New perspectives on social change from the protopalatial to the neopalatial periods in the Minoan bronze age

Material Information

New perspectives on social change from the protopalatial to the neopalatial periods in the Minoan bronze age
Shen-Brown, Paul
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
vii, 175 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Minoans -- Greece -- Crete ( lcsh )
Civilization, Aegean ( lcsh )
Bronze age -- Greece -- Crete ( lcsh )
Archaeology -- Philosophy ( lcsh )
Archaeology -- Philosophy ( fast )
Bronze age ( fast )
Civilization, Aegean ( fast )
Minoans ( fast )
Greece -- Crete ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 160-175).
General Note:
Department of Anthropology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Paul Shen-Brown.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
44093647 ( OCLC )
LD1190.L43 1999m .S44 ( lcc )

Full Text
B.A., Univers
ty of Colorado, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in part fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Mas ter of Arts

This thesis fox the Master of Arts
degree by
Paul Shen-Brown
has bebn approved
L. Antonio Curet


Shen-Brown, Paul (M.A., Anthropology)
New Perspectives on Social Change frcpm the Protopalatial to the Neopalatial
Periods in the Minoan Bronze Age
Thesis directed by Associate Professor
L. Antonio Curet
This thesis concerns cultural change from the Old Palace Period (1980 -
1700 BC) to the New Palace Period (1700 1425 BC) of Bronze Age Crete. This
project uses a conceptual approach as outlined by Flannery in an attempt to explain
a particular sequence of changes in a past society. Because the approach used is
conceptual, as opposed to attempting to create universal covering laws, it has been
possible to combine concepts related to infrastructural, structural, and
superstructural aspects of cultural processes. Ecological, geographical and resource
variables are examined (infrastructure) to define broad parameters of action
available to this society. The political and economic structures of the Protopalatial
Period are summarized (structure), and its implications for social codes of conduct
are assessed (superstructure). Using theoretical concepts that have been developed
in archaeology in recent decades, a model is proposed to explain how change may
have occurred in the periods under question. Major concepts used include Peer
Polity Interaction, heterarchical social structure, and the continuum of economic
strategies outlined by Blanton et al.'s Dual Processual Theory. Although the model
presented here does not seek to create universal covering laws, it attempts to use,
and possibly refine, concepts that have some general cross-cultural applicability.
This abstract accurately represents the c
recommend its publication.
ontent of the candidates thesis. I
L. Antonio Curet

Figures vii
Chapter 1. Introduction 1
1.1 Science and Anthropology 3
1.2 The Area of Study 8
1.3 Early Archaeology and the Influent 1.4 The Direction of Study e of Evans 12 18
2. Culture History of Crete 19
2.1 The Early Minoan 3650-2160 or; 2.2 The Middle Minoan 2160- 1600 c 2.3 The Late Minoan 1600 1000 or 2.4 Conclusion 1100 to 2000 BC 24 r 2000 1650 BC 30 1650 1000 BC... 41 53
3. Theoretical Integration 56
3.1 A Conceptual Approach 56
3.2 Hierarchies, Heterarchies and Sock 3.3 Beneath and Beyond Peer Polity In 3.4 Corporate and Network Strategies: 3.5 Environmental/Demographic Theo .1 Complexity 60 fraction 66 The Dual Processual Theory 82 ties and Concepts 92

3.6 Conclusion
4. A Model for Change in Cretan Hist
4.1 Exploding Volcanoes and Exploding Polities........................98
4.2 The Character of the Protopalatial.
4.3 The (Changing) Character of the Neopalatial.............................119
4.3.1 The Pax Minoica in MM III.
4.3.2 Palaces and Villas.
4.3.3 Wealth and Competition......
4.3.4 Cycles of Destruction in Late Minoan..............................139
4.4 Conclusion...................
5. Conclusion,

1.1 The Aegean region.
1.2 Crete, with Bronze Age sites ,
2.1 High Chronology.
2.2 Low Chronology.
2.3 Three trade routes from Crete.
3.1 Geo/cosmographical template.
3.2 Dichotomous concepts derived f 'om previous studies........97
4.1 A Geo/cosmographical template
4. IB Geo/cosmological template for
4.1C Geo/cosmological template for
4.ID Geo/cosmological template for
br the Prepalatial......................100
the Protopalatial......................102
the early Neopalatial................104
the late Neopalatial.................105

5.1 Timeline for the palatial periods
Ideational/behavioral changes i
i elite and non-elite peoples

1. Introduction
As archaeologists then, we shall have to continue in the foreseeable future, as in the
past, to bridge that gap between what the data permit us to infer as strict scientists,
and what we would like to be able to pronounce as historians or 'social analysts'
(Bintliff 1984:34).
Archaeological investigation of the Aegean region began in the last decades of
the previous century with Heinrich Schl iemann's excavations at the sites of Troy and
Mykeneae, cities of legend from the epics of Homer. Arthur Evans continued this
move toward attempting to confirm ancient literature, and to an extent eclipsed the
work of Schliemann and focused attention away from mainland Greece to the island
of Crete. His work at the Palace of Minos at Knossos, and extensive publication of
his interpretations of this site and the civilization that produced it, has had a profound
ren to this day (Dickinson 1994a: 173-174).
]f Classical Greece preserved by European
civilization he rediscovered Minoan for the
legendary king Minos, the name by which the Bronze Age history of Crete is known
today. Although the dubiousness of the origin of the name is well-recognized, and
discussed (see, for example, contributors to
impact on archaeology of the region, ei
This desire to confirm the literature c:
scholarship prompted him to name the
the assumptions implied by it have been
Hagg 1997), the name, and many of the older conceptions, remain. These
interpretations were largely informed
especially his book The Golden Bough
theory these ideas are a thing of the past,
by the then popular writings of Frazer,
(1894). While for the historian of social
archaeology of the Aegean Bronze Age, and

