Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


Thursday 27 January 2011

Domestic Architecture, Spatial Organisation and the Use of Space in the Early Iron Age in Island Greece

Anastasia Christophilopoulou University of Cambridge 2008

Domestic Architecture, Spatial Organisation and the Use of Space in the Early Iron Age in Island Greece

Description: One volume, xi & 325 pages, 83 plates, 29,7x21 cm

Country: United Kingdom

Supervisor: Prof. Robin Osborne

Examiners: Prof. Irini Lemos (external examiner) & Dr. Laura Preston (internal examiner)


This thesis examines evidence of domestic architecture and household activities in Greece between the end of the Bronze Age and the Archaic period (from the 12th to the 7th century B.C.) by putting forward an analysis of non-religious architectural structures in the Aegean, and demonstrating how settlement evidence can indicate social organisations and interactions. The focus of the study is the archaeological material of Island Greece rather than the mainland, and the chronological framework is the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

The thesis is organised in four chapters. Chapter 1, provides the methodological and theoretical introduction to the subject. Within it, Part I, explores the research aims and objectives of this study, followed by a definition of the geographical and chronological framework under question. Part II consists of the main exploration of theoretical household archaeology as an interdisciplinary research, and in particular its application to material from the Early Iron Age and Classical Greece. Various theoretical issues are explored in this part, such as social relations within the household including i) gender and household and ii) the ‘resident’ as a ‘citizen’. The final part of the theoretical introduction discusses the various levels of house analysis represented in this study, such as i) the house as a representation of social space, ii) the symbolic and ritual world of the house, iii) the household as a productive and economic entity, and finally iv) the household as a demographic unit.

Chapters 2 and 3 examine settlement and household evidence, organised geographically, with Chapter 2 examining the evidence from the regions of the Cyclades and the Eastern Aegean, and Chapter 3 the evidence from Crete. Chapter 2 discusses evidence from the islands of Andros (Zagora), Siphnos (Ag. Andreas and Kastro), Paros (Koukounaries and Oikonomos), Naxos (Tsikalario), Donousa (Vathy Limenari), Tenos (Xobourgo), Chios (Emporio) and finally Lesbos (Antissa). Chapter 3 discusses evidence from Crete with an emphasis on East and Central Crete, with the examples of the following sites: i) ‘Kavousi cluster’ (including Vronda, Kastro and Azoria), ii) Chalasmenos and Katalymata in the north Ierapetra Isthmus, iii) Vrokastro, iv) Karphi in Lasithi and v) Gria Vigla in Messara. Both ‘data’ chapters (2 and 3) are concluded by analysis of the material presented. This analysis examines the general typology and architectural evolution of buildings within Early Iron Age Cyclades/ Eastern Aegean Islands and Crete (i.e, apsidal, curvilinear and oval buildings, rectangular structures and their subcategories, etc) as well as the categorisation of features of internal arrangement, leading finally to a discussion of functional evolution of Early Iron Age buildings as well as some conclusions on such topics as social status, gender and ethnicity  within Early Iron Age Island societies.

Chapter 4 presents the final conclusions of this study. By referring to the examples analysed in the two ‘data’ chapters, and by drawing on the arguments initially presented in the discussion part of these chapters, chapter 4, brings together the points of theoretical household archaeology, as summarised in the introduction, with the architectural and household evidence examined here within the Early Iron Age Aegean.


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