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1. The Emergence of the Problem: The Alalakh Frescoes (1939 - 1987) The question of connections in fresco painting between Crete and the Near East first arose in 1939, when Sir L.R. Woolley, in a brief preliminary report about his excavations at Tell Atchana (later to be identified as the ancient city Alalakh), announced the finds of mural decorations possessing Cretan affinities.1 They came from a house of the Late Bronze Age level IV as well as from an even older context, the palace of Stratum VII, which was contemporary with the First Dynasty of Babylon, according to Woolley. In her inf luential book, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated in this conference, H.J. Kantor recognized the possible importance of these finds but wisely did not speculate further on this matter, commenting only: Definitive substantiation of these far-reaching claims awaits the full publication of the evidence.2 Woolley published the fresco fragments from Alalakh in 1955,3 stating that those from the palace of level VII, named by him Yarim-Lims Palace show striking resemblances ... to the Minoan frescoes.4 Unfortunately, the Alalakh frescoes were very fragmentary and their style was hard to distinguish on the published black and white photographs,5 with one exception: the creamy white reeds on red ground on a group of fragments fallen from the so-called grand salon of the piano nobile above magazines 11-136 were indeed painted unmistakably in the spirit of Cretan art as stated by Woolley.7 They appear to sway in the wind, a characteristic feature of Minoan art.8 Woolleys main argument for a connection between the Alalakh murals and those of Minoan Crete was that they both had been executed in true fresco technique (with additions in secco painting).9 Elsewhere Woolley concluded that there can be no doubt but that Crete owes the best of its ... frescoes, to the Asiatic mainland;

* Acknowledgments: We gratefully commemorate our partner at Tel Kabri and friend, Aharon Kempinski, whose untimely passing away on 2nd July 1994 is a great bereavement. We would like to thank A. Drori and the staff of the Israeli Authority of Antiquities for the permit to take the wall-painting fragments from the palace at Tel Kabri for two years with us to Heidelberg for study and restoring, the Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for the permit to publish here new photographs of the Alalakh fresco fragments, P.R.S. Moorey and M. Vickers for their help in the Ashmolean, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for financial support of the travel of W.-D. Niemeier to the conference. L.R. WOOLLEY, Illustrated London News, Dec. 2 (1939) 833. KANTOR, 102. L.R. WOOLLEY, Alalakh: An Account of the Excavations at Tell Atchana in the Hatay, 1937 - 1949 (1955) 228-34, pls. 26 b - 29 c. Ibid. 228. Cf. the discussion of the Alalakh fresco fragments based on the published black and white photographs by W.-D. NIEMEIER, Minoan Artisans Travelling Overseas: the Alalakh Frescoes and the Painted Plaster Floor at Tel Kabri (Western Galilee), in Thalassa, 192-94. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) pl. 28 a; NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) pl. XLVI b. For a new illustration in colour, see B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, Aegean Frescoes in Syria-Palestine: Alalakh and Tel Kabri, in Wall Paintings of Thera, pl. 14. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 231. H.A. GROENEWEGEN-FRANKFORT, Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Space and Time in the Representational Art of the ancient Near East (1950) 197; W. SCHIERING, Die Naturanschauung in der altkretischen Kunst, AntKunst 8 (1965) 3; G. WALBERG, Tradition and Innovation; Essays in Minoan Art (1986) 89, 98. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 228-30; BARKER, in Ibid. 233-34.

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and he believed, that trained experts, members of the ... Painters Guilds, were invited to travel overseas from Asia (and possibly from Alalakh) to ... decorate the palaces of the Cretan rulers.10 Woolleys argument for his suggestion that the inf luence had gone from Syria to Crete and not in the reverse direction was that Yarim-Lims palace antedates by more than a century the Cretan examples in the same style.11 However, Woolleys date of Alalakh VII to between circa 1780 and 1730 BC12 proved to be too high. Yarim-Lim of Alalakh was not as Woolley had thought identical with Yarim-Lim I of Yamhad (Aleppo), a contemporary of the great Hammurabi of Babylon and of Zimri-Lim of Mari, but a younger son of Yarim-Lims I son and successor Hammurabi, and he received Alalakh as an appanage principality from his elder brother, king Abban of Yamhad, probably when the latter was nearing the end of his reign.13 The documents of the clay tablet archives of Alalakh VII cover the reigns of Yarim-Lim, of his son Ammitaqum, and possibly of a son of the latter, Irqabtum or Hammurabi.14 Since the Alalakh VII documents mention six kings of Yamhad, from Abban to Hammurabi II,15 and three to four generations of officials and merchants at Alalakh,16 Alalakh VII must have covered a considerable period of time, between ca. 70 years and almost a century.17 Alalakh VII ended in a destruction which according to scholarly agreement is identical with the destruction of Alalakh mentioned in the res gestae of the Hittite king Hattuili I.18 Scholars have proposed dates for this destruction between ca.1650 and 1575 BC.19 An important criterion for the absolute date of the destruction level of Alalakh VII is the fact that it did not contain any bichrome pottery, which does not appear before the following level Alalakh VI.20 According to the evidence from Tell el-Ajjul, bichrome ware came in use in the Levant at the beginning of the reign of the penultimate Hyksos ruler Apophis, or just before it.21 Apophis, opponent of Kamose within a decade of the expulsion of the Hyksos by Kamoses younger

10 L.R. WOOLLEY, A Forgotten Kingdom (1953) 74-75. In the quotation we have omitted Woolleys statement according to which Crete also owes the best of its architecture to the Asiatic mainland and that members of the Architects Guilds were invited to build the palaces of the Cretan rulers. As J.W. GRAHAM, The Relations of the Minoan Palaces to the Near Eastern Palaces of the Second Millennium, in E.L. BENNETT (ed.), Mycenaean Studies. Proceedings of the Third International Colloquium for Mycenaean Studies Held at Wingspread, 4-8 September 1961 (1964) 195-215, esp. 196-202 on Alalakh, has demonstrated, the evidence is far from substantiating Woolleys theory of Near Eastern architects working in Minoan Crete. See also NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 191. WOOLLEY (supra n. 10) 74. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 388-90. See J.-R. KUPPER, Northern Mesopotamia and Syria, in History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1800-1380 B.C., CAH, 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 17-18, 31; M.C. ASTOUR, Hittite History and Absolute Chronology of the Bronze Age (1989). See the painstaking discussion by M. HEINZ, Tell Atchana/Alalakh: Die Schichten VII-XVII. Alter Orient und Altes Testament (1992) 190-96. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 31; HEINZ (supra n. 14) 190-97. D. COLLON, The Seal Impressions from Tell Atchana/Alalakh, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 27 (1975) 16 n. 2, 45-46 n. 1, 145, 152-54; Eadem, A New Look at the Chronology of Alalakh VII: A Rejoinder, AnatSt 27 (1977) 127-28. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 31 allows 75 years, ASTOUR (supra n. 13) 10 allows between 70 and 80 years. A. KEMPINSKI, The Middle Bronze Age in Northern Israel, Local and External Synchronisms, in M. BIETAK (ed.), High, Middle or Low? Acts of the Second International Colloquium on Absolute Chronology, Schloss Haindorf/Langenlois, 12-15 August 1990. gypten und Levante 3 (1992) 70 even thinks of almost a century. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 31-32; O.R. GURNEY, Anatolia c. 1750-1600 B.C., in History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1800-1380 B.C., CAH, 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 241; HEINZ (supra n. 14) 197. Cf. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 190-91 with references in nn. 16-17; HEINZ (supra n. 14) 198-201. As to the different chronologies used in Near Eastern archaeology, see infra with n. 67. A. KEMPINSKI, Syrien und Palstina (Kanaan) in der letzten Phase der Mittelbronze IIB-Zeit (1650 - 1570 v. Chr.). gypten und Altes Testament 4 (1983) 218; Idem (supra n. 17) 70. KEMPINSKI (supra n. 20) 131-48, 223. For Apophis as penultimate Hyksos ruler, see D.B. REDFORD, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (1992) 71.

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brother Ahmose, reigned for about forty years or more.22 Thus the beginning of Apophis reign and the introduction of bichrome ware are to be dated to between ca. 1620/10 and 1590/80 depending on the Egyptian chronology used.23 Following these chronological corrections, the Alalakh frescoes no longer were as much earlier than their Cretan counterparts as Woolley had thought, but apparently still somewhat earlier.24 Nevertheless, we had problems with Woolleys theory. The fresco technique of the wall paintings from Yarim-Lims palace appeared to be an isolated feature in the Near East. In all relevant publications one could read that the fresco technique was with the exception of Alalakh unknown in the Near East and in Egypt before the Hellenistic period and that the generally used technique was al secco or tempera.25 Crete, however, according to R.J. Forbes, formed the home country of the real buon fresco painting which was at least in use from ca. 2000 BC on.26 As A. Moortgat an authority on Near Eastern wall painting stated, the free, natural composition of the reeds on the fresco fragments from Yarim-Lims palace disassociates them from all other ancient Near Eastern pictorial art and connects them to Minoan art.27 Therefore, the Alalakh frescoes seem to us to form an alien element within their cultural context. Since they appeared to be older than their Minoan parallels, they could not, however, be attributed to Minoan inf luence. Thus the Alalakh frescoes for a long time were a kind of mystery to us. 2. The Kabri Frescoes (1987-1993) In March 1987, forty years after the publication of Kantors study, during a study travel through Israel, we visited the Archaeological Institute of Tel Aviv University and gave a guest lecture on Minoan relations with the Levant, in which the problem of the Alalakh frescoes was also addressed. Among the colleagues we met at this occasion was Aharon Kempinski. He told us about the interesting excavation which he had started the year before, in the Middle

22 J. von BECKERATH, Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in gypten. gyptologische Forschungen 23 (1964) 128; L. HABACHI, The second Stela of Kamose and his Struggle against the Hyksos Ruler and his Capital. Abhandlungen des Deutschen Archologischen Institutes, Abteilung Kairo 8 (1972) 59; KEMPINSKI (supra n. 20) 60. See W.A. WARD, The Present Status of Egyptian Chronology, BASOR 188 (1992) 53-66, especially 53 and 56 on the date of the beginning of the 18th Dynasty varying between ca. 1570 and 1540 BC. As to the problem of the dating of the first phase of Aegean representational wall painting due to the problems of stratigraphy at Knossos, see S.A. IMMERWAHR, Aegean Painting in the Bronze Age (1990) 39; W.-D. NIEMEIER, Knossos in the New Palace Period (MM III-LM IB), in D. EVELY, H. HUGHES-BROCK, and N. MOMIGLIANO (eds.), KNOSSOS: A Labyrinth of History. Papers presented in honour of Sinclair Hood (1994) 84-85. With the exception of a plaster relief fragment showing part of a bulls foot, which Evans (A.J. EVANS, PM I [1921] 376, fig. 273) found stratified below the f loor of the Magazine of the Tripod Vases and which probably is of transitional MM IIIB/LM IA date, no representational wall decoration in Crete can be stratigraphically dated before the MM IIIB/LM IA transition, i.e. before ca. 1600 BC according to the traditional Aegean chronology see P.M. WARREN and V. HANKEY, Aegean Absolute Chronology (1989) 135-37, 169. As to the differences between the fresco and al secco techniques, see A. NUNN, Die Wandmalerei und der glasierte Wandschmuck im Alten Orient. Handbuch der Orientalistik VII.1 (1988) 5-6; for the exceptional status of the Alalakh frescoes see Ibid. 11-12; P. PHILIPPOT, Die Wandmalerei (1972) 21, 30. As to the general use of al secco technique in the Near East and in Egypt, see A. PARROT, Mission archologique de Mari II: le palais. 2: peintures murales (1958) 58, 109; A. MOORTGAT, Alt-vorderasiatische Malerei (1959) 19; B. MULLER, Aspects de la peinture murale proche-orientale au IIe millnaire av. J.-C., Revue archologique de Picardie, No. special (1995) 133 (Near East); A. LUCAS and J.R. HARRIS, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Techniques, 4th edition (1962) 351-53 (Egypt); R.J. FORBES, Studies in Ancient Technology III (1955) 235-41 (Near East and Egypt). FORBES (supra n. 25) 241-42; M.A.S. CAMERON, R.E. JONES and S.E. PHILIPPAKIS, Scientific Analyses of Minoan Fresco Samples from Knossos, BSA 72 (1977) 121-84; S. HOOD, The Arts in Prehistoric Greece (1978) 83; IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 14-15. MOORTGAT (supra n. 25) 12. Cf. also Interconnections, 103; F. SCHACHERMEYR, gis und Orient (1967) 46.

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Bronze Age city of Tel Kabri in Western Galilee. Four months after our visit, a threshold of limestone blocks covered with painted lime plaster was found in the palace of the local ruler at Tel Kabri.28 Painted red lines formed a kind of grid pattern enclosing hardly identifiable representational painting. As Aharon immediately realized, painted plaster f loors are unknown in the ancient Near East,29 but are a typical feature of the Aegean Bronze Age civilisations.30 He sent us a colour slide of the threshold and asked us if we would be interested in joining him as partners in the Tel Kabri excavations. Hoping that Tel Kabri would help to solve the mystery of the Alalakh frescoes, we spontaneously agreed. Our fruitful collaboration with Aharon started in 1989 and was only interrupted by his untimely death in 1994. We commemorate him here in gratitude and friendship. The threshold with the painted plaster led into a square hall of 10 by 10 meters in the ceremonial wing of the palace.31 The f loor of this hall, covered by painted plaster, was excavated in 1989 and 1990.32 Since this painted f loor has already been discussed in a conference paper after the 1989 season, when it was not yet completely excavated,33 we here only illustrate the complete plan (Pl. Va) and add some new aspects. The f loor was executed in true fresco technique, as the thorough investigations on the site and laboratory analyses of samples in Verona have demonstrated.34 The colours identified in the f loors painting are black, white, gray, red, yellow, orange, brown, and dark blue. According to spectrophotometrical analysis, white came from reserving the lime plaster background, black was from carbon, the range of red, yellow, and orange was derived from ochres, and brown resulted from mixing black and red. The dark blue remains somewhat enigmatic since it consists of a carbon-lime mixture and we do not know how the blue colour effect was produced.35 The colours and natural pigments are the same as used all over the eastern Mediterranean, in the Aegean, the Near East and Egypt.36 The f loor was painted with a grid pattern of red lines imitating a pavement of stone slabs. The red lines represent the red plaster filling the interstices between the stone slabs as we find them on a series of Minoan stone f loors.37 The decoration of some squares

28 29 A. KEMPINSKI, Area D: The Architecture and the Finds, in A. KEMPINSKI (ed.), Excavations at Kabri 2: Preliminary Report of 1987 Season (1988) 36-41 (Hebrew), VI-VII (English Summary), pls. 9, 12. The marbled squares painted on a podium in hall 64 of the palace at Mari and on a platform in courtyard 31 do not form real room f loors and are, in our opinion, to be seen as signs of Minoan inf luence; cf. infra with nn. 47, 49. See E.S. HIRSCH, Painted Decoration on the Floors of Bronze Age Structures on Crete and the Greek Mainland (1977). As to the layout of the palace at Tel Kabri, comparable to that of Yarim-Lims palace in Alalakh VII, see A. KEMPINSKI, An Integrated Plan of the Palace in Light of the Excavations in Areas D and F, in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds), Excavations at Kabri 7-8: Preliminary Report of 1992-1993 Seasons (1994) 26-28 (Hebrew), *18 (English summary) fig. 10, the latter repeated by NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) fig. 1. W.-D. NIEMEIER, Area D: The Painted Plaster Floor in Room 611. Technical, Stylistic, Iconographic and Chronological Implications, in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.) Excavations at Kabri 4: Preliminary Report of 1989 Season (1990) XVI-XXVI, figs. 10-12; W.-D. NIEMEIER, P. CORNALE, P. ROSANO and M. TAGLIAPIETRA, in: A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.), Excavations at Kabri 5: Preliminary Report of 1990 Season (1991) *24-*26. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 197-98, pls. XLVII-LI. See also W.-D. NIEMEIER, On the Origin of Mycenaean Painted Plaster Floors, in E. de MIRO, L. GODART and A. SACCONI (eds.), Atti e memorie del Secondo Congresso Internazionale di Micenologia, Roma - Napoli, 14-20 ottobre 1991, vol. III: Archeologia (1996) 1249-53. NIEMEIER (supra n. 32) xvi-xvii; Idem (supra n. 5) 197; NIEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32). The investigations at the site were done by M. Tagliapietra, restorer, the laboratory analyses by P. Cornale, geologist, and P. Rosano, chemist. NIEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32) 25*. See IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 15-16, Fig. 5. For Alalakh, see WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 233-34. For instance: A.J. EVANS, PM II (1928) 683; Idem, PM III (1930) 357-58; L. PERNIER and L. BANTI, Il palazzo minoico di Fests, vol II: il secondo palazzo (1951) 46, 73, 266. Ayia Triadha: F. HALBHERR, E. STEFANI and L. BANTI, Haghia Triada nel periodo tardo palaziale. AnnScAtene 55 (1977) 72, 80, 82, 87-88, 90-91, 154, 157, 160.

