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16 February 2005

The three sites to be considered were active harbours/anchorages based on rivcr cstuaries during segments of the Late Bronze Age. Imported material goods from thc lands oithe sea were found in all three. They were also well positioned at junctions of thc north-south maritime and the east-west sea to desert terrestrial routes. Tel Akko and Tcll Abu Hawam are situated on the Bay of Akko/Haifa, on the northern confines of the Carmcl Ridge, while Tel Nami is located on its western shadow. Their diverse geographical settings dictated disparity in settlement patterns, as did their economic alliances with the different regions and polities in the islands and coastal sites. This study concentrates on the second part of the LBA, extending approximately from the 14th c. to the first years of the 12th c. BCE, namely LB 11. The ceramic assemblages from the excavations of the harbour area at Tell Abu Hawam, together with those from Akko Area PH, situated near the assumed harbour/anchorage of the LBA and Nami, whose importance as a harbour/anchorage is the reason for its existence on thc Mcarot River cstuary, have revealed thc potential complexity hitherto hidden behind thc gcneral notion of ccramic trade in the East Mediterranean in the later 2nd millennium BCE. Tell Abu Hawam has been referred to in the past as a possible Mycenaean emporium, while a recent study has suggested that graves in the vicinity of Akko as being a burial ground of members of an emporium representing foreign interests in the area. At Nami, cultic paraphernalia as well as metal objects can well be compared, if not directly to the Mycenaean world, to the central eastern Mediterranean koine of the end of the 14th and 13th c. BCE. With data gathered in the last few years from the three sites, two of which are dimensionally small thus were probably not urban centres by themselves, the question arises as to how to define them, whether they can be viewed as eniporia, sites in which foreigners settled to further their homelands interests or trans-shipping centres. Should extensive amounts of ceramic imports be necessarily perceived as evidence of such settlcinents? What part can be attributed to state trade, sailor, or entrepreneurial trade? Do these sites substantiate the concept that the LB eastern Mediterranean economy showed signs of long term marketing strategy and a more complex manipulation of materials as has been shown in past studies?

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0. H. Krzyszkowska
It was in the early 19th century AD that the first few Aegean seals reached public and privatc collections in the West; but few were recognized for what they were. Only in thc 1870s and 1880s was there concerted interest in collecting early gems from the Greek islands, sometimes known as Insefsteine. In London Sir Charles Newton acquired many fine picces for the British Museum, both through purchase and from excavations carried out in thc Mycenaean cemetery of Ialysos. However, for all his interest, Ncwton derided the early gems as crude and primitive; his notions of dating were hazy at best. It was left to Adolf Furtwangler in Berlin to make a systematic attempt to distinguish Archaic Island Gems from the earlier Mycenaean pieces, known from Mycenae, Vapheio and chance finds on Crete. Yet when compiling his monumental study, Die anriken Gemnzen (1900)Furtwangler had only a few hundred Bronze Age seals to work with. One hundred years later we have some 1 0 , O O O seals or ancient impressions made by them spanning all periods from late EB I (early 3rd millennium) until the fall of the Mycenaean palaces in c. I200 BC. The sequence is virtually continuous, although some periods arc bctter represented than others. Only pottery provides a more extensive record. That said, thc surviving repertoire only represents a fraction of the original output - bcst estimatcs place i t no higher than 3-5%. Indeed seals and sealings arc still coming to light at thc ratc o f c. lo00 every 10-15 ycars. But, so far, not a single surviving seal can bc matched to an ancient impression in clay. Seals and sealings have the potential to inform us on wide range of key issues - art and iconography, crafthechnology, administration, social status, interconnections within the Aegean and further afield. But to integrate the evidence - to gain a better undcrstanding of thc role played by seals in Aegean society - is a major challenge. Moreover, somehow, we must to grips with the totality of the repertoire. Too easily arc we dazzled by the sheer technical brilliance and iconography of the finest gems and signet rings. Thus we must balance acknowledged masterpieces with products that arc derivative, humdrum, or even downright crude in concept or execution. This, in turn, may hclp ofisct any lingering tendencies to impose our own value regimes on the past. Arc wc really justificd in regarding seals as status markers - or more precisely as denoting high status'? Somc surcly did - but did all? There is a widespread assumption that seals existed chiefly for administrative use. Does that really hold good across the board? In fact there is growing evidence to suggest that some types of seals were never meant to be used for sealing purposes. If so, then some seals may be more equal than others. Whether there was any special link between motifs and certain social groups or ranks remains unclear. Indeed the genesis of motifs and their meaning is deeply problcmatic. When