The subject of this research is
Protopalatial period of prehistoric Crete
especially of Crete, is still greatly influenced by the works of these men and
contemporaries of Evans, whose picture of the Cretan civilization is ... evidently
partly deriving from wish-fulfilling use of the imagination (Dickinson 1994b:3).
the explanation of cultural change from the
to the Neopalatial period and into the Late
Bronze Age. While there is much continuity through time, changes are substantial
and can have a profound effect on our understanding of these and later periods.
While it would be an exaggeration to claim that current interpretations of these
important periods are simple reflections of the works of Evans, ideas that are a
century out of date, there is nonetheless a need to reinterpret these changes from the
view of more recent theory. Archaeology has been through many changes and has
witnessed many developments in theoretical orientations and research programs in
the past century (Trigger 1989). While some recent publications in the field suggest
that a paradigm shift may be taking place in Aegean archaeology, by and large the
interpretations of the early part of the Twentieth century have become part of the
scholarship. It would be worthwhile to
d compare them to the evidence available,
based on evidence and advances in theory.
It is to be expected that some assumptions will be found untenable while others will
still have use for modem interpretation.
The changes that took place between the Protopalatial and the Neopalatial
periods are studied here from the viewpoint given by Flannery (1986) in one of the
parables for which he is known, in which he argues for a conceptual approach to
unstated assumptions of much current
examine some of these assumptions an
accepting or rejecting these assumptions

archaeological explanation, as opposed to the creation of general covering laws. This
kind of approach has been stressed recently byMcGuire and Saitta (1996) and Van
Pool and Van Pool (1999), who argue that the emphasis on general covering laws on
the part of some archaeologists is a result of a misconception of the nature of science.
The goals of taking this approach are twofold. The first is to apply an
anthropological viewpoint to a region that has predominantly been the subject of
Classical archaeologists, whose training tends to be more closely tied to history, art
history and philology than to anthropology. The second goal is to create a model to
explain culture change in a particular spatio-temporal context that integrates major
epistemological perspectives within the discipline of anthropology itself. It is hoped
that a model can be created that avoids the pitfalls of a narrow determinism, while
realistically explaining a sequence of changes that takes into account the complexity
of theoretical perspectives.
1.1 Science and Anthropology
One of the primary differences between archaeology as it is conducted in
European nations and how it is conducted in the New World is that American
archaeology is usually tied to anthropojogy, the focus of which is human cultural
systems. European archaeology, on the other hand, is usually tied to historical
studies (Trigger 1989). The primary difference between the two is that historical
studies are particularistic, while post-Boasian anthropology has tended to be
generalizing (though see Trigger 1989; Van Pool and Van Pool 1999). This means
that there is a fundamental difference in
goals and perspectives between the two, a
difference that can make analysis of societies typically studied by European

There is some potential to min:
anthropological and historical studies.
archaeologists difficult for American archaeologists. This is especially so due to
differences in types of data collected and published. However, since an
anthropological perspective is often generalizing, then any part of the world or period
of time occupied by members of the human species should be studied to test theories
and perspectives generated in other spacio-temporal contexts. A conceptual approach
(as suggested by Flannery 1986) facilitates such an analysis.
mize the differences in orientation between
That potential can be found (among other
places) in a parable written by Kent Flannery in 1986. There he describes a visit to
an Asian wise man to help him deal with his theoretical conundrums in attempting to
explain the origins of agriculture in the Valley of Oaxaca (Flannery 1986:511-519).
This fictitious guru asked whether archaeology is more like physics, chemistry, or
biology, and when Flannery replied that archaeology is more like biology, he pointed
his visitor to the writings of biologist Ernst Mayr. Specifically, he pointed to
passages in The Growth of Biological Thought (1984) that described an orientation
toward biological science that was different from the orientations traditionally used in
physics and chemistry. Mayr points to the fact that biological systems are immensely
complicated, and involve variables that are nothing like those seen in physics or
chemistry. He concludes that the science of biology has to be conducted in a
different fashion. Specifically, biologists need not seek to create universal covering
laws. Rather, they create concepts that have broad application, such as predation,
adaptation, and evolution by natural selection, and apply these concepts to the
explanation of particular, unique contexts. This is still a generalizing perspective,

though it is not universalizing. Flannery asserts with this parable that archaeology
can productively take a conceptual approach, and thereby avoid the pitfalls of
overgeneralization and remain a science;. The praxis of such an archaeology would
involve developing theories based on intensive research in some areas and attempting
to apply and test concepts thus developed to models for other regions. Rather than
seeing human social behavior as universal, this perspective recognizes that there are
realms of possibility and ranges of variation that can be expressed differentially by
human groups, often under similar social and environmental circumstances. This
conceptual approach leaves room for researchers to see uniqueness in individual
historical sequences, while still contributing to a general understanding of human
social behavior.
This conceptual approach of Mayr and Flannery also provides an opportunity
to resolve some debates among anthro pologists. The epistemological debates that
plague anthropology and the social sciences in general today may stem in large part
from a tendency of anthropologists from at least the 1950s to model anthropology on
the generalizing and law-generating examples of physics and chemistry, and the
postmodern reaction to what many perceive as a tendency to overgeneralize (Lett
1987, Van Pool and Van Pool 1999). These debates are typically characterized by
accusations of determinism. Using Harris' (1979) generally accepted tripartite
taxonomy of human social systems, borrowed from Marx and White, the various
schools of thought typically fall into pattern of either infra-structural (usually
environmental) determinism, structural (political) determinism, or superstructural
(ideational) determinism. The division of archaeology into processual and

postprocessual camps often equates to a
of processualists and a structure
postprocessualists. Often proponents
over the others. In practice, howe
component as causal, while ascribir
components. This is the unsurprising
universal laws of human behavior. In
human societies, or all societies within
defined by Elman Service (1962), it
structure or infra-structure focus on the part
or superstructure focus on the part of
of each perspective claim that their theories
allow for causation to be found in all three components, but very heavily weigh one
/er, their theories usually treat only one
g epiphenomenal status to the remaining
result of a science that attempts to create
order to create laws that are applicable to all
a general taxonomic category such as those
becomes necessary to filter out all the
particularities of individual cultures and reduce them to their most basic common
elements. This approach, however, masks variability and, in the words of Marshall
Sahlins (1978), speaking of the infrastrtuctural determinism of Cultural Materialism,
"Once we characterize meaningful hum;n practices in these terms, we shall have to
give up all anthropology, because in the translation everything cultural has been
allowed to escape" (Sahlins 1978:53). By abandoning this desire to make
anthropology akin to physics and using a conceptual approach, determinism becomes
unnecessary. The application of general anthropological concepts to particular
culture-historic sequences allows a scientific (and humanistic) anthropology to
examine cultures in all their details, rather than gloss over details in an attempt to find
human universals. This approach could be considered similar to "universal
tendencies" in anthropological linguistics (Finegan and Besnier 1989), or the concept
of variation within populations in genetics (Sober 1997).