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undoubtedly represents the marbling of gypsum slabs, as our thorough investigation with 1:1 tracings as well as with infrared photographies demonstrated.38 Painted stone imitations regularly occur in Minoan art. The earliest known example on a fresco fragment comes from the Loom-Weight Deposit at Knossos and is ascribed to either MM II or MM III.39 A dado with painted imitation of gypsum slabs from the east border of the palace at Knossos was dated by Evans with stylistic arguments to MM IIIA.40 Of LM IA date are painted gypsum imitations from the West House at Akrotiri on Thera, where they formed dadoes in rooms 4 and 5,41 and a chessboard pattern in the centre of the northeastern wall of room 4.42 In LM IB-II we frequently find painted dadoes imitating gypsum slabs in the palace at Knossos.43 In the Near East, similar painted stone imitations roughly contemporary with the Kabri f loor or earlier were found at two sites.44 Like Alalakh, the Middle Bronze Age city and palace of Tel Kabri were destroyed and abandoned in the pre-bichrome phase of MB IIB.45 Thus the stone imitations painted on the basalt orthostates in room 5 of the so-called Chamber of Audience in Yarim-Lims palace at Alalakh, of which no illustrations have been published,46 are roughly contemporary to the Kabri ones. Earlier than the Kabri and Alalakh examples are the painted stone imitations in Zimri-Lims palace at Mari. There they decorated a podium on the east side of hall 64 (Pl. Vb),47 the dadoes of a passage leading into court 31,48 and a platform near to the north-west corner of that court.49 The excavator of Mari, A. Parrot, compared the painted stone imitations to those painted on dadoes at Knossos.50 Elsewhere he asked for possible connections between the Mari and the Knossos murals, and, pointing to the evidence for connections between Mari and Crete provided by the Minoan precious objects mentioned in the Mari archives, he apparently tended to see some Cretan inf luence in the Mari murals. This was, however, impeded by the dating of the Minoan figural

38 39 NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pls. XLIX b (infrared photograph), L a (water colour). For a colour photograph and a new corrected version of the water colour, see now NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 1-2. EVANS (supra n. 24) 251-52, fig. 188 a; IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 22-23, fig. 6 f. The find context of the fragment was dated by NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 193, n. 3, to MM II. For the following correction, see NIEMEIER (supra n. 24) 81: The Loom-Weight Deposit apparently is a filling for the construction of new substructure walls in MM III and contains mixed MM II-III material. Thus the fresco fragment can be either MM II or MM III. EVANS (supra n. 24) 355-56, fig. 255. Room 4: CH.G. DOUMAS, The Wall-Paintings of Thera (1992) 49, 86-91, figs. 49-56; for a reconstruction of the dadoes within the decoration system of the room, see CH.A. TELEVANTOU, Akroteri Theras: oi toichografies tes Dytikes Oikias (1994) 133-42, figs. 27-32. Room 5: DOUMAS, op. cit. 64, 50-51, figs. 14-17; for a reconstruction of the dadoes within the decoration system of the room, see N. MARINATOS, Art and Religion in Thera: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Society (1984) fig. 17 facing p. 32. TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) 156-59, fig. 37, colour pl. 14; for a reconstruction within the decoration system of the room, see Ibid. 133 fig. 27 E-Z, 139 fig. 31, 142 fig. 32. See, for instance, A.J. EVANS, PM IV (1935) 893-94, fig. 873. This dado in the West Porch belongs to the same pictorial program as the paintings of the adjoining Corridor of the Procession which are possibly of LM IB date cf. CH. BOULOTIS, Nochmals zum Prozessionsfresko von Knossos: Palast und Darbringung von Prestige-Objekten, in R. HGG and N. MARINATOS (eds.), The Function of the Minoan Palaces. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 10-16 June, 1984 (1987) 145-47. We do not discuss here the examples from Alalakh level IV (WOOLLEY [supra n. 3] 232, fig. 29 a-c), which is of 15th century date (see H. KLENGEL, Geschichte und Kultur Altsyriens [1979] 68-75), and from Qatna (see R. du MESNIL du BUISSON, Le site archologique de Mishifre-Qatna [1935] 143, frontispiece), which is probably of 14th century date (see Interconnections, 17-18). Cf. KEMPINSKI (supra n. 17) 70-72. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 92. PARROT (supra n. 25) 67-69, fig. 54, pl. XV, 1-2. A. PARROT, Mission archologique de Mari II: les palais, 2: architecture (1958) 165, pl. XXXIX,2. Ibid. 166, fig. 187, pl. XXXIX,1. Ibid. 165, n. 2.

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wall-paintings to not before 1600 BC by the Aegean specialists.51 B. Muller (= B. Pierre) has discussed the imitation of stone slabs at Mari, Alalakh, Tel Kabri, Crete, and Thera within the context of an east Mediterranean koin in wall-painting and argued that the dominating movement of this koin went from the Orient to the Aegean at the beginning of the second millennium BC.52 To this we would subscribe. We do, however, not agree with her idea that Mesopotamia was the place of origin of the painted imitations of stone dadoes and f loors. As we think, the idea of the painting of imitations of stone dadoes and f loors must have originated in an area where ashlar was actually used for dadoes and f loors. The Mesopotamian Bronze Age architecture was constructed of mudbrick.53 Stone blocks were exclusively used in foundations and only where they could easily be obtained.54 On the other hand, in Crete and the Levant stone dadoes (orthostates) are known from at least the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age on.55 Ashlar f loorings were very common in Crete, although the known examples all are from the New Palace period,56 but the MM IB painted imitations of ashlar f loors in Phaistos and Mallia57 suggest that Crete had ashlar f loorings already by the beginning of the Old Palace period around 1900 BC.58 In the Levant, ashlar f looring does not seem to have been very common.59 In Egypt, stone dadoes were unknown60 and ashlar f looring was very rare.61 Thus Crete and the Levant appear to be possible candidates for the origin of painted imitations of stone dadoes and f loor. According to the present evidence, those imitations exist earlier in Crete than in the Levant. The earliest preserved examples of painted imitations of marbled stone slabs in the Near East, those in the palace at Mari (Pl. Vb), imitate gypsum,62 a material frequently used in Minoan architecture63 but not in the Levant.64 All this appears to indicate that painted imitations of gypsum dadoes and slabs at Mari show Minoan inf luence.

51 52 PARROT (supra n. 25) 109-110. As to the Cretan objects mentioned in the Mari archive, see SWDS, 126-28, nos. D.2-12, with references. B. PIERRE, Decor peint Mari et au Proche-Orient, M.A.R.I., Annales de Recherches Interdisciplinaires 5 (1987) 569, 572; B. MULLER, Les peintures murales de lEuphrate la Mditerrane: des conceptions communes?, Sources et travaux historiques 36-37 (1994) 53; MULLER (supra n. 25) 133-35. See H. FRANKFORT, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient, 4th revised edition (1970) 18. There are no Bronze Age predecessors for the use of gypsum in architectural contexts from the 9th century BC on for wall reliefs in the palaces of the Neo-Assyrian empire, which probably were due to Aramean inf luence; cf. A. MOORTGAT, Die Kunst des Alten Mesopotamien (1967) 133-34. Cf. FRANKFORT (supra n. 53) 42. See G. HULT, Bronze Age Ashlar Masonry in the Eastern Mediterranean: Cyprus, Ugarit, and Neighbouring Regions (1983) 38-39, 46-47, 66; NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 191, with references in nn. 21-25. HULT (supra n. 55) 47-48, 74. Phaistos: D. LEVI, Gli scavi a Fests nel 1956 e 1957, AnnScAtene 35/36 (1957/58) 332-33 = HIRSCH (supra n. 30) 17, C 43. Mallia, Maison E: G. DAUX, Chronique des fouilles et dcouvertes archologiques en Grce en 1964, BCH 89 (1965) 1000-1001, figs. 1-2 = HIRSCH (supra n. 30) 13, C 22-23, fig. 4. Mallia, in the vicinity of Quartier Mu: J.-C. POURSAT, Malia, atelier de sceaux, BCH 102 (1978) 832, fig. 1; Idem, Quartier Mu, BCH 109 (1985) 892; for the date, see Idem, Le dbut de lpoque protopalatiale Malia, Eilapine. Tomos timiotikos gia ton kathegete Nikolao Platona (1987) 463. Here the controversial low and high chronologies for the Aegean roughly synchronize see WARREN and HANKEY (supra n. 24) 128-35, 169 (low chronology); S.W. MANNING, The Absolute Chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age (1995) 217 (high chronology). HULT (supra n. 55) 40, 73. Ibid. 66. Ibid. 36, 73. Cf. MULLER (supra n. 25) 134. Cf. J.W. GRAHAM, The Palaces of Crete, revised edition (1969) 4-5, 143-44, 204-208; J.W. SHAW, Minoan Architecture: Materials and Techniques. AnnScAtene 49 (1971) 20-23. The stone dadoes and ashlar f loors in early Middle Bronze Age Ebla IIIA and in later Middle Bronze Age Alalakh are of basalt and limestone see P. MATTHIAE, I tesori di Ebla (1984) pls. 49-51, 55, 63, 64, 74; R. NAUMANN, Architektur Kleinasiens von ihren Anfngen bis zum Ende der hethitischen Zeit, 2nd edition (1972) 82. As to the use of gypsum in early 1st millennium Mesopotamia, see supra n. 53.


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But is this possible from the chronological point of view? The Mari paintings were probably executed before the 35th year of Hammurabi of Babylon, in which he captured Mari,65 although there is some doubt whether the palace was destroyed by Hammurabi or only later, by the Hittite king Murili I during the course of his famous raid on Babylon, or even by the subsequently installed Kassite dynasty.66 Moreover, there exist problems both in Mesopotamian and Aegean absolute chronologies. In Mesopotamia, we are confronted with no less than five different chronologies starting from different datings of the First Dynasty of Babylon and Hammurabi: the ultra-high, the high, the middle, the low and the ultra-low chronologies.67 While the highest two and the lowermost one are increasingly ruled out, there is as yet no consensus on the choice between the middle and the low chronologies.68 In the Aegean, the traditional chronology as originally introduced by Evans69 came under attack from 1987 on, when P.P. Betancourt and S.W. Manning, starting from radiocarbon dates from Thera, suggested that the Aegean Late Bronze Age had begun considerably earlier than in the traditional chronology.70 Since then the controversial discussion has not ended, and today modified forms of the traditional low chronology and the new high chronology are opposed to each other without reaching a consensus.71 According to the Mesopotamian middle chronology, the 35th year of Hammurabis reign was 1757 BC; according to the Mesopotamian low chronology, it was 1691 BC. According to the Mesopotamian middle chronology, Murili Is raid against Babylon entailing the end of the First Dynasty of Babylon happened in 1594 BC; according to the Mesopotamian low chronology, it happened in 1531 BC. If the fragment from the Loom-Weight deposit at Knossos is of MM II date (Aegean high chronology: 1900/1875 - 1750/20 BC; Aegean low chronology: 19th century - 1700/1650 BC), it is assuming that Hammurabis 35th year actually forms the terminus ante quem for the Mari parallels earlier than the latter or roughly contemporary to them, according to both possible combinations of chronologies (Mesopotamian middle and Aegean high chronologies or Mesopotamian and Aegean low chronologies).72 If the Loom-Weight deposit fragment is of MM III date (Aegean high chronology: 1750/20 - 1700/1680 BC; Aegean low chronology: 1700/1650 - 1600 BC), it is roughly contemporary or somewhat later than the Mari parallels, when again using both possible combinations of chronologies. If the palace of Mari survived the conquest by Hammurabi and remained in use, the painted stone imitations at Mari may be even considerably later than the Loom-Weight Deposit fragment. In summarizing all of the evidence hitherto discussed, I think, with J.C. Crowley,73 that most probably the painted stone

65 66 67 Cf. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 14, 28; C.J. GADD, Hammurabi and the End of his Dynasty, in History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1800-1380 B.C., CAH, 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 179-82, 189. See Interconnections, 20. The list of regnal years of Hammurabi only reports the dismantling of the city walls of Mari for his 35th year; cf. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 28. A good survey is to be found in H. TADMOR, The Chronology of the Ancient Near East in the Second Millennium B.C., in B. MAZAR (ed.), The World History of the Jewish People, First Series: Ancient Times, Vol. II: Patriarchs (1970) 63-84, with bibliography p. 260, nn. 5-7. Cf. W.G. DEVER, The Chronology of Syria-Palestine in the Second Millennium B.C.E.: A Review of Current Issues, BASOR 288 (1992) 11; A. MALAMAT, Mari and Hazor: The Implication for the Middle Bronze Age Chronology, in M. BIETAK (ed.), High, Middle or Low? Acts of the Second International Colloquium on Absolute Chronology, Schloss Haindorf/Langenlois, 12-15 August 1990. gypten und Levante 3 (1992) 122. See A. FURUMARK, The Chronology of Mycenaean Pottery (1941) 110, with references to Evans. P.P. BETANCOURT, Dating the Aegean Late Bronze Age with Radiocarbon, Archaeometry 29 (1987) 45-49; S.W. MANNING, The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Absolute Dating, Aegean Chronology and Mediterranean Cultural Interrelations, JMA 7.2 (1987) 17-82. See most recently P.M. WARREN, The Minoan Civilisation of Crete and the Volcano of Thera, Journal of the Ancient Chronology Forum 4 (1990/91) 29-39 (low chronology); MANNING (supra n. 58) 217-29 (high chronology). As to the incompatibility of the Mesopotamian low and Aegean high chronologies, cf. MANNING (supra n. 58) 219. J.C. CROWLEY, The Aegean and the East: An Investigation into the Transference of Artistic Motifs between the Aegean, Egypt, and the Near East in the Bronze Age (1989) 195, 202.


