Tuesday 7 March 2006

Gerald Cadogan
British School at Athens

From house to house-tomb and on? Monuments, diversity and tradition in Bronze Age east Crete
This paper stems from continuing study of Myrtos-Pyrgos and presents work in progress on a remarkable group of monuments that spanned many centuries in one small village-settlement on the south coast of east Crete.
A comparison of the EM II settlements of Myrtos-Pyrgos and Myrtos-Fournou Koryfi suggests that Pyrgos was always the more important site, even if little survives of the period (Pyrgos I). It has better natural resources and was larger and there are signs of pre-EM II occupation (Pyrgos 0). After the EM IIB destructions by fire that overwhelmed both places, Fournou Koryfi was not re-settled while Pyrgos was, as a probable nucleation.
The key monument of Pyrgos II is the monumental house-tomb at the edge of the settlement, approached by a staircase descending the hill from another likely place of power on top, and joining a processional way – a forebear of the later raised walks – to the Tomb and its forecourt. The architectural origins of the Tomb lie in EM II architecture as seen at Fournou Koryfi and, probably, Trypiti. Its ideological significance as a statement of power, harnessing the dead to the living and legitimating control of the surrounding territory, is great and to be viewed with other east Cretan house-tombs.
Later in Pyrgos II the Tomb may have gone through a period of disuse, but in Pyrgos III it returned to service, if as one of several monuments. The others are the bastion-tower, defence (terrace) wall, two cisterns and a central building predecessor of the LM I (Pyrgos IV) Country House together with the courtyard on the top of the hill (if that does not date even earlier).
In the last phases of the Minoan life of Myrtos-Pyrgos, the Tomb was still in use (in LM I), while the Country House, of Knossian quality, had been built over and onto the remains of the Pyrgos III central building.
The paper will discuss the history and ideology of these monuments, in relation to social conditions and traditions in east Crete and the exercise of local and regional power.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...