Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


1 November 2019

The Pottery Deposit from the Houses of the Fallen Blocks and the Sacrificed Oxen at the South-Eastern Corner of the Palace of Knossos

Iro Mathioudaki Annual of the British School at Athens 113 (2018): 19-73

This contribution focuses on a study of the pottery assemblage deposited in the space occupied by the House of the Fallen Blocks and the House of the Sacrificed Oxen at the south-eastern corner of the Palace of Knossos. This deposit was crucial for Arthur Evans’ definition of the ‘Great Earthquake’ destruction at Knossos, because, together with fallen blocks, it was considered to be the consequence of a massive destruction. From the outset, the deposit associated with this event has played a de facto role in the definition of the New Palace era, and, in this respect, it is very important with regards to the history of the Palace of Knossos. There is no sign of stratification above the floor levels of the houses, with the material of the deposit usually interpreted as a post-destruction fill. The abundance of ceramic material and the broad representation of forms prompted Evans to call this deposit a storehouse of Middle Minoan (MM) III domestic pottery.

Here, the nature of the deposit will be examined, taking into consideration information from the excavation notebooks and a detailed study of the retained pottery. The main conclusion is that the material is not MM IIIB as ascribed by Evans, but can be dated to an earlier part of the period, i.e. MM IIIA. This is significant because it might contribute to a critical reassessment of the destruction horizon generally attributed to MM IIIB. The large quantities of pottery from these houses also provide a fuller picture of what types and styles were prevalent in MM IIIA, given that there are not many published deposits of this date from the palace or town of Knossos.


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