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imitations at Mari form a Minoan intrusive motif in the palaces painted decoration which is otherwise Mesopotamian in character74 although showing some Egyptian inf luence75 and was painted in secco technique.76 Coming back to the Kabri f loor, the character of the decoration changes in other zones. Here yellow and dark blue f lowers are filling the squares in a checker pattern. The yellow colour is much faded, and often it is no longer possible to distinguish the single motifs. The squares which contained the yellow f lowers are marked in grey on the plan Pl. Va. The dark blue painted f loral motifs depicted stylized linear iris-blossoms of the characteristic Minoan V-type,77 elegantly curved sprays of more naturalistic iris blossoms,78 as well as yellow crocuses.79 All these f lowers frequently occur in Aegean wall-painting and pottery decoration,80 where they have a symbolic meaning.81 As A. Sarpaki convincingly states, in Aegean iconography only a selection of the plants belonging to the actual Bronze Age environment is depicted, this selection together with the other environmental motifs selected gives us the conceptual environment, tinged by cultural concepts, and she continues: This is the reason why the repertoire of Aegean iconography is precise and repetitive, exhibiting a type of koin between areas which interacted culturally.82 Therefore it is of interest that the crocus and iris apparently did not play any role in Canaanite iconography,83 where other f lowers with symbolic meaning like the lotus of Egyptian origin were preferred.84 In 1990, when starting to excavate the doorway leading out from Hall 611 to the north, we saw that here the ashlar blocks of the original threshold had been robbed. In the last, very brief, un-palatial phase of the use of the palace,85 the hole left by this activity was leveled with

74 75 76 77 78 79 80 Interconnections, 18, 98-101. Ibid. 49, 96; and more decisively J. ARUZ in the discussion following our paper (infra). See MULLER (supra n. 25) 133. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. LI b; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pl. 4. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. L b, LI a; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 5-6. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. L b, LI a; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 5-6. See H. MBIUS, Pf lanzenbilder der minoischen Kunst in botanischer Betrachtung, JdI 48 (1933) 7-9, fig. 4 (crocus), 10-11, fig 5 C-D (iris); O. HCKMANN, Theran Floral Style in Relation to that of Crete, in C.G. DOUMAS (ed.), Thera and the Aegean World II, Papers presented at the Second International Scientific Congress, Santorini Greece, August 1978 (1980) 607-608, 609, fig. 2; I. DOUSKOS, The Crocuses of Santorini, in CH.G. DOUMAS (ed.), Thera and the Aegean World II: Papers and Proceedings of the Second International Scientific Congress, Santorini, Greece, August 1978 (1980) 141-46; S. AMIGUES, Le crocus et le safran sur une fresque de Thera, RA (1988) 227-242 (crocus); W.-D. NIEMEIER, Die Palaststilkeramik von Knossos: Stil, Chronologie und historischer Kontext (1985) 61-63, fig. 20 (crocus), 63-66, fig. 21 (iris); R. PORTER, The Theran Wall Paintings Flora: Living Plants and Motifs - Sea Lily, Crocus, Iris, Ivy, in Wall Paintings of Thera. As to the religious symbolism, cf. N. MARINATOS, Minoan Religion: Ritual, Image, and Symbol (1993) 141, 195; for other possible kinds of symbolism, see A. SARPAKI, Plants chosen to be depicted on Theran Wall-Paintings: What does it all mean?, in Wall Paintings of Thera. SARPAKI (supra n. 81). As our partner at Tel Kabri, A. Kempinski, and other distinguished Israeli colleagues who are working in the Bronze Age and visited the Tel Kabri excavations, like M. ARTZY, T. DOTHAN, A. MAZAR, B. MAZAR and O. NEGBI, have confirmed. The term Canaanite here is used in the sense of R. AMIRAN, Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land (1969) 167-70, who has termed the area between the Amuq plain to the north and the deserts to the south and to the east Greater Canaan for the Middle and Late Bronze Age, since they form a largely uniform civilization with regional variations. Cf., for instance, M. KAPLAN, The Origin and Distribution of Tell el-Yahudiyeh Ware (1980) 33-34, pls. 126-127; E.D.T. VERMEULE and F.Z. WOLSKY, Toumba tou Skourou (1990) 386-87, pls. 182-83; J. ARUZ, Imagery and Interconnections, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 40-41, figs. 31-32; H. WEIPPERT, Palstina in vorhellenistischer Zeit, Handbuch der Archologie, Vorderasien II.1 (1988) 302-307, figs. 3.51-3.53. Evidence for the unpalatial character of this very last phase of the palace is provided by the robbing of the ashlar blocks of the threshold in the doorway leading out of Hall 611 to the north and of the orthostates along the walls of Hall 611. Due to the latter activity, the painted plaster f loor of Hall 611 was destroyed along its edges see Pl. Va. Storage jars were put along part of the walls of Hall 611 after the robbing of the orthostates.


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stones and lumps of mud lime, and the doorway finally was covered by a very coarse lime f loor. In the filling underneath this lime f loor, we found, in the last days of the 1990 season, the first tiny fragments of wall painting. Analyses again executed by Cornale and Rosano showed that they also were painted in true fresco technique, and that in addition to the natural pigments used for painting the f loor, in the wall painting synthetic Egyptian blue was also used.86 During the 1991 season, the filling was completely excavated and more than 2000 very small fragments were recovered from it.87 By courtesy of the Israeli Authority of Antiquities, we were able to study the fragments for two years in Heidelberg. Our initial impression during the recovery proved to be correct: the fragments were not found as fallen from the wall, but in a secondary context, completely jumbled and wantonly crushed to be used together with other debris as filling material. Little by little, we were able to make progress in identifying the motifs represented on these tiny fragments. A series of them was painted with spotted brown colour, which on some of them runs out in knob-like protuberances (Pl. Vc). In Aegean art, knob-like protuberances form a widespread convention for representing a rocky shore.88 In wall painting, we find the same motif and a similar coloring in the rocky shore to the right of the Departure Town or Polis IV of the south wall of the miniature fresco from the West House at Akrotiri on Thera.89 On two of our fragments, a wavy strip is left white. The same enigmatic motif appears in the rugged red-brown terrain to the right of the Departure Town or Polis IV.90 The representation of the rocky shore not only follows Minoan artistic conventions without parallels in the arts of the ancient Near East, but also shows a typical Aegean landscape.91 The Mediterranean coast of Israel looks very different and is almost exclusively formed by f lat plains and sandy shores.92 More and more it became clear that the Kabri fragments belonged to a miniature fresco with a similar theme as the Theran one. Rough sea is represented in the shipwreck scene on the north wall of the Theran miniature fresco by a gray stippling of loop-like dashes.93 We find the same motif on some of the Kabri fragments (Pl. Vd). The curved grey-brown stripes narrowing to one end probably belonged to boats.94 Other fragments of the Kabri wall painting belonged to representations of architecture. They show isodomic masonry in white and blue as well as rounded so-called beam ends (Pl. VIa). The same motifs appear in the town representations on the Theran miniature fresco: isodomic masonry in white and blue, and in red and brown,95 which may represent ashlar masonry, mudbrick work, and or/plastered facades painted with imitations of ashlar masonry,96 as well as beam ends above the gate of the Arrival Town or Polis V.97 Representations of isodomic masonry are not restricted to the Aegean, but also exist in the Mari murals. But there they are pink-orange and

86 87 88 89 NIEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32) 24*. On Egyptian Blue and its introduction to Crete as early as MM II, see IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 16. B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, The Fragments of a Minoan Wall Painting from Locus 723, in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.), Excavations at Kabri 6: Preliminary Report of 1991 Season (1992) 8*-11*. Cf. E. HALLAGER, The Master Impression: A Clay Sealing from the Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli, Khania (1985) 16, with references. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 71, fig. 36; cf. L. MORGAN, The Miniature Wall Paintings of Thera: A Study in Aegean Culture and Iconography (1988) 34; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) 259-60. The town next to the rocky shore is designated as Departure Town by MORGAN, op. cit. 12-13, and as Polis IV by TELEVANTOU, op. cit. 199. Cf. MORGAN (supra n. 89) 34, who thinks that it may represent a dyke for irrigation. Cf. Ibid. 34. Cf. J. ROGERSON, Atlas of the Bible (1985) 58-59. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 62-63, fig. 29. Cf. the boats on the south wall of the Theran miniature fresco: DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 79, fig. 38; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) 278, colour pl. 66. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 71 fig. 36, 84 fig. 47, 85 fig. 48; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) 264-74, colour pls. 25, 43, 44, 53, 56, 57, 67, 68. See MORGAN (supra n. 89) 71-74. Ibid. 75, fig. 108; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) colour pl. 68.

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undoubtedly represent mudbricks.98 The round beam ends are a typical Aegean feature, seemingly without parallel in the Near East, and have a religious connotation.99 Thus, apparently an Aegean town like those on the Thera miniature fresco was represented on the Kabri fresco, as hypothetically reconstructed in Pl. VIa. There were also fragments representing f lora and fauna, of which we here illustrate the charming miniature representation of a f lying swallow (Pl. VIb). Representations of swallows are known from Thera, Crete and the early Mycenaean mainland,100 but to our knowledge not from the Levant. Two of the Kabri fresco fragments show parallel horizontal lines with alternating curved triangles and dots between them. This is Evans notched plume motif,101 which is applied in different media of Aegean art to the wings of griffins and sphinxes.102 The S-spiral on another fragment may have belonged to the neck of a griffin. Thus, we have hypothetically reconstructed a griffin in f lying gallop and with S-spirals on the neck, similar to that on the east wall of the Theran miniature fresco (Pl. VIc).103 The winged Griffin and Sphinx are fabulous creatures which certainly did not originate in Crete, but were introduced to the island from the Levant.104 In the Aegean they got, however, some characteristic new features which they did not have before, among them the notched plume wings.105 Thus the griffin (or sphinx) of the Kabri miniature fresco appears to be an iconographical re-import to the Levant, and all preserved motifs of the Kabri miniature fresco have a purely Aegean character. Where had the Kabri miniature fresco been situated? We think that the material of the fill containing the wall fresco fragments was not brought from elsewhere but was formed by debris from this area. Thus, the miniature fresco probably belonged, together with the painted plaster f loor, to the interior design of Hall 611 and ran along the wall in the zone above the doors in a similar position to that of the miniature fresco in room 5 of the West House at Akrotiri.106 3. The Tell el-Dabca Frescoes (1992 - Present) At the end of our paper at the Thalassa conference in spring 1990, after having discussed the Alalakh fresco fragments and the painted plaster f loor at Tel Kabri, we speculated that Aegean frescoes may have existed at more Canaanite sites.107 For this M. Bietak ascribed an

98 99 100 B. PIERRE-MULLER, Une grande peinture des appartements royaux du palais de Mari (salles 219-220), M.A.R.I., Annales de Recherches Interdisciplinaires 6 (1990) 484-85, fragments M 4592-94, 4599, p. 524-25. Cf. MORGAN (supra n. 89) 75-77. The swallow in particular often appears in Theran wall painting and vase painting cf. S.A. IMMERWAHR, Swallows and Dolphins at Akrotiri: Some Thoughts on the Relationship of Vase Painting to Wall Painting, in TAW III, vol. I, 238-41. In Crete we find it on a series of seals, some of them depicting cult scenes cf. J.P. RUUSKANEN, Birds on Aegean Bronze Age Seals: A Study of Representation (1992) 56-57. The fact that we have only one fresco representation of a swallow from Crete, EVANS (supra n. 37) 379, fig. 211, probably is due to accidents of preservation. The swallows on a gold foil from Shaft Grave III at Mycenae, G. KARO, Die Schachtgrber von Mykenai (1930/33) 47, no. 24, pl. 21, are of Minoan inf luence. EVANS (supra n. 24) 548-51. Cf. C. dALBIAC, The Diagnostic Wings of Monsters, in: C. MORRIS (ed.), Klados. Essays in Honour of J.N. Coldstream. BICS Suppl. 63 (1995) 64-67. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 65, fig. 32; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) 252-54, colour pl. 47. Griffin: H. FRANKFORT, Notes on the Cretan Griffin, BSA 37 (1936/37) 106-122; A. BISI, Il grifone: storia di un motivo iconografico nellAntico Oriente Mediterraneo (1965) 171-72, 193; MORGAN (supra n. 89) 50-53; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 46-51, 271-73. Sphinx: A. DESSENNE, Le sphinx, tude iconographique: des origines la fin du second millnaire (1957) 122-29; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 40-44, 271-72. DESSENNE (supra n. 104) 130 no. 294, 133 no. 299; BISI (supra n. 104) 193-95; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 44, 48. For the reconstruction of room 5 of the West House at Akrotiri, see CH.A. TELEVANTOU, New Light on the West House Wall-Paintings, in TAW III, vol. I, 313-14, figs. 4-6; for an attempt to reconstruct Hall 611, see W.-D. NIEMEIER, Tel Kabri: Aegean Fresco Paintings in a Canaanite Palace, in S. GITIN (ed.), Recent Excavations in Israel: A View to the West, Archaeological Institute of America, Colloquia and Conference Papers No. 1 (1995) 10, fig. 1.14. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199.

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almost mantic foresight to us after he had found fresco fragments with strong Minoan affinities at Tell el-Dabca in the eastern Nile Delta.108 As the earlier Austrian excavations under the directorship of Bietak at Tell el Dabca and other excavations in the eastern Nile Delta have demonstrated, the Hyksos rule of the Second Intermediate Period followed a considerable inf lux of Canaanites from Syria-Palestine, and Tell el-Dabca was the Hyksos capital Avaris.109 From 1989 on, the main excavations at Tell el-Dabca/Avaris have focussed on Ezbet Helmi, at the western edge of the site. The discovery of Minoan wall-paintings at Ezbet Helmi was first announced in 1992.110 Several thousand fragments were found in areas H/I and H/IV.111 These all came from secondary contexts, unstratified from the upper levels, from filling levels of the 18th Dynasty, and from walls and foundation trenches of reparations and additions to the mudbrick platform of a monumental building,112 probably a palatial fortress.113 With good reason, the excavators think that the frescoes from which these fragments come originally had adorned walls of this monumental building,114 which first was dated by them to the late Hyksos period before the conquest of Avaris by Ahmose.115 As P. Jnosi has demonstrated, the position of this palatial fortress next to the Pelusiac branch of the Nile fits very well with the description on Kamoses second stela of the women fearfully looking down from the roof of the palace to Kamoses f leet on the river during his (unsuccessful) attack against Avaris.116 More fresco fragments were found in Areas H/II and H/III, ca. 200 m to the southwest of area H/I. According to the preliminary reports, the architectural remnants probably belonged to two major structures, a Hyksos palace followed by an early 18th Dynasty one.117 The fresco fragments in Area H/II also came from mixed contexts and were dated by the excavators either to the late Hyksos period or to the early 18th Dynasty.118 The only in situ finds of lime plaster were made in Area H/III. On the lowermost part of the facade of the Hyksos period building, lime plaster without preserved representative painting but typical of Minoan wall painting was found.119 In the level of the early 18th Dynasty, fresco fragments

108 109 M. BIETAK, Die Wandmalereien aus Tell el-Dabca/Ezbet Helmi: Erste Eindrcke, gypten und Levante 4 (1994) 56. For the use of fresco technique together with al secco technique, see Ibid. 46. Tell el-Dabca: M BIETAK, Avaris and Piramesse: Archaeological Exploration in the Eastern Nile Delta, Proceedings of the British Academy 65 (1979) 218-68; Idem, Canaanites in the Eastern Nile Delta, in A.F. RAINEY (ed.), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period (1987) 41-56; Idem, Avaris, The Capital of the Hyksos: Recent Excavations at Tell el-Dabca (1996) 10-67. Other sites: W.G. DEVER, Relations between Syria-Palestine and Egypt in the Hyksos period, in J.N. TUBB (ed.), Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Papers in Honour of O. Tufnell (1985) 71, with references; C.A. REDMOUNT, Pots and People in the Egyptian Delta: Tell el-Mashkuta and the Hyksos, JMA 8.2 (1995) 61-89. M. BIETAK, Minoan Wall-Paintings unearthed at Ancient Avaris, Egyptian Archaeology 2 (1992) 26-28. For the location of these areas and others which will be mentioned later, see the most recent published plans of Ezbet Helmi: BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 69, fig. 55. P. JNOSI, Die stratigraphische Position und Verteilung der minoischen Wandfragmente in den Grabungspltzen H/I und H/IV von Tell el-Dabca, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 63-71. P. JNOSI, Tell el-Dabca - Ezbet Helmi: Vorbericht ber den Grabungsplatz H/I (1989-1992) gypten und Levante 4 (1994) 31, 37; Reconstruction: BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 71, fig. 58. BIETAK (supra n. 110); Idem (supra. n. 108) 44; Idem, Connections between Egypt and the Minoan World: New Results from Tell el-Dabca/Avaris, in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, 20; JNOSI (supra n. 113) 32; Idem (supra n. 112) 66. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 26; Idem (supra n. 108) 55-58; Idem (supra n. 114) 20; JNOSI (supra n. 113) 27-33; Idem (supra n. 112) 66. JNOSI (supra n. 113) 37 with n. 94. The relevant passage of the text of Kamoses second stela: J.B. PRITCHARD (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd edition (1969) 554; HABACHI (supra n. 22) 34. BIETAK (supra n. 114) 23; M. BIETAK and N. MARINATOS, The Minoan Wall Paintings from Avaris, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 49; BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 70. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 49. Ibid.