little discussion of substantive issues is
archaeology (Van Pool and Van Poo
camps may be facilitated by taking a m
That is, rather than rejecting sci
postprocessualists would, postprocess
The author takes an integrative approach to the many theoretical programs that
compete in the social sciences, rather than an extremist position. I agree with those
who feel that the division of archaeologists into antagonist camps across which
possible is both unnecessary and harmful to
1999:34). Communication between these
egativistic stance on scientific epistemology,
ence (as positivism) outright as many
jal concepts can be taken as propositions on
the same level as processual concepts, as hypotheses to be tested and possibly
falsified (Van Pool and Van Pool 1999:45). To answer the postmodern criticism that
scientists use their authority as scientists to pass their interpretations off as truth
regardless of data, this phenomenon is true of some positivist discourse, but not of
the negativist approach to science. Nolhing is proven according to the negativistic
stance, only accepted as plausible until data and arguments can show that a
hypothesis is not plausible (similar to Hodder 1991). Thus any conclusions reached
by the author in this study should be treated in the same manner. The quote that
begins this section of the study was chosen for the point it makes about
interpretation. Science, whether positivist or negativist, is still interpretive. The
always be incomplete, and there will always
be gaps between what can be tested using scientific methods and what we wish to
know about any extinct culture. Thus the concepts and analogies we use to fill those
gaps are as important, and as needful of scrutiny, as the more conventional data
archaeologists seek.

1.2 The Area of Study
A condensed culture history of Minoan Crete is provided in the second
chapter. However, a brief and basic description of the area under study is provided
here for readers unfamiliar with the re gion and some of its local terminology. A
short glossary of some common terms specific to the region is provided as an
The culture area that is the traditional purview of the Aegean archaeologist
encompasses the modern Hellenic Republic, including the Greek mainland and its
many islands, plus the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea, some of which are not
possessions of Greece today or are contested (Figure 1.1). While the western and
southern coasts of Anatolia are as important culturally to the region as Greece,
especially to the more eastern islands, ,/matolia is not generally treated as part of the
culture area. The Aegean Region is a subdivision of the broader Mediterranean

r : 's -1 ..i* .
; -- ..<:
i. . - * %*;*,. J#.
Figure 1.1: The Aegean Region (from Dickinson 1994a:24).
Crete (Figure 1.2) is the largest island of the Aegean Sea by far, at 245 km in
length with a maximum width of 50 km.
valleys and plains in the region, partly
The island contains some of the most fertile
due to the height of the mountains, which
attract orographic rainfall that other islands in the region miss (Rackham 1980:385-
387). This situation divides the island into altitudinal zones. The lowest altitudes are

given over largely to staple agriculture, the hills and mountain slopes to orchard
crops and vines, especially olive and grape, and higher altitudes to pasturage mainly
for sheep and goats. This is a common pattern in the Aegean region now as in the
past, though the large amount of rainfall and its agricultural fertility makes this
subsistence base especially successful in Crete compared to other islands and parts of
the mainland. Crete, however, lacks iri mineral resources. Their nearest neighbors,
stretch north from Crete toward the Greek
They are dry and fairly poor agriculturally,
the small, dry Cycladic Islands that
mainland, have the opposite situation.
but have mineral deposits such as copper and silver that are known to have been
exploited in the Bronze Age (Rackham
Cycladic Islands ideal trading partners
many metal objects found on Crete c
1980:390). This fact has made Crete and the
. Recent chemical analyses have shown that
ime from these islands, as well as from the
mainland, especially a major source oij metals near the south coast of Attica called
Lavrion (Gale and Stos-Gale 1984). It is widely believed that the primary impetus
for contact between the Minoans ana the Cycladic and Helladic cultures (called
Mykenaean in the Late Bronze Age) was the Minoan desire for metals and other
mineral resources. This agricultural fertility but lack of mineral resources is an
important geophysical aspect of the his :ory of this island.

Figure 1.2: Crete, with Bronze Age sites (from Driessen & MacDonald 1997:120)

1.3 Early Archaeology and the Influence of Evans
The particular problem addressed by this research is to explain the changes
that took place in Crete between the Protopalatial period (1980 1700 BC) and the
Neopalatial period (1700- 1425 BC), which may have led to further changes in the
Late Bronze Age. As noted above,
Minoan archaeology is in many ways still
dominated by the perspectives of Sir Arthur Evans (Dickinson 1994a), whose
characterization of Minoan society was influenced heavily by Frazer's The Golden
Bough (1894). Evans perspective on culture change, seen in his monumental
publication of the Knossos site, the eight volume set The Palace of Minos (1924 -
1935), can be described as an organic growth model. That is, he felt that societies
are born, grow, mature, age, and die, just as living organisms do. This perspective
on change is not really explanatory, since it essentially says that change happens
because it does. Later discussions pf change, before the advent of the New
concepts such as diffusion, migration and
Jhy or how particular invasions or diffusions
may have taken place (Trigger 1989:150-155).
The New Archaeology of the 1960s and 1970s influenced some scholars of
the Minoans, bringing environmental and technological studies to the region (Rehak
and Younger 1998:97). While often providing very important data, these studies
have tended to be deterministic and oversimplifying, such as Halstead's (1992) social
storage hypothesis for the rise of the Minoan palaces, based on Renfrew's (1972)
Mediterranean Polyculture hypothesis, in which the introduction of new cultigens
brought about an increase in populatiorl, leading to an increase in social complexity.
Archaeology, largely relied on vague
invasion, with little attempt to explain v

have become part of the traditional
perhaps representing less unconscious
Structural interpretations have been offered fairly rarely. Apart from Bintliff s (1997)
brief mention of World Systems thecry, structural interpretations of the Minoan
Bronze Age have been published infrequently to my knowledge. Both the New
Archaeology with its tendencies toward infrastructural determinism and political
economy with its structural determinism have been in the literature long enough to
into Minoan archaeology, these still
determinism demonstrated in the earlier
discourse on Minoan archaeology, though
assumptions than those of Evans and his
immediate successors. Postprocessual studies, being somewhat newer, are relatively
scarce in this region. However, even if more postprocessual studies are introduced
most likely will fall into the pattern of
paradigms. Other studies from this region
that borrow anthropological concepts often do not address issues of change, treating
Minoan society synchronically and normatively.
There have been many publications in the past few years that are beginning to
question traditional interpretations of the Minoan Civilization. Oliver Dickinson
(1994b), for instance, has challenged the notion of Minoan religion being focused on
a single female divinity, effectively showing that local gods and goddesses of the
Neolithic and Early Minoan periods were incorporated into a polytheistic pantheon in
the Middle and Late Minoan periods. Thomas Strasser (1997) has challenged the
interpretation of pits found at the major palaces as grain storage pits, which has
strong implications for social storage models. In a more extensive publication, Jan
Dreissen and Colin MacDonald (1997) attacked the notion that the Late Minoan I
period was the time of Crete's fluorescence and was entirely peaceful, a conclusion