lions and spiders are juxtaposed on our pre-palatial cylinders - was therc any signilicancc other than the decorative? And how might we decide? Why arc sonic subjects lavourcd more than others?On Crete running goats appear on seals and signet rings for about SO0 years. With numerous examples to work with running goats provide an idcal way of tracing stylistic developments through time and space. And yet the social significancc of this motil(ifany) escapes us entirely. Of course seals are small and easily portable; they might pass through many hands bcforc reaching their final resting place. Along the way they could inspirc thc production of new seals, whosc motifs could be copied or adapted from the originals, albcit in a morc up-to-datc style. As for the original seal, the heirloom seal, what did i t mean to its new owncr? Did thc motif seein a bit old-fashioned? Or did this fact even register? Thcsc qucstions merely underscore the dilemma we face when attempting to movc from thc purely dcscriptivc to thc application of glyptic evidence to wider social issues. For a better understanding of the role played by seals in society much systcmatic rcscarch will bc needed in the future. This paper highlighted some of thc insights gained in rccent years through the study of materials and by extension techniques. Thus thcrc arc clcar instances of conspicuous display, seen in the deployment of cxotic raw matcrials (imported and man made). There is evidence that conservative and innovativc workshops existed at the same time. From the neo-palatial period roughly 25% of the extant repcrtoirc is madc 01 soft local stoncs engraved with simple hand-held tools not fine gems or precious metals requiring sophisticated skills. Thus we gain the impression that seal ownership and use was fairly extensive in neo-palatial Crete. But how far down the social spectrum did seal owncrship really cxtcnd? And were certain kinds of seals restricted to ccrtain social groups or classes? By contrast in Early Mycenaean Greece seals are made cxclusivcly of semi-prccious stones and precious metals, sometimes further embellished with gold caps; the hoops o f gold signet rings may have elaborate granulation or cloisonnk. Moreover, wc have nowhere near thc quantity of seals that we have for the comparable period on Crctc. The ovcrall impression remains one of a highly restricted circle of seal owners - the great ( i f not the good) in Early Mycenaean society. By the later Mycenaean period production of hard stone seals and nietal signet rings ceases; those used in our palatial sealing deposits werc heirlooms. At thc sanic time new classes of seals made of soft local materials werc produced and arc cspccially common in so-called peripheral areas. Thus it may be that in .sm7w areas local clitcs were using thcsc sub-elite products as a means of negotiating status by cmulating pcrccivcd norms of behaviour in the Mycenaean heartland. But much more analysis is rcquired: contextualizing the glyptic evidence with rigour, scrutinizing thc scals in rclation to othcr finds on a regional level, on a local level, cemetery by cemctcry, gravc by gravc. What is bcginning to emerge - thanks to new discoveries and systematic study of scals themselves - is that seal ownership and use in later Mycenaean Grcecc is much inorc coinplicatcd than was hitherto believed. Our impression of the role played by seals in Aegean socicty will ncvcr bc pcrfcct; many crucial issues will remain unresolved. We must learn to acccpt thc limitations of our primary evidence or to minimize the negative aspects: e.g. the extraordinary mismatch belwccn scals and sealings; burial practiccs that too often deprive us of links hctwccn seals and individual interments (always assuming we can find the graves in the first place). Yet with pcrscvcrancc,



and perhaps a bit of luck, fascinating new questions will surely present thcmsclvcs. And as personal possessions - worn and broken, treasured and copied - seals do bring us tar closer to the individual than is ordinarily possible in the Aegean B r o n x Ape. Herein lies one o f the main attractions of glyptic studies - but also a major challenge.

16th March 2005

W. Gauss
Aegina Kolonna is known as one of the major centres in the Aegean Bronzc Age, a situation that in part retlects its geographical position between mainland Greece, the Cyclades and Cretc. Kolonna is the main settlement on the island and onc 01' the very tcw sites in GI-cccc with a continuous and provable stratigraphic settlement activity, lasting from the Early to the Late Bronze Age. In terms of Kolonna's pottery production, as wcll as in its lbrtifications and at least one exceptionally wealthy burial with gold jewellery and a rcccntly discovered 'gold trcasurc', Kolonna has emerged as an Early and Middle Helladic sitc without pccr on the Greek mainland. The importance of Aegina Kolonna for the chronology ol' the central Aegean is mirrored by its imports from distant regions found at Kolonna and by substantial quantities of Aeginetan ceramics that are found in most Bronzc Age sites in thc central Aegean region. The terminology and phasing system at Kolonna as well as rclatcd problems niay be summarized as follows: the Kolonna I settlement phase subsumes the few remains of the Final Neolithic period and the beginning of the EBA. Two subsequent phases - Kolonna I1 and I11 - define the EH I1 period. Three phases of occupation - Kolonna IV to VI - have been distinguished for the EH I11 period, whereas four settlement phases - Kolonna VII to X - have been differentiated for the MH period. The same terms have bccn used until rcccntly for describing the sequence of ceramic phases. This is ;I misiindcrsc~indingand ii clear distinction has to be made between the stratigraphic sequence 01' settlement phases and the sequence of ceramic phases. Therefore a preliminary alphabetical labelling system l o r dcscribing the pottery phases has been introduced. Alter the end of EH 11, there seems to be a clear break in many respects, including thc pottery. The first phase of the EH 111 ceramic repertoire, pottery phase D. shows new features. At the same time type fossils of the previous era, such as sauce-boats, or bell shaped cups are no longer produced. The Kolonna V settlement phase of the advanced EH I11 period is represented by an impressive destruction horizon that also produccd a large number of complete or almost complete pots. In spite of the excellent ceramic evidence (pottery phase E), we lack clear indications, apart from obsidian, for direct or indirect imports from and contacts with the Cyclades for most of EH 111. This situation changes within the Kolonna VI settlement phase and the associated pottery phases F and G, representing the final stages 01' EH 111 and the transition to the MBA. Now potters start adapting and imitating Cycladic prototypes and the Aeginetan pottery shows links to the so-called Phylakopi I culture. The
I Our research at Kolonna is part of the SClEM 2000 project (Synchronisation of Civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the Second Millennium BC). Relevant preliminary reports me: W. G;~uss and I<. Sinetana in: M. Hietak (ed.). The .ryric/rrorriitrrio,r ofciwi/i.rtrrioris iri rhe ~ L I . P I ~ ~ I IMetlirerrtrrretrrr rrr r / r r 2rrd rr~r//twriirwr BC (Vienna 2003) 47 1-86; W. Gauss and R. Sinetana in: E. Alran-Stern, Die tig.tiisc./re Fr-~rkrir (Vicima 2004) I I S8-67.