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were found on both sides of a wall concentrating around a portal.120 From the stratigraphical evidence in Area H/III, M. Bietak and N. Marinatos, in 1995, came to the conclusion that Minoan wall painting existed in Avaris both during the late Hyksos period and the early 18th Dynasty.121 The fragments from Area H/I-H/IV at Ezbet Helmi instantly created much sensation, since among the scenes depicted on them are spectacular representations of bull leaping so closely identified with Minoan cult and culture (Pl. VId).122 Other categories of motifs on the fragments having parallels in the Aegean are those representing elements of the landscape, like barren hills,123 Easter egg pebbles which are very much a Minoan iconographic form (Pl. VId, upper left),124 and plants, most of which are at home in the Aegean and in Egypt and are represented in both arts, but some of which are alien to Egypt and are not depicted in Egyptian

120 121 122 Ibid.; M. BIETAK, Le dbut de la XVIIIe Dynastie et les Minoens Avaris, Bulletin de la Socit Franaise dgyptologie 135 (1996) 14. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 49. BIETAK (supra n. 110) figs. on pp. 26-27; Idem (supra n. 108) 46-49, frontispiece, pls. 15-16; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 49-54, figs. 2-4. As to the close identification of bull leaping with Minoan cult and culture, cf. MARINATOS (supra n. 81) 218-20; Eadem, The Export Significance of Minoan Bull-Hunting and Bull-Leaping Scenes, gypten und Levante 4 (1994) 98-93; L. MORGAN, Minoan Painting and Egypt: The Case of Tell el-Dabca, in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, 40, with references in n. 97; M.C. SHAW, Aegean Sponsors and Artists: Ref lections of their Roles in the Patterns of Distribution of Themes and Representational Conventions in the Murals, in Techne, 497-99. D. COLLON, Bull-Leaping in Syria, gypten und Levante 4 (1994) 81-88, has suggested that the Minoan bull-sports had their immediate antecedents in Syria, where a group of glyptic representations depict bull-sports. The only example from a datable archaeological context is a seal impression from the Level VII palace at Alalakh, Ibid. 81, pl. 1,2. Thus the terminus ante quem is formed by the destruction of Alalakh VII in the later 17th century or around 1600 BC (cf. supra with nn. 20-23). For stylistic reasons, Collon argues that the seal was probably made around 1700 BC, perhaps in a royal workshop in Aleppo; see D. COLLON, The Aleppo Workshop: A Seal cutters Workshop in Syria in the Second Half of the 18th Century B.C., Ugarit-Forschungen 13 (1982) 33-43. Since Collon is using a rather high version of the middle chronology, the date may be lowered to the first half of the 17th century BC. As opposed to Collons suggestion, we would agree with BIETAK (supra n. 108) 56-57, ARUZ (supra n. 84) 36-39, and SHAW, op. cit. 499 n. 104, in seeing Minoan inf luence in those Syrian seal representations. As Aruz has pointed out, these and other seals of Collons Aleppo group show decisive stylistic innovations: the animals break away from any ground line and the setting of the scene, the traditional schemes of composition, are ignored. As to the bull leaping scenes, in two of them, on the Alalakh VII sealing and on a cylinder seal, formerly in the Erlenmeyer collection, now on loan to the Metropolitan Museum (COLLON, gypten und Levante 4 [supra] pl. 1,3; ARUZ [supra n. 84] 37 fig. 16, 38 figs. 17 and 19), the bull-leapers are symmetrically doubled in an unrealistic way, apparently indicating that the iconographic motif was adopted from Crete, but probably not the actual ritual sport of bull-leaping. Bietak sees some problem in the fact that we do not have contemporary bull-leaping scenes from Crete. But when adopting the high Aegean chronology to which the present authors are tending this problem disappears and the Syrian seals in question are roughly contemporary to the oldest preserved Minoan representation of actual bull-leaping from the MM III-LM IA Knossian Temple Repositories; cf. A.J. EVANS, PM III (1930) 218, fig. 149. As to the dating of the Temple Repositories in MM IIIB - LM IA, see I. PINI, The Hieroglyphic Deposit and the Temple Repositories at Knossos, in T.G. PALAIMA (ed.), Aegean Seals, Sealings and Administration. Proceedings of the NEH-Dickson Conference of the Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory of the Department of Classics, University of Texas at Austin, January 11-13, 1989. Aegaeum 5 (1990) 46-53; NIEMEIER (supra n. 24) 79. The date of the MM IIIB-LM IA transition according to the Aegean high chronology is ca. 1700/1680 - 1675/50 BC; see MANNING (supra n. 58) 217-20. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 33 pointing to parallels from Kea and Thera. The fragment mentioned by Morgan is now published in a water colour: BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) fig. 15. Another example: BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 59, fig. 14. For the Easter egg pebbles being a Minoan iconographic form, see MORGAN (supra n. 89) 34; Eadem (supra n. 122) 33.

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art, like lilies125 and possibly olive trees (if Bietaks identification is correct).126 The animals in the Ezbet Helmi paintings, lions, leopards, antelopes, and dogs, are all found in Egyptian as well as in Aegean art.127 But their f lying gallop is a typical movement expressing animal speed in Aegean art and not introduced to Egypt before late in the Hyksos period.128 Two animals at home in the Nile and often depicted in Egyptian art, the crocodile and the hippopotamus,129 do not appear in the Ezbet Helmi fragments yet known. Fragments of the wings of two griffins, one large-scale and one small-scale, have been identified at Ezbet Helmi.130 Of both wings, only the upper edge is preserved. Thus it is not certain if the wings had notched plumes. But the hanging spirals appear to indicate that the griffins were of Aegean type. Most recently the head of the smaller griffin has been identified.131 As to the representations of human figures, beards like that painted in parallel lines on the fragment of a near life-size head132 very seldom appear in Aegean wall painting.133 But other features of the head have good parallels in Aegean wall painting, like the internal markings in sinuous lines of the ear as well as the eye of a more rounded type than in Egyptian art and with the iris and pupil painted in red ochre with a black dot.134 Bietak and Marinatos interpret the head as that of an Aegean bearded priest, with comparisons to a number of representations on sealstones.135 Two men of small size, painted against a facade, have been identified as belonging to the same composition,136 which, according to Bietak and Marinatos, was probably a procession like that of the north wall of the Theran miniature fresco or that on the Kea miniatures.137 The movement and the position of the arms of the runner is comparable to that of the man on a fragment of the Tylissos miniature fresco,138 as well as of the Captain of the Blacks139 and another male figure on Knossian fresco fragments.140 Two rather well preserved bull leapers from two different compositions have Minoan hairstyles, with long curly hair, and wear a bracelet on the upper arm (one on Pl. VId, lower left).141 This

125 126 Ibid. with references in n. 32; illustration: BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 59 fig. 14. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 45-46, no. F 1, pl. 14 A. The earliest finds of olives in Egypt date from the 14th century BC and it may not have been planted until yet later; see. L. MANNICHE, An Ancient Egyptian Herbal (1989) 128-29. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 33-34 doubts the olive tree identification and thinks that myrtle may be depicted. Myrtle is thought to have been used by the Egyptians for its medicinal and aromatic properties, but is not generally included among the garden plants of Egyptian wall paintings; see MORGAN (supra n. 122) 34 with references in n. 43. In Aegean wall painting, myrtle appears rather often (if correctly identified); see Ibid. 33-34 with references in nn. 39-42. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 34-36. Published are the fragments of a leopard: BIETAK (supra n. 108) 50-51, no. F 9, pl. 19 A; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 61, fig. 16; of an antelope: BIETAK (supra n. 114) 24, pl. 4.1; and of a dog: BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 55, fig. 6. KANTOR, 92-97, 106-107; Interconnections, 26, 77, 155; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 113-17; MORGAN (supra n. 122) 36-38. See E. BRUNNER-TRAUT, Krokodil, Lexikon der gyptologie III (1980) 791-802; L. STRK, Nilpferd, Lexikon der gyptologie IV (1982) 501-506. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 52-53, nos. F 15 (small-scale) and F 32 (large-scale) pl. 21 A-B. See BIETAK (supra n. 120) 22, fig. 12. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 49, no. F 6, pl. 17 A; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 55-56, fig. 7. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 38, with reference in n. 78, knows only one example in the miniature fresco from Thera. Cf. Ibid. 38, with references in nn. 76-77. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 55-56, figs. 8-9. Cf. also the portrait seal representations of priests, J.H. BETTS, The Seal from Shaft Grave Gamma, TUAS 6 (1981) 74-83, with references; MARINATOS (supra n. 81) 128-29, figs. 89-91. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 55-57, figs. 9. 10. Thera: MARINATOS (supra n. 41) 59-60, fig. 38; DOUMAS (supra n. 41) pl. 79. Kea: L. MORGAN, Island Iconography: Thera, Kea, Milos, in TAW III, vol. I, 254-57, figs. 1-4. M.C. SHAW, The Miniature Fresco of Tylissos reconsidered, AA (1972) 172 no. 3, 174 fig. 3, 184 fig. 13. EVANS (supra n. 37) colour pl. XIII opposite p. 756. A.J. EVANS, The Knossos Fresco Atlas (1967) pl. VI, fig. 11. BIETAK (supra n. 108) frontispiece, pls. 15 B. 16.


128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135

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is a typical Minoan custom,142 as is also the wearing of a seal at the wrist by one of the two.143 On the latter, a kilt of Minoan type is also preserved,144 as are the white boots. More white boots with parallels in the Aegean are extant on other fragments.145 As pointed out by L. Morgan, the fact that the Keftiu in Egyptian tombs are depicted wearing white boots shows that the latter were characteristic of Aegean men.146 Further, there are fragments of at least three acrobats from Ezbet Helmi, apparently performing in a grove of palm trees, of which one is published.147 Acrobats occur in Minoan as well as in Egyptian art,148 but the acrobat of the published fragment wears a Minoan kilt, white boots and a headgear of Minoan type with a waz-lily.149 The so-called African on a fresco fragment from Thera, recently reconstructed by Marinatos as an acrobat wearing a plumed headgear and performing next to a palm tree,150 forms a parallel in Aegean wall painting. Associated with the bull leaping scenes of the fragments integrated in the reconstruction on Pl. VId are two interesting ornaments: a maze-like or labyrinth pattern as background and a half-rosette and triglyph frieze as dado.151 Maze-like patterns occur in Egypt and in the Aegean,152 but the half-rosette and triglyph frieze is a characteristic Aegean motif153 with religious connotation.154 Thus all motifs of the fresco fragments from area H/I and H/IV at Tell el-Dabca/Ezbet Helmi have parallels in the Aegean. Several of them also occur in Egyptian art, but others are of distinctive Aegean character: the bull leaping, the f lying gallop, the dress and jewellery, the triglyph and rosette frieze. 4. The Re-examination of the Alalakh Frescoes (1994-1996) After all these exciting fresco fragments had been found at Tel Kabri and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris, it was even more of a desideratum to restudy the Alalakh fragments. For some time we had tried to find them, and had even travelled to the Antakya museum where most of the finds from Alalakh are kept. But then Aharon Kempinski heard from P.R.S. Moorey that the fresco fragments found by Woolley in Yarim-Lims palace of Alalakh Level VII are kept in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, to which they were handed in 1957 by the British Museum in London. This was for us an irony of fate, since we had visited the Ashmolean several times for studies in the collection and in the Evans archive, but we had always gotten stuck in the Evans room and had never entered the next room in which the Alalakh fragments are exhibited. Participation at the Spring 1994 Oxford colloquium in

142 143 Cf. M. EFFINGER, Minoischer Schmuck (1996) 62, with references. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 15 B (photograph); Idem (supra n. 114) pl. 1,1 (water colour). As to the Minoan custom of wearing seals at the wrist, see J.G. YOUNGER, Non-Sphragistic Uses of Minoan-Mycenaean Sealstones and Rings, Kadmos 16 (1977) 141-59; Idem, Representations of Minoan-Mycenaean Jewellery, in EIKVN, 272-73; EFFINGER (supra n. 142) 85-86. As to peculiarities of the Tell el-Dabca bull-leaper with the seal at the wrist which led Younger to doubt that it was painted by a Minoan artist, see infra with n. 247. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 16. As to P. Rehaks view according to which this kilt is a miscomprehended Minoan breechcloth, see infra with n. 260. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 52, no. F 13, pl. 20 B; as to its identification as a boot, see MORGAN (supra n. 122) 39 with references to parallels from Knossos, Tylissos, and Melos. Ibid. 39. On the boots in the Keftiu representations, see J. VERCOUTTER, Lgypte et le monde gen prhellnique (1956) 289-95, pls. XXX-XXXIV. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 49-50, no. F 7, pl. 17 B; Idem (supra n. 114) 24, pl. 3,1. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 35, 39-40, fig. 4-6. See references in Ibid. 39, with references in nn. 84-85. N. MARINATOS, The African of Thera reconsidered, OpAth 17 (1988) 137-41; Eadem, Acrobats in Minoan Art (forthcoming). See the photographs of the actual fragments, BIETAK (supra n. 108) 47-48, no. F 4, pls. 14 D, 15 B, p. 51, no. F 10, pl. 18 B. Another fragment shows a diagonal maze-like pattern: Ibid. 46, no. F 2, pl. 14 B, C. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 43-44, with references in nn. 149-52. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 51 with references in n. 140; SHAW (supra n. 122) 499-504. EVANS (supra n. 37) 605-608; W.-D. NIEMEIER, Zur Deutung des Thronraumes im Palast von Knossos, AM 101 (1986) 84-85; SHAW (supra n. 122) 500.

