THE EMERGENCE AND DEVELOPMENT OF A ROUND BUILDING TRADITION IN THE AEGEAN AND CRETE
The proposition that pit-housearchitecture and incipient settlement arerelated has already been affirmed for theearliest architecture in the kebarian andthe natufian levels, i.e. at the origin ofincipient settlement, over a vast area,from Palestine, Turkey, Iraq, Iran andthe Zagros (Aurenche 1981, 185-188 fig.16; Aurenche and Kozlowski 1999, 46-49)to as far as Japan in the east (Renfrewand Bahn 1991, 304-305) and as far asPortugal in the west (Da Silva andSoares 1982). Relevant analogies between the Old and the New Worldshave been drawn (Rocek 1998).Although differing in perspectives andconclusions, scholars have tried toreason about the common features(neolithization/sedentism,elliptical/round buildings, differentabsolute dates) in relation to therespective settlement or regionalsequences that they initiate (Rocek 1998;Flannery 2002).The earliest Aegean pit-housearchitecture is now attributed to theneolithization horizon, conforming tothe above picture (sites on Kythnos andIkaria, also Thrace in the north, Sampson2006, 35-47, 52 with earlier literature,discussion on pp. 106-110). Ourparticular understanding of the Aegeanmaterial, however, as already outlined,and the fact that the emergence of round building architecture needs to beassessed in terms of common as well asspecific characteristics led us to regardits local, idiosyncratic features as equallyseminal in the construction of its culturalsemantics. This means that the historicalunderstanding of specific examples maynot be sufficiently conveyed in the formof generalized propositions on accountof their general formal similarities.Conversely, it is unrealistic to think thata historical type of understanding mayever occur without assessing it within acomparative frame of relevant evidencepertinent to archaeology: namely,architectural form and stratigraphy, use,settlement context, chronology andgeographical and chronologicaldistribution or other regularities that, inthe Aegean at least, seem to fall within atripartite constant: conservative form,generally perishable structure, smallnumbers.In view of the above, the Aegeanseems to encompass a cultural frame thatis compact, yet sufficiently diversified, inorder to explore some of the intrinsicproperties of the non-submerged type ofround building, or our stage (iii) type ofincipient settlement occupation, alongwith the emergence and thedevelopment of this architecturaltradition as a whole. Given that therelevant material is very fragmentaryand rather neglected, the currentdiscussion aims at defining a frame forinvestigation based on its pertinentproperties.
ROUND BUILDINGS IN THEAEGEAN AND CRETE: NEOLITHICAND EB EVIDENCE
The Neolithic Evidence
The earliest attestation of the non-submerged round buildings in theAegean occurs in the course of the 5
millennium. There are only six or sevensuch examples from island or frominland habitation sites, mostly near thecourse of rivers. Their chronology,however, spans the entirety of theperiod, from the MN at Ay. Petros,Sporades (Efstratiou 1985, 14, 20, 51,plans IX:a, XX:b,c, plate 13:a), andperhaps Ayioryitika in Arcadia (Petrakis