somewhat chaotic period of stretching
mechanisms. In his synthesis The
quality, uneven in distribution, often po
Evans had reached based on a subjective assessment of the artistic beauty of Late
Minoan I pottery. These are a few examples that suggest that a shift may be taking
place within the field of Aegean archaeology. These newer studies demonstrate
anomalies in the accepted interpretations are reminiscent of Thomas Kuhn's
(1970:52-65) first stage of a paradigm shift, where discrepancies between the
available data and the accepted interpretations begin to be noticed and prompt a
the boundaries of the available interpretive
Aegean Bronze Age, Dickinson (1994b)
characterized the state of Aegean archaeology thus: "Much more work needs to be
done before a new Aegean history can emerge. The available data remain variable in
)orly recorded, and limited in different ways
(Dickinson 1994a:7). While the acquisition of new data is the eternal cry of the
archaeologist, theory building can still be done by applying newer ideas in
anthropological archaeology to previously published works. Judging by the
character of some recent works such as those mentioned above, there is a need for
such theory building in this area.
Sir Arthur Evans found a utopia in the Cretan past. This utopia is becoming
increasingly difficult to believe. Although it is not the purpose of this study to bash
Evans nor to falsify his vision, it is worthwhile to understand that vision and how it
has influenced later interpretations of Minoan Crete, and indeed the entire history of
the region. "Minoan civlization is the only great civilization created in the twentieth
century .... Although many men and women have collaborated to revive Minoan
civilization, the picture which most of us have in our minds remains essentially that

so skillfully impressed on the Western world by Arthur Evans (Starr 1984:9). It is
the onus of the scholar of Minoan studies today to examine this vision and how it
colors our interpretations, as a few have done recently. Bintliff (1984) examines this
vision as a product of the times, in which he notes a troubling pessimism and
tendency toward escapism in the cultures of the West in the early decades of this
century (1984:35). He concludes that Evans' utopian dream was very much a
product of the times in which he lived. "Evans's revitalization of a wondrous world
of peaceful prosperity, stable divine au tocrats and a benevolent aristocracy, owes a
great deal to the general political, social and emotional 'Angst' in Europe of his time "
(Bintliff 1984:35). There are also clear strains of class elitism in this interpretation,
also to be expected of a man in his time, place, and social context. Elements of this
1960s, the era of ... Flower Power and the
i as Eastern Mysticism, the Commune, Pot,
and Lewis Binford (Bintliff 1984:36). More recently this spirit has passed and
been replaced by an interest among arch aeologists in elites and exploitative behavior,
also to be expected given the social conrext of the last few decades of this century.
The vision created by Evans and his contemporaries is of a peaceful and
sophisticated civilization, an aristocratic matriarchy with a strong religious
society. The Minoans were thought to have
been peaceful because their grand palaces filled with wealth were not protected by
fortification walls, in contrast to the fortified palaces of their warlike Mykenaean
neighbors. The belief in their passiveness has had the effect of creating an anti-
Mykenaean bias among Minoanists, wliich has consequences for how they interpret
vision were met with enthusiasm in the
fascination with alternative worlds sue
component that pervaded all aspects of

the archaeological record. Although Evans believed that the Minoans dominated the
Aegean throughout the Bronze Age, in a rare break from Evans' hegemony it was
argued later and persuasively that the last two major phases of the Bronze Age, the
Late Minoan II and III, were dominated by Mykenaeans, uncouth barbarians and
ancestors of the Greeks who invaded Crete and brought down this glorious
vans felt that the Palace Style of Knossian
inest made, and the destruction at the end of
the preceding period (LM IB) was causbd, like all the destructions in his view, by the
endemic natural phenomenon of earthquake. The prevailing view today, however, is
that the pottery and other arts of the LM II III are 'degenerate' because they are the
products of Mykenaean invaders (Bintliff 1984:36). S. Marinatos' (1939) Volcanic
civilization (Dickinson 1994a: 1-7). E
finewares of the LM II was among the
Destruction theory is of the same ilk.
eruption of the nearby volcanic island o
destroyed the fleet that protected Crete
In it Marinatos proposed that the massive
if Thira caused a tidal wave which would have
from its enemies, the fleet that allowed the
cities back home the luxury to not requite walls. This lack of defensive architecture,
however, is now known to be untrue. Although fortified sites have been known for
the past two decades, and some evidence that even Knossos may have had walls has
been found (Hood 1960-61:27), Minoan sites are still mostly lacking in defensive
features. This fact, however, does not automatically mean that they were strangers to
war, or even that war was fairly uncommon. Their neighbors in places where
documentation exists, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Hittites, Syria and others, were
subject to numerous wars. As Castleden (1994) and Starr (1986) argue, it would be
very surprising if this one place managed to stay insulated from the pattern of

violence so common all around them. Likewise, the belief that the Minoans were
matriarchical is problematic (Castleden 1994:175-177; Harris 1991: 246-247). This
idea came partly from the large number of female images in Minoan art, and from
Frazer's belief that early, 'primitive' cultures were often ruled by women. The fact
that no anthropological investigation has ever discovered a matriarchical society has
not displaced the importance of this view, though a reading of recent literature
suggests that it has become an underlying assumption more so than a conscious
proposition. Evans, in a curiously modem twist, stripped Frazer's connotations of
primitive valuelessness and made Minoan matriarchy a part of the utopian myth of
Minoan society.
:he dominant interpretation of the history of
Crete that forms the background for this study. Just as Bintliff pointed out the social
context in which this interpretation was formed, maintained, and is slowly being
changed, it could be said that the interpr etation presented here is also a product of its
time, and of the individual peculiarities of the author. This cannot be helped. Even
'thick statistics' do not protect a study from interpretation, since all science is
interpretive, and all interpreters are products of their time. However, just as Evans
reinterpreted Frazer, a reinterpretation of this society can add to what scholars have to
work with to help assess both the evidence available in the material record and the
theoretical mechanisms used to interpret that evidence. In the end analysis, this study
is dealing with radical transformations, including those transformations that are often
called collapses. It is the assertion of t iis author that changes in social and political
strategies employed in the Neopalatial period ultimately broke down the forces of