144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154



honour of Sinclair Hood, who as a young archaeologist had been Woolleys collaborator at Alalakh in 1947-1948,155 gave us the opportunity to study the Alalakh fragments and to discuss them with distinguished colleagues.156 We shall discuss here two groups of fragments for which we have produced new reconstructions. A restored panel, probably coming from the NE part of the salon, has at the upper edge a horizontal violet band framed by two yellow-brown ones outlined in black.157 Near to the left edge of the panel, the yellow-brown horn of a bull is preserved and above it, on the corner of the restored panel, part of the black curved outline of an object. The exact upright position of the horn appears to indicate that not a living animal but rather an isolated bulls head or a bucranium, seen from the front, was represented, as suggested by Woolley.158 He found it tempting to see in the bull design an analogy with Knossos, but then preferred a north-Syrian origin for the motif, pointing to the tradition of the frontal bulls head going back to the pottery of the Tell Halaf culture. To our knowledge there is, however, no continuity with regard to the frontal bulls head motif in the Near East between Tell Halaf and the wall paintings from the palace of the 15th century BC at Nuzi,159 where this motif possibly is inf luenced by Minoan prototypes.160 In Crete, frontal bulls heads are to be found on seals from MM IB-II on161 (high chronology: ca. 1925/1900 - 1750/20 BC; low chronology: 19th century - ca. 1700/1650 BC), in vase painting from MM III on162 (high chronology: ca. 1750/20 - 1700/1680 BC; low chronology: ca. 1700/1650 - 1600 BC), as also in wall painting.163 What was the rounded object between the horns of the Alalakh fragment? Representations of frontal bulls heads and (more seldom) bucrania with rounded objects frequently occur in Aegean art. In Minoan vase painting, seal representations, and thin golden cut-outs from Shaft Grave IV at Mycenae inf luenced by Minoan iconography, we see double axes between the horns,164 while on inlaid metal vessels we find rosettes instead of the double axes.165 The curve of the black object at the edge of the Alalakh fresco fragment in question is rather f lat. If reconstructed as a rosette, this would be very large. Thus we consider the reconstruction as a double axe to be more probable (Pl. VIe). If this is correct, it would form strong evidence for a Minoan character of the fresco.

155 156 157 158 159 160 161 H.V.F. WINSTONE, Woolley of Ur: The Life of Sir Leonard Woolley (1990) 249-56. Beside P.R.S. MOOREY, to whom we are grateful for all his help, these colleagues were P.P. BETANCOURT, R. LAFFINEUR, N. MARINATOS, O. NEGBI, J. SCHFER, W. SCHIERING, and J. WEINGARTEN. For a colour photograph of the fragment, see NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n . 6) pl. 12. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 231. R.F.S. STARR, Nuzi (1937/39) 143-44, pls. 128-29; Interconnections, 33, 113-14, fig. 51. Cf. CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 175-76, 188. MM IB-II: P. YULE, Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology (1980) 123-24, pl. 4, motif 3 A. MM III-LM I: A. ONASSOGLOU, Die talismanischen Siegel. CMS Suppl. 2 (1985) 120-28, pl. XLVI. LM I: J. WEINGARTEN, Aspects of Tradition and Innovation in the Work of the Zakro Master, Liconographie minoenne. BCH Suppl. XI (1985) 169-73, fig. 1. J.H. CROUWEL and W.-D. NIEMEIER, Eine knossische Palaststilscherbe mit Bukranion-Darstellung aus Mykene, AA (1989) 6-7, figs. 3-4. EVANS (supra n. 37) 742, fig. 475; Idem (supra n. 122) 40-41, fig. 25 a, d. According to Evans, these bulls heads formed ornaments on garments of large, seated female figures, whereas STEVENSON SMITH (Interconnections, 80) thought that they may have belonged to representations of architecture. If this is true, they reproduce much larger prototypes. Vase painting: CROUWEL and NIEMEIER (supra n. 162) 7, figs. 3-4. Seal representations: EVANS (supra n. 37) 619, n. 1; N. PLATON and I. PINI, CMS II.3: Irakleion, Archologisches Museum, Die Siegel der Neupalastzeit (1984) 14, no. 11; M.A.V. GILL, in I. PINI, CMS XI: Kleinere europische Sammlungen (1988) 268, no. 259; V.E.G. KENNA and E. THOMAS, CMS XIII: Nordamerika II, kleinere Sammlungen (1974) 17, no. 15. Golden cut-outs from Shaft Grave IV: KARO (supra n. 100) 91-92, nos. 353-54, pl. 44. As to the Minoan inf luence in these pieces, cf. E.T. VERMEULE, The Art of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae (1975) 48-49. VERCOUTTER (supra n. 146) 306, pl. 35, no. 231 (representation of a silver Keftiu cup in the tomb of Senmut in Egyptian Thebes); E.N. DAVIS, The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware (1977) 118-23, no. 24, fig. 95, 263-66, no. 109, figs. 210-12.

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Two other fresco pieces had been found together in situ as fallen from the salon.166 Woolley thought that if they do not actually fit one to the other they must be practically continuous. He saw on one of the fragments the trunk, and on the other the foliage, of a tree. W. Stevenson Smith reconstructed in a drawing the tree imagined by Woolley.167 This reconstruction has been accepted and re-illustrated by several scholars, including ourselves.168 Nevertheless it is wrong, as our investigations demonstrated.169 The fragment on the right in Stevenson Smiths reconstruction is reproduced much too small. Moreover, it has to be rotated ninety degrees, as indicated by a ladder pattern which also occurs near the upper edge of the other fragment. At first we thought that the ladder pattern of the fragment to be turned would be the continuation of the ladder pattern on the other fragment. There, a wavy white band with doubled outline hangs down from the ladder pattern. This is an example of a characteristic Minoan phenomenon called umschliessende Bildform (encircling composition) by W. Schiering,170 concentric composition by Stevenson Smith,171 and all-embracing landscape by S.A. Immerwahr,172 in which terrain motifs also project from above. As Schiering has demonstrated, the multiple wavy outlines of these projections are inf luenced by the marbling of gypsum slabs.173 Next to the ladder pattern of the other fragment, we distinguished a different terrain motif: tight rounded units representing pebbles or boulders.174 Similar terrain motifs can be seen on the bases of a faience panel from the Knossian Temple Repositories showing an agrimi (Cretan wild goat) suckling her calf,175 of the LM IB-II relief fresco with the charging bull from the Northern Entrance Passage at Knossos,176 and of the bull-hunt and bull-tethering scenes of the two Vapheio gold cups.177 The reliefs of the Vapheio cups are especially interesting, since motifs comparable to the wavy band of the other Alalakh fragment are hanging down from the upper edges of their friezes. E.N. Davis has interpreted these hanging motifs as representations of clouds,178 but this is not certain.179 Be that as it may, the pebbles and clouds of the Vapheio cups form interesting parallels to the corresponding motifs on the two Alalakh fresco fragments. Thus we had identified the lower and the upper edge of the frieze. But what was depicted in the frieze? Here we had a great surprise. When having a closer look on the supposed foliage of the tree we realized that it shows the notched plume motif, and thus the foliage in fact is the wing-tip of a griffin. On the other fragment, we identified more notched plume motifs from the lower, narrower part of the wing, as well as parts of the griffins white body. Our reconstruction (Pl. VIf) shows a reclining griffin of Aegean type. As in our reconstruction, ladder patterns are framing Knossian and Theran frescoes from above and/or below.180 The slender curved lines in groups of three above the ladder pattern of the left fragment,

166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 230-31, pls. 36 b, 37 b-c. Interconnections, 103, fig. 137. NUNN (supra n. 25) 93, fig. 171; NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 193-94, pl. 46 c; E.H. CLINE, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: Minoans and Mycenaeans abroad, in Politeia, 269. Which are more thoroughly described in NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6). SCHIERING (supra n. 8) 3. Interconnections, 73-77. IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 41-42. W. SCHIERING, Steine und Malerei in der minoischen Kunst, JdI 75 (1960) 26-34; Idem (supra n. 8) 9-11. See the colour-photograph in NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pl. 19. EVANS (supra n. 24) 510, fig. 366. As to the MM IIIB-LM IA dating of the Temple Repositories, cf. supra n. 122. EVANS (supra n. 122) 171-72, fig. 115; Idem (supra n. 43) 16-17, fig. 8. As to the probable LM IB-II dating, see B. KAISER, Untersuchungen zum minoischen Relief (1976) 287-89. S. MARINATOS and M. HIRMER, Kreta, Thera und das mykenische Hellas (1973) pls. 200-207; DAVIS (supra n. 165) figs. 1-10. Roll-out of the entire compositions: F. SCHACHERMEYR, Die minoische Kultur des alten Kreta (1964) pl. 49 b-c. DAVIS (supra n. 165) 20-23. See WALBERG (supra n. 8) 129-30. Knossos: EVANS (supra n. 24) 549, fig. 400; IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) pls. 22, 41, 43. Thera: DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 174-75, pls. 136-37.

178 179 180



interpreted as stalks of missing f lowers by Woolley, instead formed part of the imitation of stone inlays combined in some Minoan frescoes with ladder pattern frames.181 5. The Problem of the Date of the Tell el-Dabca Frescoes From 1990 on, we suggested that the Kabri and the Alalakh frescoes were painted by travelling Aegean specialists,182 and from 1992 on Bietak and Marinatos did the same for the Avaris frescoes.183 Following the identification of the Hyksos as Canaanites and the initial dating of the fresco fragments from Ezbet Helmi Areas H/I and H/IV to the late Hyksos period, they have, together with the Alalakh and Kabri frescoes, been interpreted by a series of scholars as a phenomenon of the Hyksos period and have caused speculation about some possible special relationship between the Canaanites/Hyksos of the later Syro-Palestinian Middle Bronze Age and the Minoan world.184 Until most recently Bietak belonged to this group of scholars,185 editing the Metropolitan Museum Symposium of November 1993 on the topic Trade, Power and Exchange: Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World.186 Before we discuss the possible background and reasons for this fascinating phenomenon, we have to consider two aspects shaking this scenario. The first aspect has been produced by Bietak himself. As discussed supra, for several years he had dated the fresco fragments from Ezbet Helmi Area H/I and H/IV to the late Hyksos period, whereas according to him frescoes certainly to be dated to the early 18th Dynasty had been only found in Area H/III. Therefore, the participants in a colloquium in memory of Aharon Kempinski in November 1995 in Jerusalem were rather surprised and confused when in his paper Bietak, without giving further explanation, changed the dating of the fragments from Area H/I and H/IV to the early 18th Dynasty. In a Post Scriptum to the 1995 preliminary report on the Avaris frescoes, Bietak and Marinatos stated that excavations in 1994 and 1995 opened the possibility to date the platform construction H/I perhaps into the very beginning of the 18th Dynasty.187 In his most recent publications of 1996, Bietak now firmly ascribes the palatial fortress in Area H/I to Ahmose, after his conquest of Avaris, and dismissing the stratigraphical evidence according to which fresco painting existed in Tell el-Dabca/Ezbet Helmi in the Hyksos period as well as in the early 18th Dynasty188 dates all Avaris fresco fragments to the early 18th Dynasty.189 Confusingly, he in the same year, however, edited without any change a paper given in a 1992 conference by the actual excavator of the monumental platform in Area H/I, P. Jnosi, in which the latter maintains the late Hyksos period dating of the structure,190 whereas Bietak himself changed the late Hyksos date of the structure given in his 1992 Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology at the British Museum for the 1996 publication of that lecture to the early 18th Dynasty.191

181 For instance: IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) pls. 41-42. According to EVANS (supra n. 24: 312-14; Idem [supra n. 122] 211, n. 2), these imitations of stone inlay are a variant of the scale pattern used as a conventional indication of rocks. NIEMEIER (supra n. 32); Idem (supra n. 5) 192-99; Idem (supra n. 106) 2-11. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 27-28; Idem (supra n. 108) 55; Idem (supra n. 114) 26; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 60. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 192-200; Idem (supra n. 106) 9-11; V. HANKEY, Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Egyptian Archaeology 3 (1993) 28-29; CLINE (supra n. 168) 267-70; M.J. MELLINK, New Perspectives in the Hyksos period, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 86-87; MORGAN (supra n. 122) 29, 44; P.M. WARREN, Minoan Crete and Pharaonic Egypt, in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, 4-5, 13. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 55-58; Idem (supra n. 114) 26; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 60-61. Published in gypten und Levante 5 (1995). BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 62. See supra with nn. 119-21. BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 75-76; Idem (supra n. 120) 13-14 with n. 31. P. JNOSI, Die Fundamentplattform eines Palastes (?) der spten Hyksoszeit in Ezbet Helmi (Tell el-Dabca), in M. BIETAK (ed.), Haus und Palast im Alten gypten, Internationales Symposium, 8.-11. April 1992 in Kairo (1995) 93-98. BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 67-83.

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Scholars have reacted to this re-dating in two ways. Some accept it without further comment,192 others to which the present authors belong are rather perplexed and skeptical. E.H. Cline, belonging to the latter category, states that Bietaks decision to redate the relevant strata (C/1-3) at Tell el-Dabca is rather sudden, to say the least and suggests that the rest of the scholarly community might consider giving the Tell el-Dabca excavators some breathing room and should wait until they have concluded their excavations in the relevant areas of the site, and have published all of their raw data, including sectional drawings and enough stratigraphical evidence to firmly date the frescoes and other pertinent artifacts, both to their satisfaction and to ours.193 We sympathize with Clines suggestion. Since we have, however, taken the task to summarize in this conference the state of research on Minoan frescoes in the eastern Mediterranean, and because Bietaks redating if it is correct has considerable consequences, we must here discuss the evidence for it. The arguments as yet put forward by Bietak are the following: 1. The orientation of the foundation of the palatial fortress in Area H/I is the same as that of the early 18th Dynasty palatial compound in Areas H/II-III, while it is oblique to the orientation of the late Hyksos period stratum.194 2. The foundation in H/I resembles the substructure of the so-called Southern Palace and Northern Palace at Deir el-Ballas in a complex interpreted by its excavator, P. Lacovara, as a military residence of the late 17th Dynasty during the war against the Hyksos and abandoned after the conquest of Avaris by Ahmose.195 3. It would ... be more easy and economic to explain the presence of the paintings within one stratum instead of two which are separated by a political break.196 As to the first argument, differences in orientation do not necessarily indicate chronological differences but may have topographical and other reasons.197 The orientation of the monumental platform in Area H/I corresponds to the curve of the Pelusiac Branch of the Nile just to the north of it.198 Borings by J. Drner have shown that there are no older architectural remnants below the monumental platform.199 If the platform was not constructed during the Hyksos period, this strategically important area of the Hyksos citadel at the bend of the Pelusiac branch was not built up before the 18th Dynasty. This would be inconsistent with the description on Kamoses second stela, according to which women looked down from the palaces roof to the river during his attack against Avaris.200 If the palatial fortress on the platform of Area H/I did only have a very short period of use in the early 18th Dynasty, as Bietak now thinks,201 how is one to explain the evidence for different building periods, including repair work with stratified fresco fragments in the foundations?202 If the

192 For instance, SHAW (supra n. 122) 483; P. REHAK, Interconnections between the Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium B.C., AJA 101 (1997) 400; S.P. MORRIS, From Thera to Scheria: Aegean Art and Narrative, in Wall Paintings of Thera. E.H. CLINE, Rich beyond the Dreams of Avaris: Tell el-Dabca and the Aegean World - A Guide for the Perplexed, BSA 93 (1998; in press). We would like to thank E.H. Cline for sending us a copy of the paper before its publication. BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 68. BIETAK (supra n. 120) 8-11; P. LACOVARA, State and Settlement: Deir el-Ballas an the Development, Structure, and Function of the New Kingdom City, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Chicago (1993) 27. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 62. Cf., for instance, the discussion of the different orientations of the Mycenaean Kadmeia in Boeotian Thebes by H.W. CATLING, J.F. CHERRY, R.E. JONES and J.T. KILLEN, The Linear B Inscribed Stirrup Jars and West Crete, BSA 75 (1980) 95-96. See the plan in BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 69, fig. 55. See JNOSI (supra n. 113) 27. Cf. supra with n. 116, and BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 70: From this platform a magnificent view over the river could be obtained. Besides its military function this platform must also have had a palatial and perhaps even cultic purpose. Ibid. 68; Idem (supra n. 120) 11. Cf. supra with n. 112.


