Making visible the invisible: Cretan objects mentioned in the cuneiform texts of Mari and archaeological discoveries in Crete in the II millennium BC
Lucia Alberti Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 54 (2012) , 117-142
In texts produced in the palace of Mari, some tablets list as ‘Cretan’ certain prestigious objects, such as leather goods, weapons and metal vases. Later texts from Ugarit mention Cretan merchants receiving tin in the course of their commercial activities. The Mariote texts are here compared with contemporary and later archaeological material found mostly in Crete but also on the Greek Mainland (as probable/possible imports from Crete), in order to understand the Minoan or ‘made as Minoan’ items that the Mariote elite looked for. By making concrete the items exchanged between Crete and Mari during the II millennium BC, one may both visualize the products of the handicrafts that were perceived as exotic and useful in elite gift-exchanges, as well as objects of personal use probably in great demand for their aesthetic values.