social cohesion that brought about state-level complexity on that island, leading to an
eventual transformation to a less complex form of social organization before the end
of the Bronze Age.
1.4 The Direction of Study
This study challenges some of the interpretations that are current in the
literature regarding the nature of Minoin Crete, especially the Neopalatial period of
the Cretan Bronze Age. An alternative narrative of the Minoan Bronze Age is offered
that counters some, but not all, of the interpretations that have dominated the field in
recent decades. This is done by applying concepts taken from some recent works in
anthropological archaeology. The most central of these concepts is a continuum of
socio-political strategies described in Blanton et al. 's (1996) Dual Processual Theory.
This continuum describes strategies used by social elites to negotiate power that
emphasize either communal values cr individual aggrandizement. Fluctuation
between the strategies of factions within Neopalatial society are suggested to be an
important element in the processes of change that brought about an eventual collapse
of the social system. It is further argued that these fluctuations were a result of the
system which brought about the rise of an early state level of complexity on this
this island was an unstable system from its
fered here is in no way intended to be of
island. Thus state-level complexity on
inception. The model for change of]
universal application to complex social systems elsewhere, though it uses general
concepts taken from other regions of the world. The uniqueness of the historic
sequence of this island is thus maintained, though the ideas used here may be of
more broad application.

2. Culture History of Crete
Although the focus of this study is the Protopalatial and Neopalatial periods,
entire history of Minoan Crete from first
colonization of the island to the end of the Bronze Age. This is to give the reader a
broader understanding of the long-term developments in this area and some sense of
comparison. Much of this material is condensed from two recent reviews of Minoan
history by Watrous (1994) and Rehak and Younger (1998). These publications are
suggested for those who may wish to read more in depth. Both have extensive
The Bronze Age of Crete is traditionally divided into a tripartite chronological
sequence based on Evans' ceramic studies of material from Knossos (Dickinson
1994a:9). The Early, Middle, and Late Minoan periods are each divided further into
three parts, and some of these subdiv sions are further subdivided, though not with
the same consistency. Some periods tiat have been traditionally divided into phases
designated A and B are now more often referred to as 'Early' and 'Late' (see, for
instance, Walberg 1992). This is so because many people working in the region
have come to question the distinctness with which some of Evans' ceramic phases
can be identified. The relative sequence, in spite of some fine tuning, is generally
well accepted for Bronze Age Crete. In absolute chronology, however, is still hotly
debated. This debate originates with a long-standing debate among Egyptologists
over a proposed high and the traditional low chronology. The newer, high

chronology pushes especially the earlier periods of the Bronze Age back in time. The
debate has spilled into Aegean archaeology due to the degree of contact between
Egypt and the Aegean, and the use of Egyptian comparanda for cross-dating. Use of
radiocarbon and other scientific techniques has not entirely resolved the issue (for
recent relevant studies see Manning 1995 and Warren and Hankey 1989). One of the
thorniest problems is the conflicting dates for the eruption of the Thira volcano, an
event that took place in the Late Minoan LA (LM IA) as evidenced by Minoan pottery
found in the destruction level of the Akrotiri site on Thfra. The absolute date of this
a number of conflicting pieces of evidence,
id go far toward resolving the problem of
ssue is resolved, certain conclusions regarding
event, however, has been plagued by
The resolution of this problem woui
chronology. Until such time as this is
settlement pattern changes must be considered provisional. Currently the evidence
marginally favors the high chronolog)
issues this study focus on will not be
used. Both chronologies are provided
(Rehak and Younger 1998), but most of the
dramatically effected by which chronology is
in Figures 2.1 and 2.2.
The first colonization of Cretd is traditionally dated to the Early Neolithic,
evidenced by the lowest strata at the tell of Knossos, the largest of a handful of sites
on the island. Recently, however, scholarly opinion on the first human settlement
has changed. Discovery of a Mesolithic kill site, Aetokremnos on the island of
Cyprus, has sparked a controversy concerning many Eastern Mediterranean islands
Watrous 1994). Some now feel that human agency was responsible for Mesolithic
megafauna extinctions on Cyprus, Crete, and elsewhere in the region. This would
necessitate human habitation of Crete as early as the Mesolithic. Habitation of the

Ceramic Chronology
Early Minoan I
3650 2900 BC
Early Minoan II
2900 2300 BC
Early Minoan III
2300 2160 BC
Middle Minoan IA
2160-1980 BC
Middle Minoan IB =
1980-1800 BC
Middle Minoan II
1800-1700 BC
Middle Minoan IIIA =
1700-1640 BC
Middle Minoan 11 IB
1640-1600 BC
Late Minoan IA
1600-1480 BC
Late Minoan IB
1480-1425 BC
Late Minoan II
1425-1390 BC
Late Minoan IIIA1
1390-1360 BC
Architectural Chronology
Figure 2.1: High Chronology (after Dlessen and MacDonald 1997:23)
Final Palatial

Ceramic Chronology Architectural Chronology
Early Minoan I
3100 2650 BC
Early Minoan II
2650 2150 BC
Early Minoan III
2150 2000 BC
Middle Minoan IA
2000 -1900 BC
Middle Minoan IB
1900-1850 BC
Middle Minoan II
1850-1720 BC
Middle Minoan IIIA
1720 -1680 BC
Middle Minoan II1B
1680 -1650 BC
Late Minoan IA
1650 -1550 BC
Late Minoan IB
1550 -1470 BC
Late Minoan II
1470-1405 BC
-* PrePalatial
Late Minoan I1IA1
1405-1370 BC J
Figure 2.2: Low Chronology (after M
_ NeoPalatial
Final Palatial
anning 1995:217).