limited ceramic repertoire of EH I11 becomes richer in terms of vessel shapes, patterns and surface treatments. Within the Kolonna VIII settlement phase and pottery phasc H, dating to the early MBA, the well-known Aeginetan matt-painted pottery makes its first appcarancc. Also imports from Crete and Minoan type loom-weights made of local clay arc found for thc first time at Kolonna. Cycladic imports are frequent and Cycladic influencc is obvious in thc Acginctan adoption of Cycladic vessel shapes. We assume that within thc Kolonna VIII settlement phase the nucleus o f a large building complex - the ccntre of the prehistoric city - was founded. The advanced MBA, the Kolonna IX settlement phase and pottery phasc I provide evidence for Minoan-type pottery production at Aegina. This pottery shows remarkablc differences from the other locally produced pottery, as it is wheelmadc and no potterss marks have been identified so far. The large building complex was enlargcd and reached its maximum dimension of at least 30 x 30 m. At the same time the prehistoric city cxpanded towards the east and a new fortification wall was built. A potters kiln was constructed at the site and a member of the local elite was buried in a shaft grave outsidc thc newly erected fortification wall. Thc Kolonna X settlement phase marks the transition to the Late Bronze Agc. Thc large building complex went out of use and so far there is no cvidencc for Minoan-typc pottery production. An early stage in the LH I pottery development is characterised by pottcry phasc K. Acgina Kolonna continued to be a major centre in thc central Aegean arca but [hc situation seems to change gradually within the Early Mycenaean period. Aeginctan potters tried to produce Mycenaean pottery but obviously were not able to create the typical lustrous surface and paint. At the same the time range of exported Aeginetan pottery seems to fall off. In the LH IIIA period a potters kiln was constructed at the site. So far mainly plain and solidly painted Mycenaean open shapes of local production are found in layers associated with the construction, period of use and and the end of the kiln. Hopefully future research at Aegina Kolonna will shed further light on some of the crucial questions of Aegean prehistory, such as the ceramic and chronological sequence of thc MBA and LBA or the beginning and impact of so-called minoanization.

I S Mav 2005


D. J. Pullen
In this papcr I look at the Eastern Korinthia and Saronic Gulf in the Early and Late Bronze Ages, utilizing a coastscapc approach, an aspect o f landscape study that focuses on the coastal zone, both land and sea. This study stems in part from thc Eastcrn Korinthia Archaeological Survey (EKAS), whose principal historical aims were to cxplorc the changing relationship between the ancient city of Korinthos and its hinterland; lo cxaminc human activities upon the diverse coastal, lowland, and upland landscapes of thc castern Korinthia over time; and to illuminate the interactions of the people of the eastern Korinthia within thc rcgion and with other parts of the Aegean area and beyond. But instcad of looking at harbours and the coast as the periphery of a Korinth-ccntred landscapc, I now takc thc approach of looking at the entire Saronic Gulf as a region of coastscapcs, landscapes, and islands in order to understand the prehistory of the castcrn Korinthia. Thc work of Cyprian Broodbank on island archaeology in thc Cycladcs is vcry pcrtincnt herc. Broodbanks characterizations of islands in the Cyclades can be applied to the Saronic Gull: in that much ofthe coastal areas arc quasi-insular: thus in addition to islands such a s Aegina, thcre arc peninsulas such as Mcthana and mainland rcgions that, because of thcir geographical isolation from the rest of the Peloponnese, function as islands. Inter-island or island-mainland distances are short, and often these distances are shorter than lcngth of one o f the islands, or the travel distance between coasts of two opposing islands is less than thc travel distance to the other side of onc or both of thesc islands. And the small-scale naturc of EBA communities limits what these societies can accomplish with limitcd manpowcr. Onc of the most obvious ways in which the coast is utilized is for harbours. Unlikc thc built harbours and facilities in the historical periods in the Acgcan, prehistoric harbours have low archaeological visibility. Evidence such as the fresco from the West House at Akrotiri points to natural harbours, unmodified by constructions. EKAS systematically searchcd for harbours, using a model for harbour locations constructed using cnvironmcntal dctcrminants such as usable slope, cultural determinants such as proximity to high rclicf and coast, and harbour determinants such as fetch and bathymetry. Two harbours with accompanying settlements were identified: Vayia, a li)rtiticd settlement of EH TI date, and Korphos: Cape Trelli, a Mycenaean harbour with a largc settlcment attached. Of particular interest for archaeologists is the use of karstic crosional patterns Ibr helping date the rubble architecture at Vayia. Geomorphological investigations aidcd thc reconstruction of a sheltered harbour during the Late Bronze Age, but which has now subsided due to local tectonic events. A second fortified EH I1 sitc wits discovcrcd. n o t on the coast. but inland abovc Nea Epidavros, on the mainland opposite Kolonna on Acgina. The relationship of the two fortified EH I1 sites, Vayia and Vassa, to othcr mainland EH sites and to Kolonna is problematic. Kolonna, at the centre of the Saronic Gulf, would have




been ablc to dominate the entire Saronic Gulf in the latter 3rd millennium through the use OF longboats with their 40-50 km travel capabilities. This domination of the Saronic Gulf by Kolonna continued into the Middle and Late Bronze Age, and may be one reason for why no palace centre arose in the Korinthia during thc LBA. Instead of the Korinthian plain being a centre as has been supposed by previous scholars, it should be viewed as a periphery between two competing centres: Kolonna and Mycenae. The one substantial centre that is able to emerge is that at Korakou, i n largc part because it is not on the Saronic Gulf but rather on the Korinthian Gulf.


