Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 April 2020

Living apart together. A ceramic analysis of Eastern Crete during the advanced Late Bronze Age

Charlotte Langohr Journal of Greek Archaeology 4 (2019): 31-66

During the Late Minoan (hereinafter LM) II to IIIB phases, roughly between 1450 and 1200 BCE, Cretan society went through a series of changes, the causes and circumstances of which are still the subject of dispute. One of the key issues that remains is the question of the cultural identity or identities of Cretan communities after the widespread, violent destructions of the LM IB palatial centres and settlements on the island. This discussion involves a debate on the long-standing and complex relationship between Crete and the Mycenaean Mainland. It is generally assumed that rulers from Central Greece or at least elite groups originating from this area took over the palace at Knossos during or after the Neopalatial (Middle Minoan III-LM I) collapse (or even caused it) and gradually acquired political control over much of the island with the establishment of a new centralised, Greek-speaking administration using the script Linear B, while also initiating abrupt cultural changes within Minoan society. Integrated and comparative examinations of old and new archaeological data have allowed this historical reconstruction to be refined Indeed, in an effort to reconstruct Monopalatial (LM II-IIIA2 early) and Postpalatial (LM IIIA2-IIIB) Cretan society as a whole and this through a diachronic lens, recent studies accept both Mycenaean cultural and political interference, as well as continuous acculturation processes and hybridisation phenomena between Minoan and Mycenaean communities. In an attempt to assess the different types of interaction between Crete and the Mycenaean Mainland (and even the broader Aegean), regional and diachronic variations in sociocultural practices, primarily evident in the consumption of ceramics, have been identified through an analysis of Cretan material culture. These differences suggest a more subtle narrative that takes into account the different polities, materialities, and ideologies that characterise the Cretan communities throughout the period. This interpretative background helps us to consider different kinds of interactions between the communities of Crete and the Greek Mainland throughout these 250 years or so. These considerations about what is generally referred to as the ‘Mycenaeanisation of Crete’ deserve a more detailed explanatory framework. The section below elaborates such a framework, and allows the contextualisation of the regional definition of the LM II-IIIB ceramic traditions in East Crete, the topic of this paper.


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