Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Kommos: An Excavation on the South Coast of Crete, Volume I

Kommos: An Excavation on the South Coast of Crete, Volume I: The Kommos Region and Houses of the Minoan Town. Part I: The Kommos Region, Ecology, and Minoan Industries

John Bennet
Philip P. Betancourt
Harriet Blitzer
Giuliana Bianco
Peter J. Callaghan
Mary K. Dabney
Katherine A. Frego
John A. Gifford
Deborah K. Harlan
John W. Hayes
John McEnroe
Lucia Nixon
Michael Parsons
Sebastian Payne
David S. Reese
Mark J. Rose
Katherine A. Schwab
Catherine Sease
Joseph W. Shaw
Maria C. Shaw
Jennifer M. Shay
C. Thomas Shay
Richard Hope Simpson
L. Vance Watrous
Helène Whittaker
James C. Wright
Janusz Zwiazek
Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 850
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Kommos: An Excavation on the South Coast of Crete, Volume I
    Book Description:

    Kommos, located on the south coast of Crete, is widely known for its important sanctuary of the Greek period. and for its earlier role as a major Minoan harbortown. Volumes II and III of this series on the results of the major excavations there have already been published. Now Part I of Volume I offers a general introduction to the site with chapters on the history and character of its excavation seen within the context of earlier archaeological exploration of the Mesara Plain and specifically in the Kommos area (Joseph W. Shaw) and studies on the geomorphology (John A. Gifford), the flora (C. Thomas Shay and Jennifer M. Shay, with Katherine A. Frego and Janusz Zwiazek) and the fauna (David S. Reese, with contributions by Mark J. Rose and Sebastian Payne) of the Kommos region, and ancient and modern land use (Michael Parsons, with John A. Gifford), A catalogue and analysis of finds from a foot survey in the Kommos area are included (Richard Hope Simpson, with Philip P. Betancourt, Peter J. Callaghan, Deborah K. Harlan, John W. Hayes, Joseph W. Shaw, Maria C. Shaw, and L. Vance Watrous). A final chapter by Harriet Blitzer treats Minoan implements and industries. This excavationwas conducted by the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

    Originally published in 1995.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5295-6
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    Joseph W. Shaw and Maria C. Shaw
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. List of Plates
    (pp. xix-xxxiv)
  6. List of Tables
    (pp. xxxv-xxxvii)
  7. CHAPTER 1 The Topography and Archaeological Exploration of the Western Mesara
    (pp. 1-7)
    Joseph W. Shaw

    The fertile Mesara Plain (Frontispiece, PIs. 1.1–1.3),¹ densely populated since the Neolithic Period, is the largest plain in Crete, some 50 km long (east to west) and 10 km wide (maximum). It is bordered on the northwest by Mount Ida (Psiloritis) and its foothills and on the west by the Libyan Sea. Visible from the coast on the west are two small uninhabited islands (ancient Litoa) known today as “Paximadhia,” the modern name for segments of baked, dried village bread which they are thought to resemble. South of the plain are the rugged Asterousia Mountains, a center of the...

  8. CHAPTER 2 The Exploration and Excavation of the Kommos Site
    (pp. 8-29)
    Joseph W. Shaw

    Antonio Taramelli, who joined Halbherr in Crete and explored many areas of the island, was the first person to link the area southwest of the Geropotamos with activity during prehistoric times. Specifically, Taramelli noted the remains of Middle Minoan Kamares sherds south of Tymbaki and suggested that a main landing spot for Phaistos was not far south of there. He was also the first to connect the northern cliffs of Cape Nisos, immediately south and west of Kommos, with the possible site of the shipwreck which is said to have befallen part of Menelaos’s contingent (OdysseyIII. 293–99) as...

  9. CHAPTER 3 The Physical Geology of the Western Mesara and Kommos
    (pp. 30-90)
    John A. Gifford and David S. Reese

    In fundamental ways that have affected human activities, the physical environment of the Kommos region has changed over the past four thousand years. Field observations supporting this assertion are abundant in the western Mesara, but ambiguous interpretation of the physical record can arise from the difficulties in establishing a chronological framework for reconstructed environments and in determining what combination of natural or human agencies may have affected them.