12 October 2005


Susan Lupack
The main focus of my research has been to understand the role that the religious sector, meaning the sanctuaries and their personnel, played in the Myccnacan cconomy. In doing this I havc found that in several instances on the Linear B tablets, such a s in the shccp tablets 01 Knossos, thc textile Of series of Thebes, and in the Jn bronze tablcts 01 Pylos, the names of dcitics or religious personnel arc found i n thc same administrative slot ;IS thc names 01 individuals who are traditionally referred to as collectors. My working hypothesis is that the dcitics, or really the religious officials who werc working in their names within their sanctuaries, would have fulfilled a role in the Mycenaean economy that was commcnsuratc with that held by the secular collectors. However, this straightforward equation does not immediately hclp us to understand thc religious scctors economic role since the part played by the collcctors is itscllthc subject o f much debate. Also, whether the collectors were able to acquire any real benefit from their relationship with the sheep, textiles and bronze they are recorded with is also dcbatcd. I t is true, for instance, that the collectors of the sheep tablcts were required to pay ;I substantial amount of wool and lambs to the palace. For instance, the Dk scrics shows that thc palace expected 750 g of wool per sheep. The targets for lambs varied: in the DI scrics thc palace cxpectcd one lamb pcr ewe, while the lambing target for the DI( I ) scrics was only one lamb pcr two cwcs. These targets wcrc not inconsequential, but I think that. despite these burdens, the collectors may have been able to make the business of shepherding and textile production profitable for themselves. First, Aristotle and Varro both discuss what should be donc in ordcr to ensure that cwcs produced the highest number of twins possible. Both authors show a knowledge of sclcctivc breeding. of which the Myccnaeans were probably also aware. This lcavcs open thc possibility that in good years the collector may have been able to retain some lambs for his own use. Such lambs may have been used to replenish flocks the collectors held which do not appear on the tablets. Also, Carlicr has pointed out that the normal Mycenaean target of 750 g olwool per shccp must not have been unreasonable sincc wool production targets from the Near Enst arc olicn higher than 750 g; some are as high as 1.3 kg. It seenis likely thcrcihrc that shccp in the ancient world must have produced at least 1 kg of wool. Thus the Mycenaean collectors would havc been able to keep at least a quarter kilo of wool per shcep, or SO kg from a flock of 200. This would certainly add up to amounts that would havc been useful for manufacturing textiles.




And it does seem to be the case that several of the Cretan collectors wcrc involved in manufacturing textiles since their names can be traced i n tablets that deal with textile production. The collectors then would have been able to profit from any textiles that wcrc produced in excess of the targets set by the palace. Also, the animals produced a variety of other useful goods, such as chccsc and yogurt. Oncc thcy were culled from the flock they must have been eaten, whilc thcir skins, tendons, and horns would have been made into items of clothing, vessels, musical instruments, and weapons. Finally, in addition to the financial transactions the collectors cngagcd in with the palace, they were probably also exchanging their goods with other members of their communities. This is, in fact, the way in which I see the collectors of thc Thebes Of and the Pylos Jn tablets as making the greater part of their livings as well. The collectors who wcrc in chargc of the textile workshops (Of series) and the bronze-working shops (Jn scrics) were working for the palace under the tu-ra-si-ju system, which means that they were allocated raw materials which they were expected to return to the palace as finished goods. Since the allocations of raw materials were generally not large (wool: 1-6 kg; bronzc: 3-4 kg), I think i t is unlikcly that the palatial fa-ru-si-ju work was the sole occupation of these workshops. Rathcr, the collectors who ran these shops probably took on work from local clients in addition to what they were required to d o for the palace. Just as the secular collectors benefited in many ways from their sheep, so the religious collectors must also have done, and just as the secular collectors in chargc of workshops probably also worked for other members of their communities, so the religious workshops must also have manufactured cloth and engaged in metal working for clients other than the palace. The proceeds from their work were probably used by the sanctuaries to finance their operations and to support their personnel. Most of the sanctuaries must have been fairly modest in size, but in some cases, the religious collectors could have created surpluscs. which would havc expanded their opportunities for barter, and would have enabled them t o take on additional roles within the community, such as landlord, employcr, and loan provider. Therefore, it seems possible that sanctuary sites could have acted as cconomic ccntrcs just as the palaces did, albeit on a much reduced scale. In some cases, the sanctuarics may havc bccome rather influential within their communities given that they were able to cornbinc cultic knowledge with economic power.