194 195 196 197

198 199 200

201 202



building was not partly destroyed or did not partly dilapidate in connection with or after the expulsion of the Hyksos,203 who was responsible for its destruction or dilapidation soon after its erection? As to the second argument, the similarity of the platform in Area H/I to the palaces at Deir el-Ballas had already been recognized in 1994 by P. Jnosi,204 without impeding him from dating the Avaris platform to the late Hyksos period. Bietak himself concedes that similar substructures were found in the Hyksos level of Area H/III, as well as on top of defensive structures at Ebla and Hazor, and that therefore a Near Eastern origin of this type of construction cannot be ruled out.205 As to the third argument, earlier Bietak himself had regarded as possible that trade ... links between Avaris and Crete ... might have survived a dynastic change and might have carried on into the 18th Dynasty, even after the fall of the Hyksos,206 and there is indeed enough evidence from history that the kind of diplomatic and economic relations which apparently are behind these fresco paintings (see infra) can survive the changes of regimes. Now Bietak apparently no longer attaches importance to the diplomatic and economic relations between the Hyksos and the Minoan world, although he had earlier pointed to the Khyan lid from Knossos thought to indicate diplomatic relations between the Hyksos and the Minoan rulers and other Hyksos period imports in the Aegean.207 According to Bietak, king Ahmose, the founder of the 18th Dynasty and most probably the builder of the citadel of the early 18th Dynasty, fits particularly well into the picture of Minoan connections.208 As evidence for this, Bietak points to the dagger and inlaid axe showing Aegean inf luence (f lying gallop, crested griffin with notched plume wings), inscribed with Ahmoses name, and found in the tomb of the 17th Dynasty Queen Ahhotep, mother of both Kamose and Ahmose.209 He imagines the possibility of a political deal between Ahmose and the Minoan Thalassocracy in which the Minoan f leet helped Ahmose who had no f leet against the danger still threatening from the Hyksos harbour bases in southern Palestine.210 There is no archaeological or textual evidence for the latter hypothesis, and it recalls rather imaginative and today forgotten scenarios connected with the expulsion of the Hyksos, like those according to which Mycenaean mercenaries helped Ahmose in evicting the Hyksos,211 or according to which fugitive Hyksos princes conquered the Argolid and subsequently were buried in the Shaft Graves at Mycenae.212 Moreover, Kamose and Ahmose already had a f leet:

203 204 205 206 207 As JNOSI (supra n. 113) 38; Idem (supra n. 112) 68-70 thinks. JNOSI (supra n. 113) 31. BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 68-70. BIETAK (supra n. 114) 26. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 55-56. As to the Khyan lid probably being a diplomatic gift, cf. H. STOCK, Der Hyksos Chian in Bogazky, MDOG 94 (1963) 74-80. To the three Tell el-Yahudiyeh juglets probably from Thera mentioned by Bietak (op. cit. n. 168), add more recent finds from the Akrotiri settlement: fragments of MB IIB stone vessels (P.M. WARREN, The Stone Vessels from the Bronze Age Settlement at Akrotiri, Thera, ArchEph [1979] 88-90, 106-107) and a Canaanite storage jar (S. MARINATOS, Excavations at Thera VII [1976] 30, pl. 49), with parallels in the MB IIB pottery group 4 from Kabri tomb 498 (cf. A. KEMPINSKI, Some samples of Pottery from Tomb 498, in A. KEMPINSKI [ed.], Excavations at Kabri 3: Preliminary Report of 1988 Season [1989] 31-35 [Hebrew] X-XI [English Summary] fig. 18, no. 9), as well as from the MB IIB Levels XI and X at Megiddo (cf. G. LOUD, Megiddo II: Seasons of 1935-39 [1948] pls. 35 no. 2, 42 no. 2, 43 no. 1), and the MB IIB level 3 in Hazor Area C (cf. Y. YADIN et al., Hazor II: An Account of the Second Season of Excavations [1956] 89-90, pl. CXIV, 1-6). BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 80. Cf. KANTOR, 63-66, 71-74, pl. XIII A; W. STEVENSON SMITH, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, revised with additions by W.K. SIMPSON (1981) 219-22, figs. 215-16. BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) 80-81; Idem (supra n. 120) 24-25. A.W. PERSSON, New Tombs at Dendra near Midea (1942) 178-96; F. SCHACHERMEYR, Welche geschichtlichen Ereignisse fhrten zur Entstehung der mykenischen Kultur?, Archiv Orientlni 17 (1949) 331-40. F.H. STUBBINGS, The Rise of Mycenaean Civilisation, History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region, CAH , 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 633-37.

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Kamose attacked Avaris from ships,213 and Ahmose captured Avaris after a series of assaults by both land and water, as an Egyptian sea captain with the same name reports in a text inscribed in his tomb at el-Kab in Upper Egypt.214 According to this report, after the capture of Avaris, Ahmose proceeded to southern Palestine and besieged Sharuhen, most probably to be identified with Tell el-Ajjul,215 for three years before conquering it. There apparently was no more danger from the Hyksos, since the pharaoh and his captain then sailed to Nubia. The two weapons from Ahhoteps tomb certainly are not imported Aegean works, but are of Egyptian workmanship showing inf luence from the Aegean world.216 The character of this inf luence is not easy to detect, but the motif of the f lying gallop as seen on the dagger was already introduced to Egypt during the Hyksos period,217 possibly via Syria.218 In summary, in the present state of published evidence, we still consider it possible that the Avaris fresco fragments come from two different periods, the late Hyksos period and the early 18th Dynasty. 6. Travelling Aegean Fresco Painters? Were the Alalakh, Kabri and Avaris frescoes painted by itinerant Aegean artists, as we as well as Bietak and Marinatos think? Several scholars have agreed to this theory,219 whereas others are skeptical or refuse it. When V. Hankey thinks that it is premature to attribute the (Avaris) frescoes to Minoan artists when very little is known about Near Eastern wall painting between those at Mari (18th century BC) and those from Alalakh VII, Tell Kabri and Tell el-Dabca (17th to 16th century BC),220 she is, of course, correct that our material is rather fragmentary. We would disagree, however, with her argument that the Avaris frescoes are too grandiose to be of Minoan origin.221 Grandiose wall decorations are not unknown in Minoan Crete. The East Hall in the palace at Knossos was adorned in the first period of its existence dated to MM III with magnificent stucco reliefs of bulls in life-size, together with some human figures.222 Some time in the LM I period, in LM IA223 or LM IB,224 the East Hall was remodeled into its final shape. The decorative scheme with human figures carrying objects, female figures, at least one priestly figure in hide-dress, griffins of various sizes, and a huge Snake Frame certainly was very grandiose and prestigious,225 as were also the impressive bull scenes (charging bulls and/or bull leaping) in the West Porch and above the Northern

213 214 215 As the inscription of his second stela reports; cf. supra with n. 116. See the translation in PRITCHARD (supra n. 116) 233-34. Sharuhen has been identified with Tell el-Farah (South) see Y. YISRAELI, Farah, Tell el- (South), in E. STERN (ed.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 2 (1993) 441 or Tell el-Ajjul see KEMPINSKI (supra n. 20) 147-48. We consider the second suggestion to be the more probable one, since Tell el-Farah (South) is situated inland, whereas Tell el-Ajjul was the most important stronghold of the Hyksos in Southern Palestine and is situated next to the sea. Thus, the participation in the siege by the sea captain Ahmose makes more sense when Sharuhen is identified with Tell el-Ajjul. Cf. STEVENSON SMITH (supra n. 209) 222; ARUZ (supra n. 84) 42-43. Cf. Interconnections, 155. Cf. ARUZ (supra n. 84) 40. O. NEGBI, The Libyan Landscape from Thera: A Review of Aegean Enterprises Overseas in the Late Minoan IA Period, JMA 7.1 (1994) 87-88; ARUZ (supra n. 84) 33. 43; E.H. CLINE, My Brother, My Sun, Rulership and Trade between the LBA Aegean, Egypt and the Near East, in Role of the Ruler ,150; Idem (supra n. 168) 267-69; E.N. DAVIS, in the Discussion at the end of Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 128; MORGAN (supra n. 122) 44; WARREN (supra n. 184) 4-5. HANKEY (supra n. 184) 28. V. HANKEY, A Theban Battle Axe, Queen Aahotep and the Minoans, Minerva 4.3 (1993) 13. KAISER (supra n. 176) 289-90. EVANS (supra n. 122) 496. KAISER (supra n. 176) 292. Ibid. 279-82, 287-93; R. HGG AND Y. LINDAU, The Minoan Snake Frame Reconsidered, OpAth 15 (1984) 75-77.

216 217 218 219

220 221 222 223 224 225



Entrance Passage in the Knossian palace.226 When S. Sherratt thinks that those scholars who see in the Alalakh, Kabri and Avaris frescoes the work of Aegean craftsmen are mesmerized by an Aegeocentric view,227 this suspicion could possibly count for Aegean archeologists like E.N. Davis, L. Morgan, and us, but not for Near Eastern archaeologists like A. Kempinski and O. Negbi, or an Egyptian archaeologist like M. Bietak. Sherratt states that if Bietak had got to Dabca, or Kempinski and Niemeier to Kabri, before Evans got to Knossos, I doubt if the question of a diaspora of Aegean fresco artists to the east would seriously have arisen.228 The place of origin of objects of art is, however, not necessarily identical with their first findspot. Greek vases were, for instance, found in Etruria before they were excavated in Greece and were commonly called Etruscan during the 18th century.229 Vases of the 7th century Wild Goat Style were first found in Rhodes and for a long period of time designated as Rhodian.230 More recent scientific analyses and stylistic investigations have, however, demonstrated that Rhodes was not an important pottery production centre and that there were four producers of Wild Goat Style pottery: Miletus, Chios, Clazomenae and a further place in northern Ionia, of which Miletus was the most important one.231 Following Sherratts scenario, I think that after Evans had gone to Knossos and Marinatos had gone to Thera, they and other scholars soon would have recognized that the frescoes of Alalakh, Kabri, and Avaris display a style very similar to the Knossian and the Theran ones, but very different from the styles of Egyptian and Levantine arts. The differences between the styles of Egyptian and Minoan arts have been analyzed by H.A. Groenewegen-Frankfort and, most recently, by M. Bietak.232 According to Groenwegen-Frankfort, Minoan art differs from Egyptian (and ancient Near Eastern) art in its absolute mobility in organic forms. Bietak aptly explains this with the different cultural patterns of both civilizations. The Minoan society was not as the Egyptian one dominated by writing, listing, and absolute order, and therefore Minoan art was not subjected to hieroglyphic clichs and a rigid canonical order. As to a comparison of Canaanite and Minoan arts, we unfortunately do not have many objects of art from the late Middle Bronze Age Levant. But those which are extant show a style distinctly different from the Minoan one. For instance, the bird representations on bone inlays from Megiddo and Lachish233 seem motionless in comparison to the crane on an ivory plaque from Palaikastro.234 Canaanite female and male metal figurines235 appear stiff in comparison to the Minoan female and male metal figurines displaying strong inner tension and dynamics.236

226 227 228 229 230 231 See B. and E. HALLAGER, The Knossian Bull Political Propaganda in Neo-Palatial Crete?, in Politeia, 547-48, with references. S. SHERRATT, Comment on Ora Negbi, The Libyan Landscape from Thera: A Review of Aegean Enterprises Overseas in the Late Minoan IA Period, JMA 7.2 (1994) 237-40, esp. 237. Ibid. 238. Cf. B.A. SPARKS, The Red and the Black, Studies in Greek Pottery (1996) 47-50. Cf. R.M. COOK, Greek Painted Pottery, 2nd ed. (1972) 117 P. DUPONT, Naturwissenschaftliche Bestimmung der archaischen Keramik Milets, in M. MLLER-WIENER (ed.), Milet 1899-1980: Ergebnisse, Probleme und Perspektiven einer Ausgrabung. IstMitt Suppl. 31 (1986) 57-71; R.E. JONES, Greek and Cypriot Pottery: A Review of Scientific Studies (1986) 665-71; R.M. COOK, The Wild Goat and Fikellura Styles: Some Speculations, OJA 11 (1992) 255-66. H.A. GROENEWEGEN-FRANKFORT, Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Time and Space in the Representational Art of the Ancient Near East (1951) passim, especially 195-205; M. BIETAK, The Mode of Representation in Egyptian Art in Comparison to Aegean Bronze Age Art, in Wall Paintings of Thera. I. ZIFFER, At the Time the Canaanites were in the Land (1990) 23* fig. 1*, 28 fig. 24. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 113 above. ZIFFER (supra n. 233) 79* fig. 39* (silver figurine of naked female from Megiddo), 114 fig. 130 (steatite mould from the Nahariya temple for casting goddess figurines); O. NEGBI, Canaanite Gods in Metal (1976) passim (male figurines). C. VERLINDEN, Les statuettes anthropomorphes crtoises en bronze et en plomb, du IIIe millnaire au VIIe sicle av. J.-C. (1984) pls. 4-6, 16-18 (female), 7-15 (male).

