Thursday 29 January 2009

Toula Marketou
Ministry of Culture, 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities

‘Kyrbe beyond myth:  art and architecture of the Late Bronze Age I settlement of Trianda in Rhodes’.

Myth is an attempt to narrate the whole of human experience, of which the purpose is too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description
D.H. Lawrence

The spread and diachronic development of prehistoric settlement in the wider region of Ialysos, in the northern part of the island of Rhodes, is closely linked with large-scale natural catastrophes which passed by means of the collective memory of the place into different versions of the rich mythology of Rhodes. After the final destruction of the EB settlement at Asomatos Kremastis and the shift of population to the peaks, knolls and flanks of Filerimos, the large LB I town was founded beneath the alluvial deposits which have formed the modern plain at Trianda. The foundation of the new prehistoric town, one of the largest then known in the Aegean, coincided with the start of the Late Bronze Age and the era of great upheavals.
The cosmopolitan prehistoric town, on a large, fertile island and at a particularly strategic location for the East Mediterranean, rapidly found itself at the epicentre of developments dictated by Cretan expansion in the Aegean. Built to the north of the imposing Filerimos massif, at a unique place divided by small streams forming something like a delta with rich, riverside vegetation, the LB town, then by the sea, followed the demands of the age and began to adopt many of the features of Minoan civilization. This influence, visible in domestic vessels and other, more luxurious items, is perhaps clearest in architecture, with the presence of horns of consecration, stone bases for wooden columns and particularly, polythyra or pier-and-door partitions.
Up to now, small parts of a very difficult puzzle have come to light, which recreate its urban form made up of large blocks and often impressive roads, more and more reminiscent of that other great Aegean town, Akrotiri on Thera. In the course of rescue excavations – and despite the practical difficulties in conducting them – as well as during conservation and study of the material culture remains, we have brought to light new expressions of the art and crafts employed by the LB inhabitants of Ialysos, which ensured the progress and well-being of their society, before the earthquakes and the biblical eruption of the Theran volcano.
Apart from their active participation in the trade network of exchange in the eastern waterways of the Aegean, which brought travelling craftsmen and different products to this unique harbour town, it is becoming more obvious that the arts developed mainly in painting and their love of nature. This can be deduced from the high quality of the wall-paintings that decorated almost every house from one end of the town to the other, depicting details from the natural, local environment.
The similarities with the town of Akrotiri at its height, especially in art, which was indicative of the essential value of urban life, shed light on aspects of society, so well organized that it could resolutely confront the natural disasters before and after the great eruption and the fall of volcanic ash.



Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...