Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 June 2010

The emergence and development of a round building tradition in the Aegean and Crete

Evyenia Yiannouli The Mediterranean Archaeology & Archaeometry (MAA) 9.1 (2009): 89-113.


This paper examines the emergence of the non-submerged type of round building in the settlements of prehistoric Aegean, including Crete. It complements our earlier discussion of the Minoan evidence that concentrated on the properties of architectural form and the cultural semantics of its perishable structure. This work explores the common characteristics that this particular architectural genre acquires in the prehistoric communities of the Greek mainland, the Aegean islands and Crete, along with the features that seem to demarcate distinct chronological and geographical groupings. More specifically, the systematic co-occurrence of features warrant, in our view, the identification of a hitherto unidentified round building type, detected in the iconography of Minoan Crete. It is the Minoan evidence par excellence that presents the greatest diversity of architectural variants, contexts and apparently function. On a more general level, the tradition of a round building type is inferred on the basis of the persistent adoption of a particular architectural form, along with the local adaptation of certain peculiarities that impinge on its cultural semantics. Our treatment of the material defines a conspectus of topics for further research, posing a frame for the historical understanding of a general building shape that in the Aegean may often, but not always, preserve the form and contents of a typical settlement house.

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