Friday 17 December 2010

Giorgos Vavouranakis
Hellenic Open University

Funerary ritual and social structure just before and right after the establishment of the first palaces
The issue of power comprises a coin with two sides: There are –usually – the ‘few’ that exert it and the ‘many,’ upon which  it is exerted. Minoan archaeology has formed a relatively detailed picture of the one side of the coin and specifically the appearance of palatial authority on Crete.  The seminar focuses upon the examination of the second side of the coin, i.e. the importance and role of the many in the transformation of Crete from a kin-based society during the Prepalatial period to a society of early states during the Old Palace period.
The critical review of past research shows that  a better understanding of the phenomenon of palatial power requires a methodological switch, so as to examine the mechanisms of the social consent by the many that supported the power of the few. The usual typological analysis of morphological features of Minoan society should be replaced by a focus upon the agency of social subjects, not as individuals but as group members. A key-role to this approach is played by the search for collective values and concepts that contain social groups and dictate their action.
The above suggestions are examined in reference to the funerary remains in Crete. Funerary ritual comprises the par excellence field of (re-) negotiation of collective attiudes and systems of value, while it was a prominent feature of prepalatial social life. As a result, changes in funerary customs may shed light upon the ways in which the social whole reacted to the agency of the emerging palatial power groups during the sensitive period of the transition to a new way of life in Crete. Special reference will be made to the preliminary results of the study of the assemblage of τηε ΕΜ Ι – ΜΜ ΙΙΙ tholos tomb Β at Apesokari, Mesara.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...