In this book, Kramer-Hajos examines the Euboean Gulf region in Central Greece to explain its flourishing during the post-palatial period. Providing a social and political history of the region in the Late Bronze Age, she focuses on the interactions between this 'provincial' coastal area and the core areas where the Mycenaean palaces were located. Drawing on network and agency theory, two current and highly effective methodologies in prehistoric Mediterranean archaeology, Kramer-Hajos argues that the Euboean Gulf region thrived when it was part of a decentralized coastal and maritime network, and declined when it was incorporated in a highly centralized mainland-looking network. Her research and analysis contributes new insights to our understanding of the mechanics and complexity of the Bronze Age Aegean collapse.
In this book, Thomas F. Tartaron presents a new and original reassessment of the maritime world of the Mycenaean Greeks of the Late Bronze Age. By all accounts a seafaring people, they enjoyed maritime connections with peoples as distant as Egypt and Sicily. These long-distance relations have been celebrated and much studied; by contrast, the vibrant worlds of local maritime interaction and exploitation of the sea have been virtually ignored. Dr. Tartaron argues that local maritime networks, in the form of "coastscapes" and "small worlds," are far more representative of the true fabric of Mycenaean life. He offers a complete template of conceptual and methodological tools for recovering small worlds and the communities that inhabited them. Combining archaeological, geoarchaeological, and anthropological approaches with ancient texts and network theory, he demonstrates the application of this scheme in several case studies. This book presents new perspectives and challenges for all archaeologists with interests in maritime connectivity.
In this book, Sarah Murray provides a comprehensive treatment of textual and archaeological evidence for the long-distance trade economy of Greece across 600 years during the transition from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Age. Analyzing the finished objects that sustained this kind of trade, she also situates these artifacts within the broader context of the ancient Mediterranean economy, including evidence for the import and export of commodities as well as demographic change. Murray argues that our current model of exchange during the Late Bronze Age is in need of a thoroughgoing reformulation. She demonstrates that the association of imported objects with elite self-fashioning is not supported by the evidence from any period in early Greek history. Moreover, the notional 'decline' in trade during Greece's purported Dark Age appears to be the result of severe economic contraction, rather than a severance of access to trade routes.
The end of the Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean was a time of social, political, and economic upheaval – conditions reflected, in many ways, in the world of Homer’s Odyssey. Jeffrey P. Emanuel examines the Odyssey’s Second Cretan Lie (xiv 191 – 359) in the context of this watershed transition, with particular emphasis on raiding, warfare, maritime technology and tactics, and the evidence for the so-called ‘Sea Peoples’ who have been connected to the events of this period. He focuses in particular on the hero’s description of his frequent raiding activities and on his subsequent sojourn in the land of the pharaohs, and connections between Odysseus’ false narrative and the historical experiences of one particular Sea Peoples group: the ‘Sherden of the Sea.’
In the long tradition of the archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean bodies have held a prominent role in the form of figurines, frescos, or skeletal remains, and have even been responsible for sparking captivating portrayals of the Mother-Goddess cult, the elegant women of Minoan Crete or the deeds of heroic men. Growing literature on the archaeology and anthropology of the body has raised awareness about the dynamic and multifaceted role of the body in experiencing the world and in the construction, performance and negotiation of social identity. In these 28 thematically arranged papers, specialists in the archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean confront the perceived invisibility of past bodies and ask new research questions. Contributors discuss new and old evidence; they examine how bodies intersect with the material world, and explore the role of body-situated experiences in creating distinct social and other identities. Papers range chronologically from the Palaeolithic to the Early Iron Age and cover the geographical regions of the Aegean, Cyprus and the Near East. They highlight the new possibilities that emerge for the interpretation of the prehistoric eastern Mediterranean through a combined use of body-focused methodological and theoretical perspectives that are nevertheless grounded in the archaeological record.
Places are social, lived, ideational landscapes constructed by people as they inhabit their natural and built environment. An ‘archaeology of place’ attempts to move beyond the understanding of the landscape as inert background or static fossil of human behaviour. From a specifically mortuary perspective, this approach entails a focus on the inherently mutable, transient and performative qualities of 'deathscapes': how they are remembered, obliterated, forgotten, reworked, or revisited over time. Despite latent interest in this line of enquiry, few studies have explored the topic explicitly in Aegean archaeology. This book aims to identify ways in which to think about the deathscape as a cross between landscapes, tombs, bodies, and identities, supplementing and expanding upon well explored themes in the field (e.g. tombs as vehicles for the legitimization of power; funerary landscapes as arenas of social and political competition). The volume recasts a wealth of knowledge about Aegean mortuary cultures against a theoretical background, bringing the field up to date with recent developments in the archaeology of place.
