Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


13 April 2011

Redistribution in Aegean palatial societies. By appointment to his majesty the Wanax: Value-added goods and redistribution in Mycenaean palatial economies

Robert Schon American Journal of Archaeology115.2 (2011): 219-227.


Rather than treating redistribution as an undifferentiated economic function, scholars currently recognize that multiple forms may occur simultaneously. In this Forum Article, I focus on one such form in detail, specifically, the redistributive system that financed the production of prestige goods at the Palace of Nestor at Pylos. I employ the manufacture of chariots, perfumed oils, and textiles as case studies. The three industries had a number of features in common. They required raw materials that were dispersed. Their managers collected dispersed raw materials and allocated them to specialists, who added value to them through skilled labor and who produced composite artifacts that were then redistributed by palatial authorities to an exclusive group of recipients. While similarities in the management of the industries reflect an overall policy of resource mobilization through which palace authorities garnered the loyalty of an emergent class of secondary elites, the inconsistencies in the manner in which the industries were run also suggest that redistribution was not fully standardized.

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