island may have been only seasonal, but to date there is no direct evidence for this
interpretation, and no suggestions have been put forward to explain the possible
relationships between Mesolithic inhabitants and later Neolithic settlers.
The Neolithic, however, is well attested on Crete. In fact, Level X of the
Knossos site represents the earliest proven habitation of an Aegean island (Watrous
were settled agriculturists who relied at least
Dsistence. Emmer is a staple at this time in
d Greece until the Bronze Age, which is part
1994:699). The Neolithic inhabitants
partially on emmer wheat for their su
Anatolia, but is not attested on Mainlar
of why most believe the Minoans were not closely related to the Mainland cultures
then and later in the Bronze Age. The absence of emmer in Mainland Neolithic sites
does not appear to be related to climate factors, so it is assumed to be cultural.
Broodbank and Strasser's (1991:237) discussion of the Neolithic settlement of
Knossos suggests that it was a unique and deliberately planned population
movement, one that bypassed other agriculturally suitable islands in the region.
Although many of the Aegean islands are closer to Anatolia where the first settlers are
thought to have come from, and some are equally fertile and environmentally
advantageous, most of the Aegean islands are very dry and agriculturally marginal.
demographic pressures spurred the initial
colonization, since other viable choices were left uninhabited.
Settlement in the Early Neolithi; is sparse and not well examined. Only two
habitation sites have been studied in any detail in addition to Knossos, those being
the Gerani and Leros caves. Several surveys show that settlements increase in
number very slowly until the Final Neolithic, when many new sites are founded.
Nonetheless, it seems unlikely that

One of the more dramatic expressions of this expansion is in the Western Mesara, a
highly fertile plain on the south coast of Crete. Here Watrous et al. (1993:233)
report a single site for the Middle Neolithic, but nine for the Final Neolithic. In
addition, settlements expand into a greater variety of environmental zones, such as
mountains and coastal areas. Although some regions of the island have not been
adequately surveyed, where surveys have taken place, they show this same trend of
settlement expansion.
2.1 The Early Minoan 3650
or 3100 to 2000 BC
As with the Final Neolithic (FN), the Early Minoan I (EM I) is a period of
dramatic settlement expansion (Watrous 1994:701). Surveys in several regions of
the island have consistently shown increases in the number of new settlements
appearing in this period. These surveys do suffer from a margin of error resulting
from the difficulty of distinguishing FN from EM I pottery. Thus the extent of
expansion in either period could be conflated with expansion from the other.
However, the two periods as an aggregation show a dramatic rise in population that
cannot be wholly attributed to one period or the other. What does seem to
distinguish EM I from FN settlement patterns, though, is an expansion of the
settlement hierarchy. Where FN sites are all of the character of campsites and single
farmsteads, plus one village at Knossos, the EM I adds hamlets to the pattern, and
another village at Festos in the Mesara. In addition, cave sites that had been
inhabited in the Neolithic are now abandoned, though some are reused as graves.
Naturally the small number of sites from both periods that have been excavated
means that future work could change this picture, but currently the EM I appears to

has its limitations, since the majority
this century have been robbed, either
all periods of Minoan history. Some
mortuary data that is currently availab
be the beginning of a series of changejs in settlement hierarchy that occur throughout
the Bronze Age.
Most of what we know about the EM I, and indeed the entire Early Minoan
period, comes from mortuary data. Unfortunately even this category of information
Df Minoan tombs that have been discovered in
in antiquity or more recently. This is true for
conclusions, however, can be drawn from the
'e. Tombs in the south of Crete in the EM I are
communal tombs, mainly tholos tombs (plural tholoi), which are vaulted circular
built tombs covered by an earth mound. A great many of these had suites of rooms
added on to them in later periods, some of which accommodated burials, other rooms
may have been used for ceremonial purposes. Interestingly, evidence of ceremonies
in the Early Minoan is almost entirely confined to cemeteries, where offerings left
outside of tombs have been found and many tombs have paved areas in front of
them, similar to paved areas at Cycladic cemeteries which were used for funerary
ritual (R. Barber 1987:23). Grave goods of the Early Minoan show an increasing
amount of contact between Crete and the Cycladic Islands, compared to the
Neolithic. This is especially so in cemeteries of the north and eastern portions of the
islands, where the tholos type is uncommon and single inhumations dominate.
Writing of the Ayla Fotia cemetery near the eastern village of Sitefa, Davaras (1971,
in Watrous 1994:702) noted a similarity not only in artifacts but also in the forms of
the tombs themselves, suggesting the possibility of Cycladic settlement on Crete at
this time, or else possession of common ritual practices. Analyses of the grave

goods for the Early Minoan shows litie to suggest social stratification or inherited
social statuses at this time (Watrous 1994:712-715).
Changes in population from tie Neolithic to the Early Minoan have been
explained in terms of both foreign immigration and natural population growth.
Regarding immigration, a small number of sites are candidates for full-site
intrusions, the unknown habitation associated with the cemetery of Ayia Fotia being
a prime candidate. The FN in the Cyclades was a time of population aggregation into
fortified hilltop settlements. It is entirely possible that Cycladic immigrants may have
fled to Crete in EM I to escape warfare. However, the number of sites where this
interpretation is possible is relatively small, and the majority of new sites in the EM I
are adjacent to older sites. Village fissioning concomitant with internal population
growth can explain much of the population increase in this period, since the material
culture of the majority of new foundations is shared (as far as surface surveys can
tell) with older settlements (Watrous 1994:704). Population growth has been
attributed by Renfrew (1972:280) to the domestication of the grape and olive, added
to the Neolithic base of wheat, resulting in the Mediterranean Triad.' However, it is
probable that both population growth and migration played a role in the expansion of
settlement in EM I.
Settlement expansion continued in the EM II, but at a much slower pace
did not change, though absolute numbers of
small numbers of settlements at the lower end
of the pattern were founded, though the two village-sized sites from the EM I do not
appear to have grown. This lack of growth may be real, or it could be a result of the
(Watrous 1994:705). The hierarchy
sites rose. In most regions surveyed,

deposits. There is a slight shrinkage
to be an exception, since all the known
poor state of knowledge of the lower levels of multicomponent sites, where
monumental architecture of later periods interferes with excavation of earlier
in the number of smaller sites in the Mesara
around Festos, suggesting the possibility of as yet undetected nucleation (Watrous
1994:704). The Ierapetra Peninsula, setting off northern from eastern Crete, appears
. hamlet-sized sites there are founded in the EM
II rather than the preceding period. Also at this time the site that became the location
of the third largest palace in the palatial periods reaches village size. Houses at
Malia, Knossos and Festos, however, appear to not differ from houses of the
hamlets that have been excavated. However, intense terracing which may have been
architectural occurred at Knossos, including a terrace at the northwest comer of the
later palace. This suggests the possibility of elite architecture built on platforms
above the rest of the village.
Although much of what we know of the EM II is still dependent on mortuary
data, a number of hamlets have been excavated and published. The most well-
known of these is Fournou Koriff (Warren 1972), a hamlet that was home to perhaps
25 to 30 people. The inhabitants practiced mixed farming and animal husbandry,
which included cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. Equipment for dyeing shows an
unusually large investment in textile manufacture, not attested at other contemporary
sites. Otherwise Fournou Koriff is typ ical of its time.
Another such site, Vasilikf in t ie upland plain of Lasfthi, was once thought to
have been the site of a large mansion, suggesting a level of social complexity
nowhere else attested at this time on Crete. More recent work, however, has shown

