Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

BOOKS | 2013

13 April 2014

The Phaistos hills before the Palace: a contextual reappraisal

Simona Todaro

The Phaistos hills before the Palace: a contextual reappraisal

City: Monza

Year: 2013

Publisher: Polimetrica

Series: Praehistorica Mediterranea 5

Description: Paperback, 353 p., numerous figures, drawings, plates, 21x15 cm


This work represents the first comprehensive account of all the deposits and structures uncovered over the past hundred years on the three hills of the Phaistos ridge (in south-central Crete), and also the first attempt to clarify the nature of the site – in terms of function and status – from its foundation at the end of the Neolithic period through the Early Bronze Age. It is suggested that Phaistos stood out in the Prepalatial Mesara not only on account of its size, but above all for (1) its continuity of occupation, which contrasts with the settlement mobility revealed by the numerous single-phase sites uncovered in the region (2) the large-scale building projects that took place at the core of the site between EM II and EM III and (3) the specificity of some of the communal activities that took place in certain locations, which might have involved the periodic re-visiting of the hill by other Mesara groups.


Note on abbreviations, transliteration and terminology [11]

Preface by Vincenzo LaRosa [11]

Acknowledgements [19]

1. Research issues, approaches and methods [21]

1.1. Prepalatial: the foundation of palatial Crete?
1.2. Phaistos and the western Mesara before the rise of the Palace: contrasting views [28]
1.3. Re-assessing Prepalatial Phaistos in a synchronic and diachronic perspective: a contextual approach [40]
1.4. The structure of the book [44]

2. Prepalatial Phaistos: the archaeological data [47]

2.1. The history of excavations: Phaistos 1900-2004 [47]
2.2. The Prepalatial stratigraphies, deposits and structures uncovered over time at Phaistos [63]
2.3. Potential and problems of the available evidence: towards a chronological and functional re-assessment [157]

3. The stratigraphic sequence of Prepalatial Phaistos: a chronological re-assessment [161]

3.1. Methodological issues: working with palimpsests of strata and walls [161]
3.2. The stratigraphy of Prepalatial Phaistos [164]
3.3. From stratigraphy to chronology: EM I-MM IA pottery groups at Phaistos [167]
3.4. Phases I-III: the end of the Neolithic and the transition to the Early Bronze Age [168]
3.5. Phases IV-VIII: the EM I-EM IIA late pottery groups [175]
3.6. Phases VIII-IX: The post-EM IIB ceramic development at Phaistos [188]
3.7. Phase X: MM IA and the end of the Prepalatial period at Phaistos [203]
3.8. The Prepalatial pottery sequence at Phaistos: potential and limits of the available evidence [212]

4. Re evaluating Prepalatial Phaistos: Archaeological data in context [215]

4.1. Formation processes and contextual analysis: the Phaistos hills from a synchronic and diachronic perspective [215]
4.2. Phaistos I and II: the birth and development of a Final Neolithic community [217]
4.3. Phaistos III and IV: the transition to the Early Bronze Age [231]
4.4. Phaistos V-VII: the early Prepalatial period between construction, production and consumption [237]
4.5. PhaistosVIII-X: the late Prepalatial period between construction, production and consumption [248]
4.6. Concluding remarks: communal vs. domestic activities at prepalatial Phaistos [260]

5. Prepalatial Phaistos: the development of a ceremonial centre [267]

5.1. Present achievements and potential for further research [267]
5.2. The western Mesara in the Prepalatial period: a preliminary account [269]
5.3. A settlement history of Phaistos in the Prepalatial period: between in situ rebuilding and horizontal drifting [277]
5.4. The status of the Phaistos hills from the Pre- to Protopalatial periods [281]
5.5. Concluding remarks: the growth of a settlement or the development of a regional ceremonial centre? [295]

Appendix I. The Prepalatial buildings on the western slope of the Palace hill [299]

Tables [303]
Bibliography [319]
Index of plans and figures [335]
Index of names, places and notable things [343]


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