    All of the data in this chapter concern the geological aspects of the physical environment; specifically, they are the result of five seasons of field studies at the excavation site and in...

  10. CHAPTER 4 The Modern Flora and Plant Remains from Bronze Age Deposits at Kommos
    (pp. 91-162)
    C. Thomas Shay and Jennifer M. Shay

    Plants were prominent in Minoan art but they also served Minoans in many practical ways. As part of the Kommos project, the botanical studies explore the kinds of plants available to the inhabitants of Kommos during its long occupation and the ways in which these plants were used. This ancient site also offers an excellent opportunity to study relationships between the inhabitants and the local environment. During Minoan times (MM I–LM III, ca. 2,000–1,200 B.C.), the agricultural settlement of Kommos became a trading seaport. Later, from the beginning of Proto-Geometric until Roman times (ca. 1,000 B.C.–A.D. 150),...

  11. CHAPTER 5 The Minoan Fauna
    (pp. 163-291)
    David S. Reese

    The ten years of excavation of Minoan levels at Kommos (1976–1985) produced over 9,400 larger mammal bones (185 ovicaprid, 108 pig, and 55 cattle, 4 dogs, 3 hare, 1 equid, and 1 mustelid individual), over 150 small mammal bones (rodents and shrews; 49 individuals), over 1,150 fish bones (144 individual fish), 70 bird bones (50 individuals), and about 36,000 marine invertebrate individuals. The Iron Age fauna from Kommos will be published separately.

    Various methods of recovery of faunal remains were employed at Kommos. Samples were excavated by trench and pail (Trench 11A, pail 5, for example) and, after study...

  12. CHAPTER 6 Soil and Land Use Studies at Kommos
    (pp. 292-324)
    Michael Parsons and John A. Gifford

    Soils are the basis for agricultural production; however, their precise definition is not possible, as it is not easy to establish the boundaries of materials in the earth’s continuum. Variability in soil properties is common, particularly over large areas but also within a few centimeters. The termpedondefines the smallest soil volume that can be considered as representing the distinctive nature and arrangement of a particular soil (United States Department of Agriculture Soil Survey Staff 1975: 2–5). Classification of soil into groups of pedons is set by criteria that allow individual pedons to coalesce to form thepolypedon...

  13. CHAPTER 7 The Archaeological Survey of the Kommos Area
    (pp. 325-402)
    Richard Hope Simpson, Philip P. Betancourt, Peter J. Callaghan, Deborah K. Harlan, John W. Hayes, Joseph W. Shaw, Maria C. Shaw and L. Vance Watrous

    The final reconnaissance of the Kommos area, prior to the formal “intensive” archaeological survey, was made during the 1977 Kommos excavation season, mainly by Joseph W. Shaw, Philip Betancourt, John McEnroe, Harriet Blitzer, L. Vance Watrous, and Richard Hope Simpson.¹ It was thereupon decided to confine the 1978–79 survey mainly to the territory of Pitsidia. Convenient boundaries were, on the north the watershed of the east-west ridge to south of Kamilari, and on the south that of the hill range to south and southeast of Matala. On the east there is no distinct natural boundary, but the lower rolling...

  14. CHAPTER 8 Minoan Implements and Industries
    (pp. 403-536)
    Harriet Blitzer

    Within this chapter are included five categories of artifacts from the Bronze Age site of Kommos: ground stone, chipped stone, utilitarian worked bone, metalworking remains, and large industrial and small hand-held clay implements.¹ Each of these categories has been treated as an industry—that is, it has been examined from the point of view of raw materials, techniques of procurement, utilization and manufacture, production sites and workshops, and the character and possible use of the resulting products, both implements and waste. The obvious interconnections among these industries provide us with some understanding of the man/land relationships that formed the basis...

  15. References
    (pp. 537-560)
  16. Index
    (pp. 561-570)
  17. Plates
    (pp. 571-809)