Excavations at Phylakopi in Melos 1974-77by Colin Renfrew
Pub. Date: 12/28/2007
Publisher: British School at Athens
The excavations undertaken by the British School at Athens at the Bronze Age site of Phylakopi in the Cycladic island of Melos from 1896 to 1899, under the immediate supervision of Duncan Mackenzie, have been described (by no less an authority than Carl Blegen) as: 'the first really serious effort to understand stratification, the first really good excavation… See more details below
The excavations undertaken by the British School at Athens at the Bronze Age site of Phylakopi in the Cycladic island of Melos from 1896 to 1899, under the immediate supervision of Duncan Mackenzie, have been described (by no less an authority than Carl Blegen) as: 'the first really serious effort to understand stratification, the first really good excavation in Greece'. Since that time Phylakopi has been a key site both for the study of the Cycladic Bronze Age and of prehistoric Aegean interconnections. This volume completes the authoritative account of the excavations undertaken for the British School of Archaeology from 1974 to 1977 under the direction of Colin Renfrew. Leading specialists contribute full descriptions of the stratigraphy, of the pottery of successive phases and of the other finds, now making Phylakopi one of the most comprehensively documented and published sites of the Aegean Bronze Age. Phylakopi was a settlement in close touch with other areas, notably Minoan Crete and Helladic Greece, from the Early Bronze Age onwards, with a marked increase in Minoan imports during the Middle Bronze Age. The chronology of the fortifications is here re-assessed in the light of stratigraphic associations. The painted plasters, now assigned to the Late Bronze I period, are also re-evaluated, as is the important central building of the time (with the find of a tablet fragment in the Minoan Linear A script). Significant material of the Mycenaean period is described in detail and supplements finds from the 1974-77 excavations published in The Archaeology of Cult: The Sanctuary at Phylakopi. BSA Suppl. 18 (London 1985). The growth of settlement in Melos has been outlined in C. Renfrew and J.M. Wagstaff (eds.), An Island Polity: the Archaeology of Exploitation in Melos (Cambridge 1982). With this new volume publication of the project now reaches completion, offering the documentation upon which earlier and more recent conclusions must rest. This work should stand for many years as the definitive account of this important Bronze Age site, one of the first proto-urban centres of the prehistoric Aegean. It offers much of the evidential basis needed for assessing the role of the Cyclades in the developing field of Aegean Bronze Age studies.
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