The relationship between the Homeric epics and archaeology has long suffered mixed fortunes, swinging between 'fundamentalist' attempts to use archaeology in order to demonstrate the essential historicity of the epics and their background, and outright rejection of the idea that archaeology is capable of contributing anything at all to our understanding and appreciation of the epics. Archaeology and the Homeric Epic concentrates less on historicity in favor of exploring a variety of other, perhaps sometimes more oblique, ways in which we can use a multidisciplinary approach – archaeology, philology, anthropology and social history – to help offer insights into the epics, the contexts of their possibly prolonged creation, aspects of their 'prehistory', and what they may have stood for at various times in their long oral and written history. The effects of the Homeric epics on the history and popular reception of archaeology, especially in the particular context of modern Germany, is also a theme that is explored here. Contributors explore a variety of issues including the relationships between visual and verbal imagery, the social contexts of epic (or sub-epic) creation or re-creation, the roles of bards and their relationships to different types of patrons and audiences, the construction and uses of 'history' as traceable through both epic and archaeology and the relationship between 'prehistoric' (oral) and 'historical' (recorded in writing) periods. Throughout, the emphasis is on context and its relevance to the creation, transmission, re-creation and manipulation of epic in the present (or near-present) as well as in the ancient Greek past.
Women in Mycenaean Greece is the first book-length study of women in the Linear B tablets from Mycenaean Greece and the only to collect and compile all the references to women in the documents of the two best attested sites of Late Bronze Age Greece - Pylos on the Greek mainland and Knossos on the island of Crete. The book offers a systematic analysis of women’s tasks, holdings, and social and economic status in the Linear B tablets dating from the 14th and 13th centuries BCE, identifying how Mycenaean women functioned in the economic institutions where they were best attested - production, property control, land tenure, and cult. Analysing all references to women in the Mycenaean documents, the book focuses on the ways in which the economic institutions of these Bronze Age palace states were gendered and effectively extends the framework for the study of women in Greek antiquity back more than 400 years. Throughout, the book seeks to establish whether gender practices were uniform in the Mycenaean states or differed from site to site and to gauge the relationship of the roles and status of Mycenaean women to their Archaic and Classical counterparts to test if the often-proposed theories of a more egalitarian Bronze Age accurately reflect the textual evidence. The Linear B tablets offer a unique, if under-utilized, point of entry into women’s history in ancient Greece, documenting nearly 2000 women performing over fifty task assignments. From their decipherment in 1952 one major gap in the scholarly record remained: a full accounting of the women who inhabited the palace states and their tasks, ranks, and economic contributions. Women in Mycenaean Greece fills that gap recovering how class, rank, and other social markers created status hierarchies among women, how women as a group functioned relative to men, and where different localities conformed or diverged in their gender practices.
A new understanding of the effects of Mediterranean trade on Mycenaean Greece, which considers the possibilities represented by the traded objects themselves.
The large-scale, formal consumption of huge quantities of food and drink is a feature of many societies, but extracting evidence for feasting from the archaeological record has, until recently, been problematic. This collection of essays investigates the rich evidence for the character of the Mycenaean feast. While much of the evidence discussed comes from the Palace of Nestor near Pylos, the authors also discuss new material from Tsoungiza near Nemea, and from other Bronze Age sites on mainland Greece and Crete. Textual evidence (from Linear B tablets) for the collection of raw materials, and the stocktaking of equipment, is complemented by discussions of the faunal and artifactual assemblages feasts left behind. Specially commissioned papers put Mycenaean practice in context by comparing it to contemporary activities on Cyprus and in Minoan Crete, while a final chapter compares Bronze with Iron Age Greece, especially as seen through the lens of Homeric epic. This volume offers a rich and detailed collection of evidence, from a variety of sources, for conspicuous consumption in the Mycenaean period. As well as being core reading for Aegean prehistorians, it will be of interest to students of later Greek culture, anthropologists, and other scholars interested in the wider social aspects of eating and drinking.