Y November 2005

Birgitta Eder
The Classical division of the Greek landscape, which still tends to shape our gcographical concepts of Mycenaean Greece, is probably not valid for thc north-wcstcrn Pcloponncsc in the Late Bronze Age (LBA). The region which was to bccome Elis only from thc Archaic period onwards had never been politically united under a Myccnncan palacc and its organisation. Bronze Age settlement concentrated along thc two rivcr valleys, of thc Alphcios in the south and of the Peneios River in the north. Archaeological evidencc comes mainly from chamber tombs and illustrates that the population ofthe area was well intcgratcd into the cultural koinC of the Peloponnese in the palatial period. The palacc o f Pylos in western Mcssenia may well have exercised some influence on thc ncighbouring rcgion until its collapse around the very end of LH IIIB (1200 BC). After the collapse of the Mycenaean palaces elsewhere in the Peloponncsc, thc continued use of many of the chamber tomb cemeteries during the post palatial period of LH IIIC suggests that settlement patterns remained more or less unchanged. Pottcry and metalwork prove the existence of networks of regional contacts with thc neighbouring regions of Achaea and the Ionian Islands in LH IIIC. A pictorial crater of LH IIIC date comes from the ccmctcry of Ag. Triada and carries the illustration of a prothesis scene. It represents an important picce to document also continuities of social behaviour from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age (EIA) in Greece. The establishment o f a new settlement pattern marked n ncw start in thc EIA. Thcrc is no evidence of a preceding occupation in Mycenaean times on the site of Ancient Elis, whcre groups of EIA pit graves and cist tombs form the earliest indication of scttlemcnt. which thcn continued to develop into the later historical periods. In Olympia cult was first established in the EIA, close to thc tumulus from Early Helladic times, the upper part of which was still visible. In the hcginning thc sanctuary scrvcd a s a meeting place and point of communication within the rathcr dispcrscd settlement pattcrn of the Alpheios valley. Pottery illustrates the regional background of thc participants and that communal drinking formed an integral part of the festivities. The prcsencc of EIA kylikes indicates the survival of some aspects of Bronze Age cult. Figurines of bronze and clay from the sanctuary feature mainly bulls and horses, and illustrate the wealthy economic background, which livestock oflered to the population. Representations of chariots and charioteers in bronze as wcll as in clay suggcst that the selfrepresentation and lifestyle of the elites as chariot driving warriors had survived thc cnd of the LBA. The region of Elis, rich in cattle and horses, offered the appropriatc economic sctting for the successors of the LBA, who ensured the survival of thc horse-drawn chariot and sonic religious memories from a Bronze Age past.

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7 Ileceniber 200.5


Excavations conducted during recent decades in Thessaly, within the framework o f largescalc projects, have revealed a powerful and healthy Mycenaean presence, a well-structured community. In particular, the important Mycenaean settlement excavated in Dimini, located near the Bay of Volos in the Magnesia district, has finally given us a reliable picture of urban organisation of a Mycenaean settlement in Thessaly. This settlement, dating to the end of the 13th century BC, had a similar urban plan to thosc of southern Greece. We note small differences, but also the intention to mark social ranking, with the construction of the central large-scale complex. This is actually a Combination of habitation spaces, areas for the storage of agricultural products (also containing products of cxchange activities), craft areas (metallurgy and ivory workshops), and sacred spaces. Thus, this settlement concentrates all the elements of an administrative, economic and religious centre, and consequently it is the only settlement in Thessaly that clearly offers elements of such organisation and of a certain social ranking. Diminis centre - along with those of Pcvkakia and Palia, also established around the head of the Pagasitic Gulf in LB IIB over rich MBA strata - must be seen as a political unit developed during LB IIIA-B, which maintained full control over the harbour on the Pagasitic gulf, as well as over the Magnesian plain, thus controlling maritime transfers, trade, and exchanges between thc Thcssalian plain and the rest of the Mycenaean world. Mycenaean Dimini was destroyed at the end of LB IIIB2, as occurred in the centres in southern Greece, indicating similarity with the rest of the known Mycenaean world. However, Diniini also offers us the possibility of observing what happened immediately after the destruction of this centre, when for a short time a limited population inhabited restricted areas, by repairing old buildings or constructing new small-scale shelters. This population used pottery types similar to LB IIIB2-IIIC Early, although presenting small differences. Afterwards, settlement of Dimini was definitely abandoned. After LB IIIC Early, habitation continues at Palia and the settlement - organised with different structure during the LB IIIC Middle period -seems to suffer from the outbreak of hostilities within a society where there is no evidence of a ruling family, as depicted in the Warrior Vase. The history of Mycenaean presence in Thessaly is revealed by surveys conducted during recent dccades, which indicate a widespread diffusion of small settlements throughout the whole of Thessaly, without any fortification, continuing those dated to the MBA, and also by funerary practices and monuments. Large scale tholos tombs at Kapakli, Lamiospito, Toumba, and that newly excavated at Kasanaki, are located near the inlet of the Pagasitic gulf, the most powerful region of Thessaly ruled by Iolkos. A group of smaller tholos tombs located at Pteleos, Karla and Aerino, which date from LB IIIA Early to LB IIIC, probably belong to a single ruling family of the region. Chamber tombs are also located in many parts ofThcssaly, as in Mega Monastirion, Pherai, Soufli Magoula. Like the small tholos tombs,



chamber tombs possessed funeral gifts in large quantity and great variety, implying that the deceased in both tomb types probably belong to the same level olsocial ranking. It seems that in Thessaly small tholos tombs replaced chamber tombs. In addition cist and simple pit graves with a few funeral gifts were found close to many settlements, and testify to funeral practices concerning people that belonged to the lower levels of the local societies. All tombs normally contain burials, although two secondary cremations (01 previously burial bodies) were located in the tholos of Dimini A (Lamiospito) and of the newly-discovered tholos at Kasanaki; these must be considered part of a purification ceremony taking place after burials. The Mycenaean presence in Thessaly, especially as indicated through the finds ofthe LBA settlement at Dimini, allow us to regard Thessaly not only as a commercial centre, but as part of the Mycenaean world whose northern borders must be shifted north ot the Sperchcios Valley and Arta, in order to include the Thessalian plain as far as Mt Olympus.

