Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


7 January 2014

Precious gifts and the circulation of oils in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean

Ioannis Fappas in Papadopoulos, A. (ed), Recent research and perspectives on the Late Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean, Talanta XLIV (2012) [2013]: 157-182.


The purpose of this paper is to overview the general context in which the circulation of oils took place in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean, mainly on the basis of the Near Eastern written evidence on the subject. In addition to the above documents, the wide distribution of Mycenaean, Cypriot, and Canaanite oil vessels witnesses the significance of plain and aromatic oil in contemporary transactions. In this respect, it is attempted to evaluate two separate but possibly not irrelevant developments which took place in Mycenaean Greece: first the thorough organisation and systematic function of the palatial aromatic oil industry and secondly the wide circulation of large transport stirrup jars, mainly transporting olive oil from Crete to mainland palaces.


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