Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


23 March 2015

Human remains at FN Phaistos: identifying and interpreting practices of disposal and manipulation of the dead from an archaeological perspective

Simona Todaro Creta Antica 13 (2012) [2013], 13-39

From the introduction

The ancient site of Phaistos was articulated over three hills that extend in an E-W direction on the left bank of the Geropotamos river, overlooking the western part of the Mesara, which is the largest plain of the island of Crete. The earliest traces of human occupation, dating back to a final stage of the Neolithic period, are concentrated on the easternmost and lowest of the three hills, which in the Middle and Late Bronze Age was the site of a Minoan palace. This circumstance made the exploration of the earlier levels particularly difficult and as a result most of the evidence is comprised of pottery, animal bones and stone and bone tools that, lacking conspicuous architectural remains, have been considered as indicators of the potential location of houses. In fact, L. Pernier could not attribute a single wall, of the few identified beneath the palatial structures, to the Neolithic period. D. Levi, instead, proposed a Neolithic date for two buildings: a circular structure that was in part dug into the bedrock and in part built of small blocks of stones, and a pseudo rectangular structure that was associated with a pebbled surface and with a curvilinear wall perhaps delimitating an external yard. Other dwellings were hypothesised in proximity to some negative traces on the bedrock; to some fixed hearths that were composed of small stone-slabs and could take the form of small circular fire-places or large rectangular platforms; to a few rectilinear walls that were dubiously attributed to the Neolithic period; and to patches of beaten earth floors. Two burials were also identified among the remains of these supposed dwellings: one belonging to a child, and another belonging to a young adult.



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