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In the preference for red backgrounds at both Alalakh and Tell el Dabca/Avaris, S. Sherratt sees a difference to the Aegean where, according to her, red backgrounds are rare.237 In fact, red backgrounds are rather common in Minoan frescoes from MM III-LM I on,238 and also occur in Mycenaean frescoes.239 The unusually large scale of the bulls head at Alalakh is considered by Sherratt an un-Aegean feature.240 In our reconstruction (Pl. VIe), however, the bulls head with horns is only ca. 22 cms high and thus smaller than, for instance, the bulls heads on a jar from Pseira.241 According to J.G. Younger and M.C. Shaw,242 the frontal face of the bull in a bull leaping scene from Tell el-Dabca/Avaris243 is rather unusual. According to Shaw, in the Aegean bulls faces are not shown that way until later than the estimated date of the Tell el-Dabca frescoes. She cites two examples from LM IB/LH IIA find contexts: seal impressions from the destruction level of the Minoan villa at Sklavokampos,244 and a bull on the quiet one of the two gold cups from the Vapheio tholos.245 The find contexts provide, however, only a terminus ante quem. For stylistic reasons, B. Kaiser dated the Vapheio cups to LM IA or even little earlier.246 Moreover, Shaw uses the traditional low chronology. If using the revised high chronology (to which we tend), the Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes are contemporary with LM IB/LH IIA. Another reason for Younger not to see genuine Minoan works in the Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes is that the two preserved bull leapers do not conform accurately to any of the poses reconstructed by Evans and himself.247 This typology is, of course, not of Bronze Age date,

237 238 SHERRATT (supra n. 227) 237. Examples: The Saffron Gatherer fresco from Knossos: EVANS (supra n. 24) 265, pl. IV; new restoration: IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) pl. 11. The Lily fresco from Amnisos: MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) colour pl. 23. Both the Saffron Gatherer fresco and the Lily fresco are possibly of MM III date; for the Saffron Gatherer, cf. NIEMEIER (supra n. 24) 85, with references in n. 155; for the Lily fresco, cf. V. STRMER, Areal A: Die Villa der Lilien, in J. SCHFER (ed.), Amnisos nach den archologischen, historischen und epigraphischen Zeugnissen des Altertums und der Neuzeit (1992) 148-49. The Monkey fresco from the House of the Frescoes at Knossos: EVANS (supra n. 37) 447, pl. X; M.A.S. CAMERON, Unpublished Paintings from the House of the Frescoes at Knossos, BSA 63 (1968) colour pl. A1 (MM III/LM IA). The Sacral Knot fresco from Nirou Chani: S. XANTHOUDIDES, Minoikon Megaron Nirou, ArchEph 1922, 11, fig. 9, and restoration in the Herakleion Museum. The Yellow Lotus (?) fresco from stratum IIA of house 1 at Ialysos in Rhodes: M. MONACO, Scavi nella zona micenea di Jaliso 1935-36, Clara Rhodos X (1941) 88-89, pl. X; for the date see A. FURUMARK, The Settlement at Ialysos and Aegean History c. 1550 - 1400 B.C., OpArch 6 (1950) 153-66. The White Lily fresco from the so-called first building period of Bronze Age Miletus: M.-H. GATES, Archaeology in Turkey, AJA 100 (1996) 303, fig. 117; B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, Projekt Minoisch-Mykenisches Milet: Zielsetzung und Grabungen auf dem Stadionhgel und am Athenatempel 1994/95, AA (1997) 239, fig. 78 (LM IB). The Priest King relief fresco from Knossos: EVANS (supra n. 37) 775-90, pl. XIV (frontispiece); new reconstruction: W.-D. NIEMEIER, Das Stuckrelief des Prinzen mit der Federkrone aus Knossos und minoische Gtterdarstellungen, AthMitt 102 (1987) 65-98; for the date, cf. KAISER (supra n. 176) 284 (LM IB-II). The Griffin fresco from the Throne Room in the palace at Knossos: A.J. Evans, The Palace of Minos at Knossos IV (1935) 908-913, pls. XXXII-XXXIII (frontispiece); for the date, cf. W.-D. NIEMEIER, Zur Deutung des Thronraumes im Palast von Knossos, AthMitt 101 (1986) 67-68 (LM IB-II); IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) 94, 96-98 (LM II-IIIA:1). G. RODENWALDT, Tiryns II: Die Fresken des Palastes (1912) 217; M.L. LANG, The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia II: The Frescoes (1969) 79-81, 43 H 6 and 44 H 6, pls. 125, A. SHERRATT (supra n. 227) 237. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 81. J.G. YOUNGER, Bronze Age Representations of Aegean Bull-Games III, in Politeia, 516-18; M.C. SHAW, Bull Leaping Scenes at Knossos and their Inf luence on the Tell el-Dabca Murals, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 105. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 15 B (photograph); Idem (supra n. 114) pl. 1,1 (water colour). S. MARINATOS, To minoikon megaron Sklavokampou, ArchEph (1939-1941) 90, fig. 15. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 207; DAVIS (supra n. 165) figs. 2, 8. KAISER (supra n. 176) 160-63. YOUNGER (supra n. 242) 517.

239 240 241 242

243 244 245 246 247



but rather invented by these two archaeologists.248 Not all representations fit in their scheme, such as, for instance, an unusual bull leaping scene on a gold ring from chamber tomb 4 at Antheia in Messenia.249 Younger certainly goes too far in suspecting the piece which was found in a regular excavation of being a forgery, salted in the tomb to appear authentic.250 One of the two Tell el-Dabca/Avaris acrobats251 grasps the neck of the bull in a similar manner as the acrobat on a sealing from the Knossian Temple Repository.252 The other one253 may be the hitherto singular representation of a side leaper as suggested by Bietak and Marinatos.254 Another peculiarity is seen by Younger in the cushion seal worn on the right wrist by the first bull leaper. It is the twelfth depiction of a sealstone worn at the wrist in an Aegean setting, but the only one of a cushion seal (all the rest are lentoids), one of the two depictions with the seal worn on the right wrist (it is extremely common to wear seals or rings at the left wrist ...), and the only one worn by a problematic bull-leaper.255 The cushion is, however, also a characteristic Minoan seal shape.256 Evidence from Minoan tombs demonstrates that not only lentoids were worn at the wrist, but also other seal types.257 As convincingly argued by N. Marinatos, bull games provided an arena for display of the young men of the aristocracy.258 If so, why should not the young aristocrats have worn their seals as status symbols, as does the Cup Bearer of the Knossian Procession fresco,259 probably also a young aristocrat, and the priest on a jasper lentoid from the Vapheio tholos?260 The latter is, by the way, the only representation of a priest with a Syrian robe known to wear a seal at the wrist. Thus one should be very cautious in using statistics in Aegean iconography. P. Rehak interprets the kilt of the second bull leaper as a misunderstanding of a Minoan breechcloth with a rigid codpiece of metal or leather, which makes it unlikely that this was painted by a Minoan artist.261 We do not think, however, that this rigid codpiece actually existed. The feature is merely due to the often strong accentuation of the penis.262 The kilt of the Tell el-Dabca/Avaris bull leaper is similar to the kilts of the officer and the chieftain of the Chieftain Cup from Ayia Triada,263 and to the kilt of the man falling down alongside the charging bull on the violent Vapheio cup.264 According to Rehak, the heads of the Dabca leapers are large in proportion to their rubbery bodies: compare the lithe, even sinewy, musculature of Minoan figures.265 The only leaper of which the head and most of the body is preserved is the side leaper. I cannot see that its head is abnormally large in proportion. As to the bodies, one has to take into account the state of preservation of the very worn Tell

248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 Cf. also the critical remarks by J. PINSENT, Bull-Leaping, in O. KRZYSZKOWSKA and L. NIXON (eds.), Minoan Society: Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium 1981 (1983) 259-60. M. KOUMOUZELIS, in I. PINI, CMS V, Suppl. 1B (1993) no. 135, found on the f loor of the tomb. YOUNGER (supra n. 242) 512, 530 no. 63. See illustrations cited supra n. 143. EVANS (supra n. 122) 218, fig. 149. See illustrations cited supra n. 144. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 51, 52, fig. 2. YOUNGER (supra n. 242) 517-18. Cf. YULE (supra n. 161) 44-46. M.S.F. HOOD, Another Warrior-Grave at Ayios Ioannis near Knossos, BSA 51 (1956) 85, 93- 94, no. 3, fig. 3, pl. 14 c-d; PLATON and PINI (supra n. 164) nos. 64 (amygdaloid) and 65; M.S.F. HOOD and P. de JONG, Late Minoan Warrior Tombs from Ayios Ioannis and the New Hospital Site, BSA 47 (1952) 273-74, nos. III.22-23, 275, fig. 16, pl. 54; for the find position next to the wrist, see Ibid. 251, fig. 6. We do not see any reason why cushion seals should not also have been worn at the wrist. MARINATOS (supra n. 81) 218-20. EVANS (supra n. 37) pl. XII facing p. 756. P. REHAK, The Aegean Priest on CMS I.223, Kadmos 33 (1994) 76-84. P. REHAK, Aegean Breechcloth, Kilts and the Keftiu Paintings, AJA 100 (1996) 39-41, with n. 29. Cf. H.-E. GIESECKE, Kretische Schurze, OpAth 17 (1988) 91-92. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 102; S. HOOD, The Arts in Prehistoric Greece (1978) 144, fig. 137. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 200 above; DAVIS (supra n. 165) fig. 7. For the reconstruction of this kilt type, see GIESECKE (supra n. 262) 96-97, figs. 8-9, type IIId. REHAK (supra n. 192) 401.

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el-Dabca/Avaris fresco fragments. When looking at the photographs of the original fragments, one realizes that much of the interior details of the bodies are lost.266 Taking this into account, I do not find the bodies of the bull leapers more rubbery than, for instance, those of the fishermen from the West House at Akrotiri on Thera.267 Shaw and Rehak argue that the combination of bulls and a geometric backdrop pattern (Pl. VId) is unusual.268 For Rehak, it is even a most un-Minoan concept. We have, however, to consider that we only possess a very small fraction of the Minoan frescoes which actually existed. The fact that the combination of bulls and a geometric backdrop pattern is not a most un-Minoan concept is demonstrated by a cushion seal from Gournia with the representation of a bull with a tectonic ornament as backdrop.269 Rehak doubts that the Kabri f loor was painted by Minoan artists since the f loral chains are really quite unlike anything attested in the Aegean.270 This is not true. Floral chains of iris V-f lowers exist in Minoan pottery decoration from at least LM II on.271 As the examples of the festoon with crocus pendant and the water sign motifs show, in Minoan art motifs can appear earlier in other media and only later in pottery decoration.272 Iris V-chains decorate, for instance, the garment of one of the crocus gatherers on the fresco of room 3 b in Xeste 3 at Akrotiri on Thera, contemporary with LM IA.273 If the Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos274 had been found in the Levant or in Egypt, would Rehak doubt that it was painted by a Minoan artist since it has no parallels in Crete? I do not see any peculiarities in the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes which would be so hybrid as to exclude the possibility that Minoan artists were involved in painting them. Style and iconography are very close to those of genuine Aegean fresco paintings and very far from anything else known from the Levant and Egypt. The relationship between style and ethnic identity is a complicated and controversial issue.275 We would agree with J.M. Hall that it is hopeless to believe that archaeological evidence can identify ethnic groups in the past. Artifacts can, however, be taken and consciously employed as emblemic indicia of ethnic boundaries in much the same way as language or religion. The task, then, that should be reserved for archaeology, and for which it is well equipped, is to illuminate the ways in which ethnic groups actively employed material culture in marking boundaries that had already been discursively constructed.276 In this sense, fresco painting in Minoan style and iconography form in combination with Minoan religion (obvious to us in special types of sanctuaries as tripartite shrines, peak sanctuaries and cave sanctuaries, religious iconography and cult implements), Minoan domestic pottery, and Minoan language (Linear A script), evidence for the ethnic boundaries of the Minoans.277 The existence of fresco paintings of Minoan style and iconography in foreign countries and cultural surroundings form evidence for an export beyond the ethnic boundaries which has to be explained.


267 268 269 270 271 272

273 274 275 276 277

See, for instance, the side leaper; BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 16. Of his face, only the eye is visible; the profile outline is lost, as probably also are interior details of the muscles. DOUMAS ( supra n. 41) pls. 18-19. SHAW (supra n. 242) 110; REHAK (supra n. 192) 401. PLATON and PINI (supra n. 164) no. 238. REHAK (supra n. 192) 401-402. As to the f loral chains, see NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) pl. LI a-b. See W.-D. NIEMEIER, Die Palaststilkeramik von Knossos (1985) 63-64, 65 fig. 21:21. For LM IB predecessors, see Ibid, fig. 21:6, 8. See L. MORGAN, Morphology, Syntax and the Issue of Chronology, in J.A. MacGILLIVRAY and R.L.N. BARBER (eds.), The Prehistoric Cyclades, Contributions to a workshop on Cycladic Chronology (1984) 166-71, 172-75. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) fig. 156. P.M. WARREN, The Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos, in P. DARCQUE and J.-C. POURSAT (eds.), Liconographie minoenne. BCH-Suppl. XI (1985) 187-208. See most recently S. JONES, The Archaeology of Ethnicity (1997) 110-16, 119-27; J.M. HALL, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity (1997) 132-34. Ibid. 142. Cf. R. HGG and N. MARINATOS, Conclusions, in Minoan Thalassocracy, 221-22; M.H. WIENER, The Isles of Crete? The Minoan Thalassocracy Revisited, in TAW III, vol. I, 128-60; W.-D. NIEMEIER, A Linear A Inscription from Miletus (MIL Zb 1), Kadmos 35 (1997) 87-99.



Sherratt thinks that the similarities in iconography between the Levantine and the Aegean frescoes should be seen in terms of an intermediary textile connection.278 As E.J.W. Barber has argued, there indeed appears to have been a textile exchange in the second millennium eastern Mediterranean in several directions: Syria to the Aegean (the motifs of the griffin and the sphinx may have come via embroidery from Syria to Crete)279 and the Aegean to Egypt.280 Aegean textiles were an important component of international trade from early in the second millennium,281 and there is possible evidence for the appearance of figural motifs on Minoan textiles from the beginning of the New Palace period on.282 According to Sherratt, the links .... between the f loral elements of the Kabri painted f loor and Aegean pottery might equally plausibly be seen in terms of an intermediary textile connection.283 But what about the imitation of gypsum slabs on the Tel Kabri f loor? This motif has nothing to do with textiles. Nor can the Aegean landscape and architecture of the Tel Kabri miniature fresco fragments have been transmitted via textiles. Moreover, it appears a strange scenario to us that Aegean pictorial motifs should have been transmitted via textiles to the Near East and there copied by Near Eastern painters in the Aegean fresco technique not at home in the Near East. The use of the fresco technique in the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris murals, representing an isolated and rather short-lived element in the Levant and Egypt, forms, in combination with the Aegean iconography and style, the strongest argument for the suggestion that this phenomenon cannot be explained without direct reference to Aegean fresco painting artistry. There are various possibilities: the frescoes were painted by travelling Aegean artisans; they were painted under the supervision of Aegean artists with the assistance of Levantine painters trained by them; they were painted by Levantine painters trained by Aegean masters. It is difficult to decide in each case which of these solutions is the correct one. We would agree with P.P. Betancourt that only a very small percentage of the fresco paintings is known and that we are touching the tip of the iceberg of a whole series of interrelated workshops, working in Knossos, the Aegean islands, on the coast of Western Asia and in Egypt, perhaps travelling back and forth, perhaps occasionally exchanging personnel or going back to Knossos to learn the most recent things.284 7. The Alalakh, Tel Kabri and Tell el-Dabca Frescoes Within the Eastern Mediterranean Koin As argued in an earlier paper, we see the phenomenon of the Alalakh and Tel Kabri frescoes (to which now the Tell el Dabca/Avaris frescoes are to be added) in the framework of diplomatic relations and gift exchange between the rulers in the ancient Near East, in which the rulers of Crete whose palaces appear to be at the West end of a long line of palaces, palace-temples and temples stretching to the East as far as the Euphrates and the Tigris285 were involved.286 This has been doubted by Manning et al. on the grounds that it has yet to be demonstrated convincingly that the Aegean palaces, and especially those of the LM IA/LH I periods, participated in the same level of interpalatial exchange that is evidenced in the Near

278 279 280 281 282 SHERRATT (supra n. 227) 239. E.J.W. BARBER, Prehistoric Textiles (1991) 321. Ibid. 338-57. As copies painted in Egyptian tombs of the 12th Dynasty demonstrate: see M.C. SHAW, Ceiling Patterns from the Tomb of Hepzefa, AJA 74 (1970) 25-30; BARBER (supra n. 279) 346-47. Ibid. 320-21, figs. 15:6-7. It is not certain, however, that the fresco fragments from Knossos with miniature bulls heads, sphinxes and griffins come from representations of womens clothing. They may have belonged to representations of architecture as argued by Interconnections, 80. SHERRATT (supra n. 227) 239. P.P. BETANCOURT, in the Discussion at the end of Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 129. G. CADOGAN, Why was Crete Different?, in G. CADOGAN (ed.), The End of the Early Bronze Age in the Aegean (1986) 153-71, esp. 169. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199-200. This view has been adopted by NEGBI (supra n. 219) 87-88 for the Tell el-Dabca frescoes.

