Friday 28 January 2005

Erik Hallager and Metaxia Tsipopoulou
Danish Institute at Athens and Ministry of Culture, 24th Ephorate

The Hieroglypic archive at Petras: Problems on the interpretation of contexts.
The hieroglyphic archive at Petras excavated in 1996 and 1997 is very close to the final publication, but there are problems concerning the interpretation of the archaeological facts which we should appreciate would like to discuss with colleagues before the book is send to press.
We will start with a presentation of what we think the finds may tell us about what happened in the hieroglyphic archive the day it was destroyed. We will present our ideas on what the archive looked like, how it was organized, how many people worked there, what kind of activities took place etc. We will then present the archaeological facts on which our ideas are based: the detailed plans of the archive and the immediate surrounding area and the distribution maps of all the finds - and then the problems will become obvious.
The northwestern corner of the MM II palatial building at Petras (where the archive belonged) was much disturbed by later building activities and essential parts of the outer walls are now completely missing. Can we thus be sure what the architecture looked like and can we be sure how the archive was approached? We know for a fact, that none of the items from the archive were found on the floor of the space where they were excavated for which reason we also take it as a fact that they had fallen from the storey above. From the preserved architecture at the ground level it is relatively easy to make a plausible reconstruction of the archive room at the upper storey, but is it equally plausible that the distribution of finds noted on the ground floor reflect a similar distribution on the upper floor? In other words how did the remains from the archive become deposited? We have pointers to make us believe that the actual find spots do reflect what happened upstairs, but can we be sure?
 These are the main problems we want to present, while the actual finds such as hieroglyphic archival documents, pottery, bones, plaster and wall painting, obsidian and other small finds will only be touched upon very briefly.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...