Ceramic regionalism has shown that
that the "House on the Hilltop" is a conflation of several ordinary houses in a
complicated stratigraphic sequence (Watrous 1994:708). Differences in grave goods
show differences in social status, but whether these differences represent acquired or
ascribed status is an unresolved question. Though the question of social stratification
is unresolved, it is during this period that evidence of administration first appeared in
the form of seals and sealings. A possible EM I seal from the Krasi cemetery
occurred in a mixed EM I-II deposit, so it does not unambiguously date
administration to the earlier period.
Trade during the EM II continued as in the previous period, and grew.
trade between the north, south, and eastern
regions of Crete was extensive. Knossos imported pottery from the Mesara in the
south in EM IIA, then stopped and began importing pottery from the east, including
the highly circulated Vasilikf ware. Foreign imports also increased, evidenced by the
continued occurrence of Cycladic wares and tomb types, and lead isotope analyses of
metal objects from Crete show that most of their metals came from the Cycladic
Islands, plus some from the mainland copper source at Lavrion. There are also very
small numbers of imports from further afield, including Syria and Egypt. Though
actual imports were few, several new pottery forms appear that have Egyptian
parallels (Watrous 1994:717). It is widely thought that Minoans at this time got their
imports through Cycladic middlemen rather than venturing onto the seas themselves
(R. Barber 1987:197). Exports frori Crete are extremely rare at this time. An
interesting occurrence that may relate to foreign trade is the founding of a Minoan
habitation on the island of K'ythera, just south of the Peloponnese (Coldstream and

have been only seasonally occupied,
Huxley 1984:108). One possible explanation for the habitation has been access to
the placer gold of the Laconia Valley and trade with mainland Helladic settlements of
the Argolid. Other explanations offered include use for harvesting migratory tunny
fish, and overpopulation of Crete (Watrous 1994:711-712). The site at this time may
which favors the first two but not the latter
interpretation. Either way, the Early Minoan period seems to be one in which the
inhabitants of Crete increasingly sought out foreign resources and manufactured
The EM II ends with evidence of fiery destructions at many sites. In the
Early Minoan IE the majority of previously known sites are abandoned. Small sites
in the countryside are remarkable by their absence in the several surveys of
prehistoric Crete. Scanty evidence of
sites of the previous period, Knossos
occupation remains at two of the three village
being the one site that still shows substantial
occupation. Likewise there are gaps in the majority of explored cemeteries. It is
possible that whatever caused the numerous destructions and abandonments of
Minoan sites that ended the EM n brought substantial depopulation with it. The
extremely small evidence for settlement during this time would suggest an island-
wide calamity, then almost instant recovery in the Middle Minoan I. This
depopulation is likely to be more apparent than real. There may be a methodological
problem with this period. EM III :;s defined by a ceramic style found almost
exclusively at Knossos. Some scholars believe that EM El is merely a ceramic style
particular to that site, and is contemplrary with EM IIB elsewhere. If this is the
case, then the evidence for depopulation is false. An alternative is that EM III

ceramic styles outside of this one site simply have not been adequately described, so
surveys have consistently identified material dating to EM HI as EM II B (Watrous
1994:718). The latter interpretation is favored by the fact that contemporary Early
Cycladic III is characterized by movement from open coastal sites to fortified
hilltops, and is described as a period of turmoil (R. Barber 1987:138-139) in the
islands. If this turmoil had spilled over onto Crete, then we would not expect to find
EM III ceramics at the coastal sites that have typically been studied, as these would
have been abandoned. Whichever answer turns out to be supported by future
studies, it is evident that some kind
socially or demographically, towards
of problem seriously disrupted Crete, either
the end of the Early Minoan period. This
interpretation is at odds with Evans' characterization, based solely on Knossos
material, of a steady development from the Early to Middle Bronze Age. Thus the
Early Minoan ends on an uneasy quesi ion mark.
2.2 The Middle Minoan 2160- 1600
or 2000 1650 BC
With evidence for social complexity in the EM II-HI on shaky grounds, the
Middle Minoan becomes the time for change to complex social organization. State-
level organization is marked in the Aegean region as a whole by the introduction of
monumental architecture, in the form of structures Evans referred to as palaces.
Although the palatial character of thjese buildings has been questioned by recent
scholarship (see contributors to Hagg and Marinatos 1987), this building type is still
widely referred to as the palace, and their periods of use are spoken of in the
literature as the palatial periods. The earliest known palace is at the Knossos site,
which seems to have been the largest habitation on Crete throughout the Bronze Age.

This monumental building was constructed late in the Middle Minoan IB, while other
palaces on Crete came slightly later, ir the Middle Minoan II. There is evidence to
suggest that the Malia palace also may have been built at the same time as the
Knossos palace, but its plan is unknown (Watrous 1994:738). But the first palace
and thus the Protopalatial period did nat appear completely without precedent. As
noted above, there is evidence for extensive terracing at the Knossos site in EM II,
including at the site of the palace itself. This terracing may have supported elite
buildings made of perishable materials. And though evidence for social stratification
in the EM is not altogether firm, by the MM I social stratification is a little more clear.
Where the EM ends with fiery
destructions and abandonment of numerous
sites, the MM IA sees a sudden growth. The largest sites of the preceding period,
Knossos, Malia and Festos, now swel
the EM are reoccupied, but smaller
Reoccupied and expanded sites have
to become substantial towns. Some sites of
sites are almost entirely new foundations,
fortifications added to them, and some new
foundations are built in defensive locations with fortification walls. It is worth
noting that the same phenomenon takels place in the nearby Cycladic Islands at this
time. These smaller sites all show evidence of specialized production, such as the
pottery workshops at Patrikies, and foreign imports, mainly from the Cycladic
Islands but also from Syria and Egypt. Both habitations and burials show a dramatic
rise in wealth, especially in terms of foreign materials. But whereas in the EM
almost all the imports came from the Cyclades, MM IA shows an influx of materials
from further afield, especially Egypt and the Near East.

