Cultural homogeneity and diversity in Prepalatial Crete

new evidence from the excavation of Early Minoan cemeteries in the far East Crete.

Prof. Yannis Papadatos

(Un. of Athens)

April 2014 25/04 at 14:00

Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) – UCL – Salle du Conseil ISP

Recent excavation of two early circular ‘tholos’ tombs in the Siteia Prefecture by the University of Athens and the 24th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities allows us to reconsider the issue of cultural homogeneity and diversity in Prepalatial Crete. The first, located at Mesorrachi Skopi near Siteia, has a single phase of use, dating to the EM IA period. Surface survey has revealed a small number of neighbouring habitation sites that may have used this collective tomb. The ceramic material is identical to that found at the neighbouring settlement of Kephala Petras and it was probably imported from there. This suggests that the small communities of Messorachi participated in local networks of interaction, but, on the other hand were fully aware of cultural traditions and mortuary practices of distant Cretan areas, the Mesara in particular. The second tomb, at Livari Skiadi is dated from EM IB to EM III. A large part of the excavated material shows affinities not only with the Mesara-Asterousia zone but also with the north Cretan coast, and off-Cretan areas, namely the Cyclades. The above evidence suggests that already in the EM I period there existed networks of intensive interaction and contact between even the most distant areas of Crete, along which people, cultural traditions, ideas and practices, raw materials and finished objects were travelling.

These networks enhanced the cultural integration of the central and east parts of the island during the earliest phases of the Prepalatial period.