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Eastern palace archives: such an Aegeocentric approach is unwarranted on present evidence.287 Indeed, there exists as yet no archival evidence from the Minoan palaces for interpalatial exchange with the palace centres of the Near East. However, the Minoan Hieroglyphic and Linear A scripts remain undeciphered, and they may be as silent on this topic as are the later Linear B tablets, although there is evidence of Mycenaean lite exchange with the Near East from the archaeological record.288 And there is evidence that Minoan Crete was involved from the Old Palace period in a down the line palatial gift exchange with the Near East and Egypt:289 the export of fine palatial Kamares pottery,290 precious metal vessels,291 richly decorated textiles,292 and possibly jewellery.293 Of special interest are a number of texts from the archives of the Mari palace contemporary either with the Cretan late Old Palace period or the very beginning of the New Palace period (cf. supra) which list objects of Caphtorian (Cretan) manufacture, including ostentatious weapons, metal vases, clothing and leather shoes.294 The fact that some of these Cretan objects were given by king Zimri-Lim of Mari as diplomatic gifts to other Mesopotamian kings, among them Hammurabi of Babylon, demonstrate their prestige character within the Near Eastern lite exchange network. The lid of an alabaster vase with the cartouche of Khyan appears to indicate that royal gifts were sent by the Hyksos pharaoh of Avaris to the ruler of Knossos.295 Later, in the early 18th Dynasty, emissaries from Keftiu (Crete)296 are represented in the wall-paintings of a series of tombs of high officials in Egyptian Thebes carrying precious objects, among them gold and silver vessels with inlays, swords and textiles, many of them undoubtedly of Aegean origin.297 In the tomb of Menkheperresoneb, these objects are given to the pharaoh by the wr (prince or king) of Keftiu, who is named together with the princes/kings of Hatti, of Tunip and of Kadesh.298 As Cline has convincingly argued, the goods carried by the Keftiu in the

287 288 S.W. MANNING, S.J. MONKS, G. NAKOU and F.A. de MITA Jr., The Fatal Shore, The Long Years and the Geographical Unconscious, JMA 7 (1994) 219-35, esp. 220-21. For the silence on this topic of the Linear B tablets, cf. J. CHADWICK, The Mycenaean World (1976) 156-58; J.T. KILLEN, The Linear B Tablets and the Mycenaean Economy, in: A. MORPURGO DAVIES and Y. DUHOUX (eds.), Linear B: A 1984 Survey (1985) 241-305, esp. 262-70; for the archaeological evidence, most recently SWDS, passim, esp. 85-88. M.H. WIENER, The Nature and Control of Minoan Foreign Trade, in Bronze Age Trade, 325-50, esp. 328. See B.J. KEMP and R.S. MERRILLEES, Minoan Pottery in Second Millennium Egypt (1980) 1-219; G. WALBERG, Provincial Middle Minoan Pottery (1983) 144; WARREN and HANKEY (supra n. 24) 134-35; WIENER (supra n. 289) 332; G. WALBERG, The Finds at Tell el-Dabca and Middle Minoan Chronology, gypten und Levante 2 (1991) 115-18; J.A. MacGILLIVRAY, A Minoan Cup at Tell el-Dabca, in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 81-84. G. CADOGAN, Early Minoan and Middle Minoan Chronology, AJA 87 (1983) 507-518, esp. 514, thinks that two silver cups with spiral decoration from the Royal Tombs at Byblos might be Minoan; P. MONTET, Byblos et lgypte. Quatre campagnes de fouilles Gebeil 1921-1922-1923-1924 (1929) 191-92, Pls. 111:748, 112:749. As copies in Egyptian tombs of the 12th Dynasty demonstrate: see SHAW (supra n. 281) 25-30; BARBER (supra n. 279) 346-47. G. WALBERG, A Gold Pendant from Tell el-Dabca, gypten und Levante 2, (1991) 111-12 has suggested that a gold pendant from a Middle Kingdom level at Tell el-Dabca is of Minoan manufacture. This has, however, been doubted by J. ARUZ, Imagery and Interconnections, gypten and Levante 5 (1995) 33-48 who considers the piece to be of Canaanite origin. See most recently SWDS, 27, 126-28 nos. D:3-12 with references. Cf. supra with n. 207. We here follow recent research which almost unanimously identifies the country of Keftiu as Crete; cf. E. and J.A. SAKELLARAKIS, The Keftiu and the Minoan Thalassocracy, in Minoan Thalassocracy, 197-203 with references, to which S. WACHSMANN, Aegeans in the Theban Tombs (1987) has to be added. For a different view, see J. STRANGE, Caphtor/Keftiu: A New Investigation (1980). KANTOR, 44-49; VERCOUTTER (supra n. 146) 305-368; W. HELCK, Die Beziehungen gyptens und Vorderasiens zur gis bis ins 7. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (1979) 64-75; WACHSMANN (supra n. 296) 55-57, 60-61, 64-66, 69-70, 72-73. VERCOUTTER (supra n. 146) 64; STRANGE (supra n. 296) 50-51; CLINE (supra n. 219) 146.

289 290


292 293

294 295 296





Theban paintings were not tribute but gifts from the rulers of Crete to the rulers of Egypt.299 The word inw is usually translated as tribute, but this should not be taken literally since, according to Egyptian ideology, the pharaoh was not only king of Egypt but actually the divine king of the world.300 As A.R. Schulman has argued in a similar case of inw given by the court of Hatti to Thutmose III: The Egyptians, however, with their characteristic egocentric sense of superiority, would have presented such gifts as tribute.301 Although admittedly somewhat fragmentary, this archaeological, textual, and pictorial evidence appears to indicate that the Cretan palaces from the Old Palace period on were involved in interpalatial exchanges in the Eastern Mediterranean. We completely agree with Sherratt that the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes are to be seen in terms of the forging of an lite koin artistic, iconographical, ideological, technological in the circumstances of the intense maritime interaction between the coastal Areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.302 We do not understand, however, why the existence of this koin should mean that the frescoes of Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris have nothing to do with Minoans per se, as argued by A.B. Knapp.303 Essential to an artistic koin are the exchanges of ideological ideas, of motifs, of iconography, of techniques, but also of living people. As C. Zaccagnini has demonstrated, the sending of specialized craftsmen is well attested in the framework of the diplomatic relations between the rulers in the ancient Near East, and their transfers were inserted into the dynamics and formal apparatus of the practice of gift-exchange.304 Bietak has suggested that the Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes were painted by Minoan artists belonging to the entourage of a Knossian princess married to the pharaoh, which he first identified as a Hyksos ruler, but now as Ahmose, the first pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty.305 As stated by Cline, dynastic intermarriage was a favoured diplomatic tactic in the Bronze Age Near East.306 P.W. Haider thinks that the entourage of a foreign princess would comprise several hundred people, who until the end of their lives remained in the harem of the pharaoh, and that one can well imagine that at Tell el-Dabca/Avaris the rooms of the foreign princess and her entourage were decorated according to her desires.307 According to their find positions, the frescoes from areas H/I and H/IV had not, however, decorated the inner rooms of a harem, but apparently the eastern f lank of the building, probably next to a ramp leading into the building.308 The frescoes from area H/III had served as ornamentation of the gate of an enclosure wall.309 As discussed supra, at Alalakh and Tel Kabri, the frescoes probably had been attached to the walls of major ceremonial (and possible ritual) halls of the palace, not of the private rooms of queens or princesses. Moreover, when accepting Bietaks hypothesis, we would have to imagine that the in-coming Minoans brought no domestic and cultic accoutrements, but nonetheless insisted on Minoan artists providing a painted shrine for personal worship. I would agree with Morgan that this is a curious scenario.310

299 300 301

302 303 304 305 306

307 308 309 310

CLINE (supra n. 219) 145-46. Cf. also K. KILIAN in the discussion after the paper by I. STRM, Aspects of Minoan Foreign Relations, LM I-LM II, in Minoan Thalassocracy, 191-94, esp. p. 195. Cf. STRANGE (supra n. 296) 47, 52. A.R. SCHULMAN, Hittites, Helmets and Amarna: Akhenatens First War, in D.B. REDFORD (ed.), The Akhenaten Temple Project Vol. 2: RWD-MNW, Foreigners and Inscriptions (1988) 53-79, esp. 73 n. 55. SHERRATT (supra n. 227) 237-39. A.B. KNAPP, unpublished lecture at Reading, UK, December 1995, summarized by him in an Email communication on Aegeanet, 7.3.1996. See also Idem, in this volume. C. ZACCAGNINI, Patterns of Mobility among Ancient Near Eastern Craftsmen, JNES 42 (1983) 245-64. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 28; Idem (supra n. 114) 26; Idem, Avaris (supra n. 109) 136; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 61 CLINE (supra n. 168) 277-78; see also CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 256-66; P.W. HAIDER, Menschenhandel zwischen dem gyptischen Hof und der minoisch-mykenischen Welt, gypten und Levante 6 (1996) 137-56, esp. 149-55. Ibid. 155-56. JNOSI (supra n. 112) 68. BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117). MORGAN (supra n. 122) 44; cf. also M.H. WIENER, in the discussion at the end of Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World, 127, 131-32.


Wolf-Dietrich and Barbara NIEMEIER

In our opinion, the occurrence of frescoes in Aegean technique, style, and iconography in the palaces of Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris has to be explained in a different way. The Ugaritic myth according to which the god of handicrafts, Kothar-wa-Khasis, has his seat in Crete and has to be brought from there to build a splendid palace for the god Baal and to furnish it with precious works of art,311 demonstrates that Minoan handicrafts were highly esteemed in the Levant. On the other hand, it points to an esoteric dimension. In this context, M.W. Helms investigations on long-distance relations, trade, and craftsmanship are helpful. As she has demonstrated, the knowledge of distant realms and regions as well as the acquisition of foreign prestige goods are used by elites for their political advantage.312 In this context, artisans travel because elites seek craftsmen from distant locales to enhance their chief ly reputations with their presence and the products of their skills.313 The acquisition of esoteric knowledge from outside has an important role in this kind of long-distance connection.314 This may explain the religious connotations of the themes of the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris frescoes,315 and the fact that later many of the Aegean objects carried by the Keftiu in the wall-paintings of the Theban tombs have cultic functions in the Aegean: rhyta of different shapes (bulls head, lions head, conical rhyta) and bull statuettes.316 Minoan fresco painting apparently was a rather short-lived phenomenon in the Levant and Egypt in Egyptian terms, covering the Hyksos period and the very beginning of the early 18th Dynasty. Later, in the palaces of Amenhotep III at Malkata in Thebes and of his son Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) at Amarna, we find again paintings of nature scenes which appear to breathe a Minoan spirit.317 They are, however, executed in secco technique and certainly were not painted by Aegean artists. Minoan wall painting was a thing of the past at that time. H. Frankfort suggested that the Egyptians at the time of Akhenaten had seen older paintings while trading in the Argolid. The suggestions by Kantor and Stevenson Smith, that such inf luences derive from earlier contacts with the Aegean rather than contemporary contacts, appear more convincing.318 As Morgan has pointed out, the Minoan frescoes of Tell el-Dabca/Avaris may well provide the first, and crucial, example of the missing links.319 The painted imitations of gypsum dadoes at Alalakh level IV (15th century BC) and at Qatna (probably 14th century BC)320 possibly indicates a similar survival of motifs of Minoan origin in later local wall paintings. Thus, the Minoan artists involved in the painting of the frescoes at Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/Avaris apparently formed an important element in the growth of the so-called International Style of the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean.321 Wolf-Dietrich and Barbara NIEMEIER

311 312 313 314 315 See NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199, with references in nn. 91-92. M.W. HELMS, Ulysses Sail: an Ethnographic Odyssey of Power, Knowledge, and Geographical Distance (1988) 3-4, 131-71; Eadem, Craft and the Kingly Ideal: Art, Trade, and Power (1993) 8-9, 160-70. Ibid. 34; cf. also CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 263-65. HELMS 1988 (supra n. 311) 16, 148-60, 261. At Alalakh, the religious connotation of the fresco fragments is clear from the motifs represented, the frontal bulls head with a double axe (cf. M.P. NILSSON, The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and its Survival in Greek Religion, 2nd edition [1950] 231) and the griffin (cf. N. MARINATOS [supra n. 81] 54, 151-54). The same applies to the Tell el-Dabca frescoes with the representation of bull-leaping; cf. Ibid. 218-20. For the Tel Kabri fresco, the religious connotation is at first glance not so clear, but the parallel from the West House at Akrotiri had a ritual function (see W.-D. NIEMEIER, Iconography and Context: the Thera Frescoes, in EIKVN, 99-100, with references), as had Hall 611 of the Kabri palace on which the fresco probably was painted (cf. NIEMEIER [supra n. 5] 197; Idem [supra n. 106] 2). VERCOUTTER (supra n. 146) 311-21, 323-28; 357-59; HELCK (supra n. 297) 71-72; WACHSMANN (supra n. 296) 55-61, 69-70. Cf. D. FIMMEN, Die kretisch-mykenische Kultur, 2nd edition (1924) 206-207; H. FRANKFORT, The Mural Paintings of El-Amarneh (1929); STEVENSON SMITH (supra n. 209) 286-95. KANTOR, 83-84; Interconnections, 161-62. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 29-30. Cf. supra with n. 44. On the International Style, see Interconnections, 32, 44-45, 97, 107, 113; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 221-27; CAUBET, in this volume.

316 317 318 319 320 321


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Pl. Va Pl. Vb Pl. Vc Pl. Vd Pl. VIa Pl. VIb Pl. VIc Pl. VId Pl. VIe Pl. VIf


Tel Kabri, Palace, Hall 611, painted plaster f loor, plan, by B. Niemeier. Mari, palace, podium on the east side of hall 64 painted with imitation of gypsum slabs; from A. Parrot, Mission archologique de Mari, Vol. II.2: le palais, peintures murales (1958) Pl. XV:2. Tel Kabri, palace, fragments from miniature fresco, representation of a rocky shore, reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragments from miniature fresco, representation of rough sea and boats (?), reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragments from miniature fresco, representation of an Aegean town, reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragment from miniature fresco, representation of a f lying swallow. Tel Kabri, from the palace, fragments from miniature fresco, representation of a griffin, reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Tell el Dabca/Avaris, fragments from bull-leaping fresco, reconstruction by L. Pinch-Brock; from BIETAK, Avaris (supra n. 109) Pl. IV. Alalakh, from the palace of level VII, fresco fragments with representation of a frontal bulls head with double axe, reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Alalakh, from the palace of level VII, fresco fragments with the representation of a reclining griffin, reconstruction by B. Niemeier.


Wolf-Dietrich and Barbara NIEMEIER

Discussion following W-D. and B. Niemeiers paper: J. Aruz: I just wanted to make one comment about Mari, that its not surprising to see Minoan-inspired works [there], because even in the most significant wall painting which you said otherwise was purely Mesopotamian, it, in fact, is not. It is full of Egyptianizing imagery, surrounding the investiture scene of the king. And so, there is an openness related perhaps to the position of Mari as a great international emporium, that is ref lected in the visual arts. W-D. Niemeier: Thank you. A.B. Knapp: I hadnt realized until the last couple of years what an impact Gordon Childe made upon Aegean history. The continuing reaction against a Light, and a few rampant metallurgists, coming out of the East now comprises coming out of the West, I believe, a Minoan king or prince, a princess, traders, raiders, craftsmen, wall painters and so on. I am not in a position to come back with point-by-point iconographic arguments to yours, but there are people who are working on just that point. But one thing I would like to ask you, specifically in response to what you talked about today: you want to see the inf luence being Minoan iconographic instead of Canaanite iconography. My question to you is: what is Canaanite iconography? Ill make it easy on you. Just tell me three features of Canaanite iconography. M. Fotiadis (Chair): Shall we reserve the answer for this evening? That might give him some time to think and we really have to stop at this point.