Quentin Letesson

Marie Curie IOF Fellow (UofT/UCL)

Architectural studies

AEGIS Researcher

(1) [A Network Approach to Urbanization and Processes of Invention/Innovation in the Material Culture of Bronze Age Crete (3100-1200 BCE)]

The project focuses on the relationship between urbanization and processes of invention/innovation in the material culture of the Bronze Age society of Minoan Crete (3100-1200 BCE).

In essence, it first proposes to address issues of settlement growth, layout and elaboration, but also plans to develop a diachronic approach to connections between settlements and to investigate issues of site hierarchies. Methodologically, along with a description of urban infrastructures, the intra-site study will use space syntax, an approach to spatial organization through graph analysis, to highlight characteristics of the selected sites in terms of accessibility, street layout, and density of occupation. At the inter-site level, comparisons will allow the production of a typology of settlement patterns. The project will subsequently adopt a network approach to model and test hypotheses in terms of how settlements related to one another through time and across different scales (local, regional, island-wide).

Secondly, the project intends to consider the appearance of technological innovations constituting crucial watersheds in the production of various aspects of Minoan material culture (including architecture, ceramics, glyptic, metalwork, script, etc.) and analyse their spatial distribution. The proportion of technological novelties exhibited in the archaeological data of various types of settlements through the history of their occupation will then be highlighted.

Finally, on the basis of the hierarchies of settlements and the demographic processes they implied, a network analysis of scenarios of diffusion of innovations will be conducted and evaluated in terms of their congruity with archaeological data. Through these analyses, the project ultimately aims at exploring to what extent urbanization played a role in the appearance of technological inventions, the spread of innovations, but also the persistence of traditional expressions of material culture of Bronze Age Crete…

(2) [Minoan Architecture: A Syntactical Genealogy]

Like all artefacts, buildings take part in and are the material expression of relational networks involving human and non-human actants. Within a permanent dialogue, space and society articulate and co-create each other. Mainly based on space syntax and proxemics, my postdoctoral research aimed to deal with the evolution of Cretan Bronze Age architecture and the way Minoans interacted with their built environment. Building on the concept of the neopalatial architectural genotype (see ‘Books’), this project underlined the development of particular socio-architectural dynamics. Architectural evidence from the Minoan towns of Palaikastro and Sissi received special attention but, ultimately, as it was the case for the neopalatial in the PhD, all the sufficiently well preserved architectural remains from the pre-, proto- and postpalatial periods were taken into account to address questions of social practices and spatial configuration within a diachronic and interregional framework