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Minoan civilization


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Author Topic: Minoan civilization  (Read 5245 times)
Gwen Parker
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« on: March 24, 2008, 03:30:35 pm »

Evans' chronological framework had triple divisions each triply divided, a formula that has been retained, thus Early Minoan (EM) I, II and III, Middle Minoan (MM) I, II and III etc. Each subsection he divided into A and B, early and late. In 1918 Alan J. B. Wace and Carl Blegen adapted Evans' chronology to the Greek mainland and the islands, where the culture was termed Helladic and Cycladic. In 1941 Arne Furumark applied the term Mycenaean to LH and LC. As it is clear that the Mycenaean Greeks dominated at Knossos at some point in Late Minoan (LM), the latter is often included under "Mycenaean" or called "Minoan-Mycenaean".

The major study of Cretan pottery was Evans'. A very general trend of facture was from dark decoration on a light background in the Early Minoan to white and red decorations on a dark wash of slip in Middle Minoan, and finally a return to the earlier manner of dark on light in Late Minoan.[1] New body shapes for vessels also emerged and various styles of decoration are evident within Evan's chronology.

Evans never intended to give exact calendrical dates to the pottery periods. He did correlate them roughly to better dated Egyptian periods using finds of Egyptian artifacts in association with Cretan ones and obvious similarities of some types of Cretan artifacts with Egyptian ones. Subsequent investigators checking Evans' work varied the dates of some of the periods a little, usually less than a few hundred years, but the chronological structure remains basically as Evans left it, a solid framework for placing events of Aegean prehistory.

Most criticism does not aim at the overthrow of Evans' system, but only complains that it does not capture all the data, such as local variations. Even with these faults the system has no competitors. In 1958 Nikolaos Platon proposed a new chronology at the Prehistoric Conference in Hamburg. In it, the terms "Pre-palace", "Old Palace" and "New Palace" were to replace Evans' scheme. The academic community accepted the scheme but not the replacement, simply stating where in Evans' system the new terms fit.

The one serious question[2] concerns the date of the Knossos tablets. Allegations were made that Evans falsified the stratum in which the tablets were found to place the tablets at 1400 BCE when they ought to have been the same date as the Pylos tablets, 1200 BCE. This dispute became known as the Palmer-Boardman Dispute when it first appeared. Despite the intense debate that developed on the subject no conclusive evidence has yet been found to settle the question. A key part of the case was that a certain kind of vase, a stirrup jar (named from the handles) found in tablet contexts, is dated only to 1200. Other archaeologists hastened to the journalistic scene with instances of similar jars going back to 1400. The search for closure goes on. By default, archaeologists tend to use Evans' dating.

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