Maria Anastasiadou

Postdoctoral Researcher F.R.S-FNRS

Sealings studies

AEGIS Researcher

The Sealings from House A at Kato Zakros During D. G. Hogarth’s excavations in Kato Zakros in 1901 more than 500 sealings were recovered. The sealings were found together in a destruction layer in House A, Room VII where among other finds a Linear A tablet also came to light. The destruction is now dated to LM IB and is thus contemporary with the destructions at the other major neopalatial sealing deposits in Agia Triada and Chania, as well as with the smaller deposits of Sklavokampos, Gournia, Palaikastro, Tylissos, and Pyrgos. The Zakros deposit shows certain peculiarities which are not or are only rarely encountered outside Zakros. One of these is the habit of impressing two or three different seal faces on one sealing and the use of packet-nodules. Another is the use for impressing of the so-called variants. These are seal-faces with very similar images which, however, show minute differences. A third peculiarity is the occurrence among the represented motifs of a group of images in which a unit, which in most cases is or resembles a creature, is created by the combination of various, seemingly not thematically connected elements (fantastic combinations). This project aims at looking at the Zakros sealings thoroughly in order to elucidate aspects of the broader question pertaining to this material, i.e. that of the place of Zakros in the socio-political landscape of neopalatial Crete. In no other LM IB sealing deposit is the consistent use of a distinctive ‘local’ group of seals or distinctive ‘local’ sealing practices encountered. The basic question is the way we can account for the ‘anomaly’ of the sealing system in Zakros and the existence there of a ‘local’ group of seals. These ‘anomalies’ are in stark contrast to the homogeneity in the material culture evident throughout neopalatial Crete and especially with the close contacts attested between Knossos and Zakros. The peculiarities in the Zakros administrative system will be observed within the broader context of Minoan neopalatial society in an attempt to re-evaluate the subject of neopalatial socio-political organisation. The study will be founded on first-hand examination of the material. The backsides of the packet nodules will be studied for the first time in an attempt to investigate the possibility of identifying hands in the creation of the packets. The possibility of connecting individual hands with specific seal motifs as well as that of discovering patterns in the combination of motifs will be investigated. After the examination of the sealing practices of Zakros is completed the material from the contemporary sealing deposits will be drawn into the picture. The possible reasons for the similarities/differences evident in the sealing practices of the various deposits will be investigated.