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Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory

DISSERTATIONS

Monday 4 February 2013

Domesticating Mountains in Middle Bronze Age Crete: Minoan Agricultural Landscaping in the Agios Nikolaos Region

Sabine Beckmann University of Crete 2012

Domesticating Mountains in Middle Bronze Age Crete: Minoan Agricultural Landscaping in the Agios Nikolaos Region

Description: 2 volumes, 1 CD with Appendices, 322 colour figures (many of which maps), 7 charts, 7 tables

Country: Greece

Supervisor: Katerina Kopaka

Other supervisors: Nena Galanidou, Iris Tzachili

Examiners: Κ. Kopaka, N. Galanidou, I. Tzachili, L.V. Watrous, N. Efstratiou, S. Andreou, A. Sampson


Abstract

Over 300 dwelling sites in the mountains of north-east Crete (Agios Nikolaos), datable (by surface pottery and lithics) mainly to the Middle Bronze Age (the Minoan Protopalatial period, ca. 2000-1650 BCE) were discovered and studied. Sites were isolated but not more than 300 m (average) apart from each other and interconnected with a network of paths. Most ruin foundations were built with massive block masonry (named “oncolithic” in this study), while long enclosure-walls claimed areas of several thousand square meters (up to 6 hectares) for each habitation, including arable and rocky land. The setting and massive construction of these enclosures, (originally more than a meter high  and with a total length of ca 150 km), show that they belonged to the sites. These features were mapped with GPS and used for the GIS study of land use and topography.

Archaeologists in the past believed a few of the then known sites (ca. 5, while enclosures and connecting paths were unknown) situated on the old roads, to have been defensible forts or watch-towers because of their so-called “monumental” or “Cyclopean” masonry, but this study shows that the massive settlement including landscape opening (landnam) and structuring (covering an area of ca. 30 sqkm min.) must have been used for mixed agriculture/animal husbandry. The area has been re-used by mixed agriculture (emphasis on pastoral economy) from the second half of the 19th century. Data gained from ethnoarchaeological study are used to corroborate and classify archaeological findings.

Contents

FOREWORD – ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS [I-V]

INTRODUCTION [1]

a. Subject of the study [2]

b. Problems and questions [4]

c. Research methods [5]

CHAPTER I – GEO-CULTURAL FRAMEWORK

a. Description of the study-area : Geology, landscape, environment [14]

b. Historical and recent mixed agriculture in the Cretan mountains [30]

CHAPTER II – ARCHAEOLOGICAL DATA

a. Background to the investigation [95]

b. Built structures [103]

c. Moveable finds [229]

d. Synthesis – Architecture and Function [274]

CHAPTER III – THE MINOAN MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPE

a. The Minoan Mountain Landscape as Human Artefact [337]

b. Negative Evidence [341]

c. Open Questions [345]

d. Conclusions [347]

BIBLIOGRAPHY [351]  

Read the dissertation online: Press here


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