18 Januaty 2006


Susan Sherratt
Givcn that Homers Iliad and Odyssey came quickly to be regarded by thc historical Greeks as the basis of their own earliest history, it is inconccivablc that thc Trojan War motif, which forms the essential background of both, could have been invented out of nothing in the 8th century BC. Indeed, it is a feature crucial to the success of such histories that they contain what people know intuitively to be true (like Demodokos in Odyssey viii, the bard has to sing the tale k m kosrnon). This is not to say, however, that we should take Homers Trojan War at face value as a transmitted memory (let alone a record) o f a specific war which actually took place several hundred years earlier, or that we should believe we can find the cvidcnce (direct or circumstantial) for such a historical war in the ground at Troy or anywhere else. To do so would quite certainly be to take a simplistic view both of the potential of the archaeological record and its interpretation, and of the nature and role of Homeric epic. Though the Homeric epics certainly have a deep prchistory which contributes to thcir formation, they are products of their own timc. If we are to undcrstand thc naturc o f thc historicity of the Trojan War motif we have to begin by approaching it contcxtually: by looking at the context of the motif within the Homeric epics, and the context of the epics themselves in the wider archaeological context of the period in which they emerged. Various aspects of the Homeric epics encourage us to see them as having a consciously integrative function with an unmistakable (if embryonic) panhellenic force. Similarly, various aspects of the archaeological record of the later 8th century, taken together and in parallel, suggest a strong sense of Greek ethnogenesis - of Greek-speakers in the process of discovering and defining their own collective identity, particularly in relation to an eastern othcr. Together, these have some clear implications for the particular form that Homers Trojan War takes. To take the most obvious example, the theme of a collective Achaian cxpedition against Troy under the consensual leadership of Agamemnon - which could hardly have happened in real life at any period in Greek history - makes perfect sensc in this ideological context, whereas it seems thoroughly anachronistic when measured against what we know of the social, political and ideological environment of Late Bronze Age Greece. While several of the elements which contribute to the specifically Homeric theme of thc Trojan War (including some of the most obviously susceptible to excavation) can almost certainly be regarded as creations of the 8th century, others are undoubtedly very much older. Given the nature and history of heroic song, and the kinds of successive contexts in which i t may well have been created, transmitted and transformed or re-created over many centuries, however, such elements are likely to be disparate in origin and with a propcnsity to cross linguistic and cultural boundaries and to float around in time and space. Some of thcse elements can be traced back well beyond any traditional date(s) for thc Trojan War and almost certainly have nothing to do with Troy; others may well have to do with Troy but nothing to do with Greeks (or their Mycenaean ancestors). Their survival results from the
I A Iiill

version of this paper will appear in BlCS 5 I (2008).




part they played in successive elite ideologies which provided the contcxts i n which hcroic song was created, borrowed and reshaped over a very long period. Unlike the specifics of a narrative political history, the material remnants of such ideologies can be traced in the archaeological record, even in areas and periods which, like the prehistoric Acgcan. lack historical records. Though we can excavate Troy, we cannot excavatc thc Tro-ian War - only the elements out of which it was constructed. The War is to be sought not in thc archaeology ol' specific history hut in the archaeology of ideological contexts. The processes by which such elements accumulated around Troy and becainc nttachcd to the Homeric idea of a Trojan War are also likely to be complex and to cxtcnd over a considerable period. The Greek Trojan War is really a series of accidents o f long-tcrm history rather than necessarily - or even probably - a rcflection (howcvcr distortcd) ol' actual Greek history (or prehistory). Troy's regional prominence for almost two millennia made it a good candidate to become a 'legendary' city among many others. It is thc result of accidents of the history of the last three millennia that it became thc setting of a lcgcndary war i n a set of literature which itself survived to perpetuatc and disseminate thc lcgcnd wcll beyond its original context and to encourage the continuing search lhr proof' o f its reality.


15 Februnty 2006

An in-depth consideration of storage facilities and storagc practices as attcstcd in thc settlement of Akrotiri during its last phase of occupation, the LCI /LM IA pcriod, provides important information on subsistence strategies and the operation of household activitics in the settlement. The evidence comes from the direct information on thc usc of' storage facilities and the contextual approach within the domestic units. The examination of local and imported pottery storage vcssels at Akrotiri tackles issues of cultural variability in design and context of use within the building units. Some of thc local storagc vessel types are - thus far - unique to Akrotiri. In terms of quantity and variety of output, it is evident that they served the diversified needs of an apparently affluent community. Increased demand at the beginning of the LC I period was met by a specialised pottery industry, apparently capable of mass production. The requirements of standardisation, which may have been imposed by strong socio-economic factors, were niaterialised within a distinctly local potting tradition. The locally-produced storage vessels are far more numerous than imports. Imported storage vessels from Crete and other areas in the southern Aegean have been found more or less in cvery domestic unit. The distribution of local and irnportcd pithoi in rhc domestic units at Akrotiri presents some variation. The variety of storage vessel types indicates that diffcrent vessels served different needs, probably according to functional qualitics and the diversity of stored foodstuffs, rather than the exclusive association of vessel form with designated contents. Apart from clay storage vessels, smaller vessels from other materials (stone vascs, baskcts, sacks, wooden containers, chests) must have been used for the short-term storage of foodstuffs or for the storage of valuable objects. Built fittings, such as benchcs with built-in pithoi, rcpositorics, cupboards, niches and shelves also provide significant inlhrination for storage practices. With reference to the contents, storage vessels were the only storage units for long-tcrm subsistence storage, while cupboards, repositories and nichcs contained mainly vascs and other objects and were not commonly used for long term storagc of foodstuffs. Thc study of the organic contents has resulted in valuable information on the kind of foodstuffs, thc stages of processing and distribution patterns within the same building and comparatively within distinct units in the settlement. Apart from subsistence commodities, the storage vessels were used as containers for other objects, such as smaller vessels and baskets. A varicty of storage practices is attested for finished products and other objects used in household activities. The picturc emerging from the arrangement and the layout of storage areas in the building units of the settlement emphasises the absence, based on available data, of any large structure dcsignated for communitykentralised subsistence storage. The evidence suggests a dispersed model of storage function, organised on the household/doniestic level. A comparison with