An understanding of textiles and the role they played in the past is important for anyone interested in past societies. Textiles served and in fact still do as both functional and symbolic items. The evidence for ancient textiles in Europe is split quite definitely along a north-south divide, with an abundance of actual examples in the north, but precious little in the south, where indirect evidence comes from such things as vase painting and frescoes. This volume brings together these two schools to look in more detail at textiles in the ancient world, and is based on a conference held in Denmark and Sweden in March 2003. Section one, Production and Organisation takes a chronological look through more than four thousand years of history; from Syria in the mid-third millennium BC, to Seventeenth Century Germany. Section two, Crafts and Technology focuses on the relationship between the primary producer (the craftsman) and the secondary receiver (the archaeologist/conservator). The third section, Society, examines the symbolic nature of textiles, and their place within ancient societal groups. Throughout the book emphasis is placed on the universality of textiles, and the importance of information exchange between scholars from different disciplines. A small book on finds First Aid for the Excavation of Archaeological Textiles is included as an Appendix.
Following on from Rodney Castleden's best-selling study Minoans, this major contribution to our understanding of the crucial Mycenaean period clearly and effectively brings together research and knowledge we have accumulated since the discovery of the remains of the civilization of Mycenae in the 1870s. In lively prose, informed by the latest research and using a full bibliography and over 100 illustrations, this vivid study delivers the fundamentals of the Mycenaean civilization including its culture, hierarchy, economy and religion. Castleden introduces controversial views of the Mycenaean palaces as temples, and studies their impressive sea empire and their crucial interaction with the outside Bronze Age world before discussing the causes of the end of their civilization. Providing clear, easy information and understanding, this is a perfect starting point for the study of the Greek Bronze Age.
The diverse forms of regional connectivity in the ancient world have recently become an important focus for those interested in the deep history of globalisation. This volume represents a significant contribution to this new trend as it engages thematically with a wide range of connectivities in the later prehistory of the Mediterranean, from the later Neolithic of northern Greece to the Levantine Iron Age, and with diverse forms of materiality, from pottery and metal to stone and glass. With theoretical overviews from leading thinkers in prehistoric mobilities, and commentaries from top specialists in neighbouring domains, the volume integrates detailed case studies within a comparative framework. The result is a thorough treatment of many of the key issues of regional interaction and technological diversity facing archaeologists working across diverse places and periods. As this book presents key case studies for human and technological mobility across the eastern Mediterranean in later prehistory, it will be of interest primarily to Mediterranean archaeologists, though also to historians and anthropologists.
The papers in this collection are the product of the conference "Hittites, Greeks and Their Neighbors in Ancient Anatolia: An International Conference on Cross-Cultural Interaction," hosted by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. They cover an impressive range of issues relating to the complex cultural interactions that took place on Anatolian soil over the course of two millennia, in the process highlighting the difficulties inherent in studying societies that are multi-cultural in their make-up and outlook, as well as the role that cultural identity played in shaping those interactions. Topics include possible sources of tension along the Mycenaean-Anatolian interface; the transmission of mythological and religious elements between cultures; the change across time and space in literary motifs as they are adapted to new milieus and new audiences; the ways in which linguistic data can refine our understanding of the interrelations between the various peoples who lived in Anatolia; and the role that the Anatolian kingdoms of the first millennium played as cultural filters and conduits through which North Syrian or Near Eastern ideas or materials were transmitted to the Greeks.
The volume is the first in nearly a decade to focus a wide range of scholarship on one of the most compelling periods in the antiquity of the Mediterranean and Near East. It presents new interpretive approaches to the problems of the Bronze Age to Iron Age transformation, as well as re-assessments of a wide range of high profile sites and evidence ranging from the Ugaritic archives, Hazor, the Medinet Habu reliefs, Tiryns and Troy. Implications for a changing climate are also explored in the volume. The end of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean and Near East is a huge challenge requiring a diverse, global, flexible and open minded strategy for its interpretation - it is too vast and complex for any one scholar or interpretive approach. The scope of this volume is great, but not overwhelming, as the papers are organized coherently into themes of considerations of climate, exchange and interregional dynamics, iconography and perception, the built environment - cemeteries, citadels, and landscapes, and social implications for the production and consumption of pottery. Thus, Forces of Transformation is broad enough to address many of the major concerns of the end of the Bronze Age, and also to encapsulate the current position of scholarship as it relates to this problem.