Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Prehistoric Crete

Prehistoric Crete: Regional and Diachronic Studies on Mortuary Systems

edited by Joanne M.A. Murphy
Philip P. Betancourt
Gerald Cadogan
Melissa Eaby
Borja Legarra Herrero
Katia Perna
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 150
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Prehistoric Crete
    Book Description:

    Since the inception of Minoan archaeology, studies pertaining to tombs and tomb deposits have played seminal roles in our understanding of Minoan culture and the reconstruction of Bronze Age society. For several geographical areas and chronological periods of Cretan history, tombs are the most abundant source of data. Each author in this volume takes a clear and distinct approach to the data, including some that emphasise political geography on multi-regional and multi-scalar levels, some that examine the commemoration of the dead and of the community for legitimising purposes but also for maintaining and/or creating elite positions in social systems and others that underline the overlap between mortuary rituals and religion. The aim of this volume is not to present all tombs in all periods on Crete comprehensively but the breadth of these papers is intended to generate a discourse not just among archaeologists working in different areas and time periods on Crete but also among archaeologists in Greece and a broader anthropological audience.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-117-6
    Subjects: History, Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-22)

    Since the inception of Minoan archaeology, studies pertaining to tombs and tomb deposits have played seminal roles in our understanding of Minoan culture and the reconstruction of Bronze Age society (e.g., Hall 1912; Seager 1912, 1916; Xanthoudides 1918, 1924; Marinatos 1930–1931; Levi 1961–1962). For several geographical areas and chronological periods of Cretan history, tombs are the most abundant source of data: for example, South-Central Crete in the Prepalatial period and eastern Crete at the end of the Bronze Age into the Early Iron Age. In addition to studies that explored one tomb type and traced it chronologically and...

  7. 2 Landscape and Social Narratives: A Study of Regional Social Structures in Prepalatial Crete
    (pp. 23-48)

    This paper explores two Prepalatial tomb groups—Mochlos in East Crete and Lebena in South-Central Crete—in order to demonstrate the similarities between the manipulations by these communities of their mortuary systems and landscapes in an attempt to encode their social ideologies despite the regionally-based differences in their social structures (Fig. 2.1).* The former group emphasized eternal and stable community membership, while the latter stressed the constructed elite status of individual families. The arguments for these conclusions build on the regional and local studies that have been the focus of much recent scholarship on Cretan mortuary systems (Wilson and Day...

  8. 3 The Secret Lives of the Early and Middle Minoan Tholos Cemeteries: Koumasa and Platanos
    (pp. 49-84)

    Perhaps no other type of archaeological context has attracted so much interest in the study of the 3rd and early 2nd millennia b.c. on Crete as the tholos cemeteries. Tholos cemeteries are defined by the presence of tholos tombs, stone-built round tombs measuring approximately 3 m in diameter (e.g., Krasi: Marinatos 1929, 106) to 13.1 m (e.g., Platanos Tholos A: Xanthoudides 1924, 88), which were used collectively, sometimes for more than a millennium (e.g., Lebena Gerokampos: Alexiou and Warren 2004). Some of the Early Minoan (EM) and Middle Minoan (MM) tholoi may have been corbelled, although this possibility is still...

  9. 4 Tomb 4 at Pseira: Evidence for Minoan Social Practices
    (pp. 85-102)

    A number of archaeologists have commented on the presence of open courts and enclosed or partly enclosed spaces in front of Minoan tombs, with the frequent suggestion that they were used for ceremonies and special cult activities (see, among others, Evans 1921–1935, IV, 1000–1001; Soles 1992, 224; Branigan 1993, 131–136; 1998, 21). Tomb 4 at Pseira had a court in front of its entrance, and its importance in regard to these discussions stems from the fact that excavation provided a firm date for the court’s construction in Middle Minoan (MM) II, many centuries after the first use...

  10. 5 A Power House of the Dead: The Functions and Long Life of the Tomb at Myrtos-Pyrgos
    (pp. 103-118)

    The Tomb at Myrtos-Pyrgos (Ovenden 1976; Cadogan 1977–1978, 1992, 2006, forthcoming a, forthcoming c; Hankey 1986) was in use for much of the long life of the Minoan settlement.* This paper reviews what we know or opine at present about the Tomb but, since study continues, is only provisional: we shall publish the Tomb as a whole in the first volume of Myrtos-Pyrgos reports. In calling it a power house, I am following the architectural and social historian Mark Girouard (1978, 2), who applied the term to English country houses, stating that “essentially they were power houses—the houses...

  11. 6 LM IIIC Burial Culture in Crete: A Socioeconomic Perspective
    (pp. 119-164)

    The aim of this paper is to analyze the Cretan burial customs during the Late Minoan (LM) IIIC period and to try to connect the changes attested in the mortuary practice to the political and economical transformations of the island. After the collapse of a consolidated political system at the end of the Bronze Age, between LM IIIC (12th to mid-11th century b.c.) and the Subminoan (SM) period (mid-11th to the beginning of the 10th century b.c.), Crete showed new political and economical patterns that involved the various regions of the island in different ways. Several politically important centers disappeared,...

  12. 7 Regionalism in Early Iron Age Cretan Burials
    (pp. 165-202)

    The Early Iron Age (EIA) on Crete represents an important phase of cultural change, comprising the years after the final collapse of the palatial system in Late Minoan (LM) IIIB up to the development of the city-state before or during the Archaic period.* Over the course of this period, significant changes occurred in settlement patterns, settlement forms, ritual contexts, and most strikingly, in burial practices (e.g., Nowicki 2000; Borgna 2003; Wallace 2003b; Prent 2005). Early Iron Age burial practices varied extensively throughout Crete, not only from region to region, but also often at a single site. For example, both inhumation...

  13. Index
    (pp. 203-216)