storage areas attested in contemporary sites in the Aegean and cspccially Minoan Crctc cmphasiscs the absence at Akrotiri of a consistent architectural Iorm of storagc area, with specific features in the planning and the layout. Rather, it seems that the allocation of storage areas was more related to individual needs and requirements. The spatial arrangements of fittings may illustrate a strong cultural input in the layout choices and the use of space as attested in the domestic units. Storage areas are well integrated in the building units, and the storage function is part of activity systems, which may occasionally overlap according to specific needs. The most common pattern is that of the combination of subsistence storage with pottery storage. The contextual evidence and functional analysis of activities within specific units suggests that some of the Akrotiri buildings are clearly more than domestic units; they can possibly be best described as [ask-orientedresiderrtial wiit. From the evaluation ol subsistence storage potential, based on the Akrotiri evidence for each individual multi-storicd building and archacobotanical data, it becomes evident that the subsistence potential ofthc residential units docs not directly relate to their size. In general, it seems that the units enjoyed a substantial degree of self-sufficiency, with stored foodstuffs able to support the inhabitants for a considerable time span. However, none of the units, not even Sector A, were able t o provide any kind of buffer relief in periods of food crisis on a community level. Morcovcr, the association of the finds with indirect information on field cultivation, land use and annual agricultural yields, taking into account the strong limitations, suggests that the inhabitants of LC I Akrotiri were, in theory at least, capable o f a moderate/substantial level of subsistence sclf-sufficiency based on local land cultivation; however, the provision of commodities could have depended both on local resources and imports. Apart lrom subsistence storage, information lor other domestic activities and the function of task-oriented domestic units comes from storage of objects, tools, vcsscls of specific function and raw materials. There appears to be a limited range of large-scalc production activities, which would have had economic impact on the life of the settlemcnt, with textile production the most prominent. The nature of the external contacts and economic interaction of Akrotiri with polities in Crete and other areas does not appear to depend on the sites craft specialization or mass production of particular commodities for export. The outward economic orientation of thc community, the involvement in long-distance trade activities and the strategic position 01 thc island in the southern Aegean, account for the prosperity of the settlement at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, rather than adherence to a strict domestic mode of production. Storage was largely limited to the internal, subsistence operation 01 the community.

15 March 2006

Material from peak sanctuaries has provided a rich and stimulating focus for previous research on ritual. Among the issues explored have been the attribution of ritual value to the activities at peak sanctuaries; the definition of the peak sanctuary category; the degrees of cstablishment of the rituals there; the function of some peak sanctuaries as ritual institutions; and their role in Minoan power politics. It was clear that these peaks were extremely important locations which, over time, changed their character and role in the Minoan setting both contributing to and being influenced by their ideological and socio-political environment. The work on the Peak Sanctuary of Pyrgos near Tylissos, excavated by Stylianos Alexiou in a salvage excavation in 1963, following looting, complements this past research and offers furthcr insights on these same themes. A six-week study of the entire material took place in spring 2005. Although this study enabled some questions to be answered, i t inevitably also generated new queries and identified new problems. The material yielded several surprises, including the presence of stalactites broken off from (a) cavc(s); pottery dating through to the Early Iron Age, and even further into the Classical period; the depiction of extremely elaborate coiffure on some female figurines; many largc bull figurines; and a disproportionately large number of special vessels/figurine groups/building models in a very fragmentary state, which are equal to or greater in number than the figurine material. The latter observations have raised two issues: that small animal figurines may never have appeared on their own, but only in figurine groups, and more importantly, that we may previously have missed many of these special vessels/figurine groups/building models because they are a peculiar set that can easily be classified as pottery. Indeed the fact that Rutkowski had looked through the Pyrgos material and had missed not only more than half the figurines, but also the overwhelming majority of the building models may suggest a similar situation for Petsofas and, indeed, for many other peak sanctuaries. Moreover, the preliminary study of the figurine material revealed other interesting information, not always entirely new. Paint seems to have been used widely to depict clothing, and occasionally for musculature on the male body. Some of the female hairstyles, may include baskets or other woven elements. The gestures of figurines may well be varied, as Peatfield proposes, and other iconography suggests that these gestures are not very obvious from the material, largely because of weathering and breakage. Interestingly, the peculiar features of some of these figurines very closely resemble those of some figurines from the Metaxas Collection (now in the Herakleion Museum). The fact that figurines were often found in groups makes it possible that multiple roles were served by figurines. The possibility that these roles may include not just different adorants but also gods goes against the current majority opinion, which seems to be against the depiction of gods on peaks, largely influenced by the also dominant theory that gods were



