Minoan Architecture and Urbanism: New Perspectives on an Ancient Built Environment

Minoan Architecture and Urbanism: New Perspectives on an Ancient Built Environment


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Minoan Crete is rightly famous for its idiosyncratic architecture, as well as its palaces and towns such as Knossos, Malia, Gournia, and Palaikastro. Indeed, these are often described as the first urban settlements of Bronze Age Europe. However, we still know relatively little about the dynamics of these early urban centres. How did they work? What role did the palaces have in their towns, and the towns in their landscapes?

It might seem that with such richly documented architectural remains these questions would have been answered long ago. Yet, analysis has mostly found itself confined to building materials and techniques, basic formal descriptions, and functional evaluations. Critical evaluation of these data as constituting a dynamic built environment has thus been slow in coming.

This volume aims to provide a first step in this direction. It brings together international scholars whose research focuses on Minoan architecture and urbanism as well as on theory and methods in spatial analyses. By combining methodological contributions with detailed case studies across the different scales of buildings, settlements and regions, the volume proposes a new analytical and interpretive framework for addressing the complex dynamics of the Minoan built environment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198793625
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/13/2017
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Quentin Letesson, Marie Sklodowska-Curie International Outgoing Fellow, University of Toronto & Universite catholique de Louvain,Carl Knappett, Walter Graham/ Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory , Professor, Department of Art, University of Toronto

Quentin Letesson is Marie Sklodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Art, University of Toronto and the Departement d'histoire de l'art et d'archeologie, Universite catholique de Louvain. His work focuses on configurational analyses of the Minoan built environment, on the urbanisation of Crete, and on the emergence of technical innovations in the production of Minoan material culture. He teaches archaeological theory and ethnoarchaeology at the Universite catholique de Louvain. He is involved in several excavations on Crete, most notably at Palaikastro and Sissi.

Carl Knappett teaches in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto, where he holds the Walter Graham/ Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory. He is an archaeologist interested in how things generate meaning through their creation and use. While the things of the Aegean Bronze Age are his main focus, particularly the pottery of Minoan Crete, he attempts to integrate insights from the study of things in ethnographic, ethnoarchaeological and sociological contexts with a view to developing a broad-based approach to materiality in society. His publications include Thinking Through Material Culture (Penn Press), An Archaeology of Interaction, and Network Analysis in Archaeology (both with Oxford University Press). He conducts fieldwork at various Bronze Age sites across the Aegean, and directs the new excavations at the Minoan town of Palaikastro in east Crete.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Minoan Built Environment: Past Studies, Recent Perspectives, and Future Challenges, Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett
Part I
2. Architecture: Building Dynamics at the Micro-Scale, Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett
3. Best Laid Plans: An Archaeology of Architectural Anomalies in Bronze Age Crete, Tim Cunningham
4. Architectural Energetics and Late Bronze Age Cretan Architecture: Measuring the Scale of Minoan Building Projects, Maud Devolder
5. Understanding Minoan in-House Relationships on Late Bronze Age Crete, Jan Driessen
Part II
6. Urbanism: Built Space and Communities at the Meso-scale, Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett
7. The Development and Character of Urban Communities in Prehistoric Crete in their Regional Context: A Preliminary Study, Todd Whitelaw
8. Minoan Group Design: The 'View from the Bridge', Clairy Palyvou
9. Community Building/Building Community at Gournia, D. Matthew Buell and John McEnroe
10. The Middle Minoan Slipway for Ships at the Kommos Harbour, and Harbour Development in Prehistoric Crete, Joseph W. Shaw
Part III
11. Processes AndPatterns at the Macro-Scale: Crete and Beyond, Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett
12. Computational Approaches to Minoan Settlement Interaction and Growth, Eleftheria Paliou and Andrew Bevan
13. Lost in Translation: Settlement Organization in Postpalatial Crete, a View from the East, Louise A. Hitchcock and Aren M. Maeir
14. Dining on the Fringe? A Possible Minoan-Style Banquet Hall at Ayia Irini, Kea and the Minoanisation of the Aegean Islands, Rodney D. Fitzsimons
15. A Comparative Perspective on Minoan Urbanism, Quentin Letesson, Carl Knappett, and Michael E. Smith

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