Hellenistic Pottery
      (pp. 163-166)
      L. Vance Watrous
    • Appendix E Roman Pottery
      (pp. 167-174)
      John Hayes and Angeliki Kossyva
  15. References
    (pp. 175-188)
  16. Index
    (pp. 189-192)
  17. Tables
    (pp. None)
  18. Maps
    (pp. None)
  19. Figures
    (pp. None)
  20. Plates
    (pp. None)