generally not depicted in three-dimensional art and that there were no cult statucs. Arguments can be made against these views, however. Previous research (2005) showed how floating objects on somc Minoan gold signet rings dcpict constellations, including a number of flying figurcs, which it has bcen argued may represent gods. At least one of the stances assumed by the floating figurcs is thc same a s a very commonly attested stance of the clay figurines in Pyrgos and elsewhere. This might suggest that the figurines depict not only adorants (as supposed prcviously) but possibly also their gods. The similarity in stance of the Palaikastro Kouros - rcgardcd by many as a cult statue - also strengthens this possibility. The question of figurines dcpicting gods of course raises a number of issues that will need to be considered in future. Finally, there are some other ideas drawn from the study of thc figurincs that I would like to touch upon, and which may be themes we may wish to considcr in Minoan research. Thc depiction of semi-nude and, for the most part, slim male bodies may rcllcct a similar situation to that identitied for the Classical Greek periods, whereby sculptors idealisc thc male body and present it always lean and athletic. This, of course, does not imply that there is continuity between the Minoan and the Classical world in this respect, but it may incan that the attitudes towards the male body in the Minoan period dictate the renderings of it in art in thcsc specific ways. More generally, we may want to keep in mind that the act ofcarrying a tigurinc would have distanced the carrier from the mundane world and would have been a token for membership of the community that went to the peak sanctuary. A relationship will always bc drawn between the carrier and the figurines, be they animal or human, god or mortal, clay or metal. Thus, material from peak sanctuaries, and in particular the figurincs, not only constitutes a rich source of information in itself, but also serves to shed light and raise questions on a whole array of issues which we may wish to pursue in Minoan research.

I 7 May 2006


Recent studies of the earliest palaces in Minoan Crete - Protopalatial or MM IB-IIB in ceramic terms - have shifted discussion away from a traditional palace-as-economic centre paradigm by emphasising both the Prepalatial background for economy and administrative structure, as well as evidence for regionally diverse socio-political configurations during the period. The MM 1-11 palace is now viewed not as a monolithic institution unilaterally controlling contiguous territories, but as one venue for the articulation of dominant elite ideologies in contexts suggesting a range of socio-political interactions within and outside the palace. Current ground-up approaches have integrated into the discussion various forms of data including elite or distinctly palatial styles of pottery, which are taken as symbolic referents used in public rituals at the palaces and throughout the countryside. The first palace at Petras in eastern Crete is stratigraphically MM IIA in date, a critical watershed which includes the first monumental architectural constructions at the site and eventually (by MM IIB) a fully functioning hieroglyphic archive. A single deposit of MM IB pottery initially recovered in the 1995 and 1996 excavation seasons is a large pit (called by the excavators the Lakkos), ostensibly made up of refuse derived from elite houses that were destroyed on the upper plateau during the modification of the hill to accommodate the MM IIA palace. The pottery from the Lakkos contains an unusually diverse rangc of styles of fine table wares, including polychrome, white-on-dark, spatter, rough-burnished, and monochrome wares. The assemblage is stylistically diverse, functionally consistent with feasting and ritual activities, and chronologically early in the Protopalatial sequence. The stylistic variations fall into two categories: first, there is a diversity of warc groups in identical drinking/dining sets that display very different surface treatments and design elements - extreme distinctions between attributes and their combination and frequency; and second, there are variations within each of the ware groups which cmphasise the abundancc and redundancy of the same decorative and design elements. The evidence for this stylistic complexity (and juxtaposition and apposition of different wares) suggests diacritical feasting - the ritualised use of vessels that arc designed to display symbols of differential status, the identity of commensal circles, and codified social distinctions among users/participants. The context and MM IB date of the Lakkos deposit indicate conditions of deposition involving the accumulation of feasting debris before the MM IIA rebuilding phase - perhaps material evidence of social interaction in a public arena in a period leading up to or within the critical threshold of palace-state formation. The stylistic interaction emphasises the material correlates of socio-political interaction. If derived from diacritical feasting among groups of elites - perhaps the emerging elite or immediate predecessors of the MM IIA palatial authority - the assemblage may shed light on the social processes involved in the formation of the palace or processes of regional integration leading to the formation of the deposit.


22 I

Thc original systemic contcxt of the material was likely a scrics 01' Icasts, religious celebrations, or public ceremonies, conducted over a short period (probably not longcr than about four decades) on the eve of the formation of a ncw palacc-statc in thc Sitcia region. As a palimpsest of the social dynamics at the end of an important final stage of political consolidation, the pots themselves functioned in feasts that wcrc pcrformcd somcwherc at thc site, but in all likelihood in the space later occupied by the palace between thc end of the 20th ccntury through the tirst quarter of the 19th century BC. This contcxt at Pctras could thcn represent a pivotal and short-lived phase of dynamic social interaction in the re,' -ion - a coalescence and centralisation of different groups or factions, enacting rituals that wcrc restructuring and perhaps redefining old-fashioned, essentially Prcpalatial, rclational hierarchies. The end result of the process may havc bccn thc new socio-political configurations that were to characterise the emerging state and establish thc idcological purview of a central palatial authority. Thc pottery of the Lakkos is charactcrised by an energetic diversity and proliferation of forms, while looking backward archaistically to latc Prcpalatial shapcs and ware groups. There is evidence for dynamic stylistic and technical innovation and cxpcrimentation; extremes of stylistic redundancy and novel decorative variability; and symbolic transfercncc with designs derived from or rcduplicated in both inscribed and pictorial scals, peak sanctuary figurines and perhaps textiles. The pots' users wcre likely to havc bcen members rent sodalities representing the competing interests of individuals, kinship units, villages, towns or even regions linked by peak sanctuaries. The pots functioncd as mcdia for symbolic display, articulating complex competitive and complementary relationships on a threshold of culture change.