Patterns of Visibility, Intervisibility and Invisibility at Bronze Age Apesokari (Crete)
Sylviane Déderix Open Archaeology 5 (2019): 187-203
Tholos A at Apesokari (south-central Crete, Greece) was constructed on a sloping ledge of bedrock, overlooking the Mesara Plain below. Such an inconvenient topographic setting makes Tholos A an unusual example in the corpus of Minoan circular tombs, which were more commonly built on flatter ground. The builders seem to have cared greatly about placing Tholos A precisely at this location, even at the risk of jeopardizing the stability of its circular chamber. Furthermore, due to limited space availability, the annex rooms of Tholos A had to be built at a higher level on the bedrock, resulting in an architectural configuration unparalleled in other circular tombs. This paper addresses the question of why this particular location was chosen for the construction of Tholos A. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are used to examine the possibility that concerns related to visibility, intervisibility or invisibility may have played a role in the decision to build Tholos A at this particular spot. Five potential scenarios are formulated and tested to assess whether the tomb may have been placed with the intention of maximizing its visibility and ensuring (or, to the contrary, preventing) intervisibility with specific features in the local landscape.