The mortuary data gives us our best look at social stratification and wealth in
this period. In places the evidence is ambiguous, but at Malia social stratification is
pronounced. However, this site is a deviation from the norm of Minoan
development in many ways. But them are differences between poor and wealthy
tombs apparent in other cemeteries around the island at this time, such as the very
large cemetery of Fourni at Arhanes, within the territory of Knossos (Watrous
1994:723-728). Body counts at cemeteries are much larger than in the EM,
suggesting a rise in population, as are differences in grave goods in most tombs.
Also a greater variety of tomb types
previously used only in the Cycladic
appear. These include cist graves, a form
Islands in this region. An interesting and
unexplained phenomenon to note is that while the Cycladic Folded Arm Figurine
goes out of use in the Cyclades after EM HI, they are still found as grave offerings in
Minoan tombs in MM IA, as well as local imitations of the figures (the Koumasa
type). Grave goods include materials not available in Crete, and especially in jewelry
a much wider variety of materials than in previous periods. Many Egyptian imports
and local imitations appear in the graves, and for the first time Egyptian scarabs are
found. These are important in that they cross-date the MM I with the Twelfth
Dynasty of Egypt's Middle Kingdom. In addition to grave goods, funerary
architecture shows some parallels with Egypt. Many tholos tombs at Fourni that had
been built in the EM have complexes of rooms added to the outside and were used
for burials through the end of the palatial periods. These clusters of buildings around
older tombs are similar to contemporary practices in Egypt, though admittedly this
could be explained in other ways. A more clear Egyptian influence, the

front of Old Kingdom mastabas (elite
Chrysolakkos tomb at Malia has a retaining wall and a series of rooms unparalleled
outside Egypt. This configuration strc ngly resembles Egyptian corridor chapels in
:ombs). Thus it can be seen that the MM IA
shows an increase in both social stratification and foreign, especially Egyptian,
influences. The meaning of these influences are discussed in a later chapter.
Two important institutions of the Minoan Bronze Age have their beginnings
in the MM IA, literacy and extra-mural ceremonial centers. Peak sanctuaries are a
class of vacant ceremonial sites set on or near the peaks of the high mountains of
Crete. These sites, often visible from regional centers like Knossos, are usually
within a day's walk of major population centers. They consist of outdoor altar
structures, terraced platforms and a surrounding wall called a peribolos. There is
some debate over the date of the construction of the peribolos walls. While some
excavators have assumed that they were built at the time of these sites' founding,
others are of the opinion that they are much later additions, dating perhaps to the Late
Minoan HIA (Watrous 1994:731). dfferings of figurines, mostly animals, male
human figurines and phalluses, are most often located in crevices in the rock. A
related site type is the hilltop sanctuary, which is similar except for their altitude and
proximity to habitations. The major difference between the peak and hilltop
sanctuaries is that peak sanctuaries a
3pear to have served multiple communities,
caves come into use as ceremonial cer
while hilltop sanctuaries are associated with a single community. Also at this time
ters. Finds in caves tend to mimic finds in
burials, which many caves had been used for in the EM (Watrous 1994:734)

The other development of this time that is of great importance is the
development of literacy. This first appears in the form of seals engraved in the
Cretan Hieroglyphic script at the Foirni cemetery (Watrous 1994:727). Literacy
became much more widespread in later periods, when archives of clay documents
appear at the major regional centers throughout the island, in addition to widespread
use on sealstones, and are found in more sites. It is interesting to note that the Cretan
Hieroglyphic script existed simultaneously with Linear A in the Protopalatial, but
was replaced by Linear A in the Neopalatial. What comes as a surprise is that Cretan
Hieroglyphic is associated mainly with Knossos and northern Crete, while Linear A
made its first appearance at Festos in southern Crete (Watrous 1994:740). Although
writing first appears on archaeologically preservable materials at this time and in one
of two contemporary scripts, it is possible that writing first began with perishable
materials, so it would be unwise to assume that Cretan Hieroglyphic necessarily
predates Linear A.
The Protopalatial was the time in which Minoan culture took on the suite of
characteristics that differentiates it from other cultures. Whereas Evans dated the
Protopalatial to the Middle Minoan II, more recent work pushes the founding of the
palaces at Knossos and possibly Malia Dack to the MM IB (see above). There is now
an argument to push back the foundation of the Knossos palatial state into the MM
IA. This argument is based on limited
was built in the MM IA (Watrous 1994
work in the town of Knossos, which shows
that the road system of the town, inch ding the Royal Road that leads to the palace,
737). The idea is that the same authority that
built the palace must have existed to build the roads. The fact that the widest of these

roads leads to the location of the later palace suggests that a palace or some important
civic building must have been there at the time. This argument, however, is far from
certain. The existence of an authority that managed the construction of roads does
not necessitate an administrative building to house it. Also, the fact that a road leads
to the site of the later palace does not necessitate the foundation of the palace at that
time, since there is evidence of terracing as far back as EM II. The Royal Road could
as easily have lead to whatever building or even utilized open space stood on that
spot before the palace was built.
The Middle Minoan IB-II was the time of Crete's greatest Bronze Age
population growth. Knossos and Festos both reached their greatest size at this time,
an estimated 100 and 90 hectares respectively (Watrous 1994:736). Surveys from
around the island show consistent expansion, with growth tapering off in later
lement pattern became its most complex, with
:h as ports, sanctuaries, and the first of the
villas, manors, or country houses. Villas,
town, other times new foundations, expanded
disappear in the Final Palatial. Just as the
function of the palaces is hotly debated, the meaning of this type of building complex
is also open to question (see contributors to Hagg 1997), though there is agreement
that they represent more than one type (Effenterre and Effenterre 1997:9). They may
have had some sort of role in administering the distribution of agricultural products
periods. It was in this period that set
the addition of specialized sites sue
enigmatic structures variously called
sometimes associated with an existing
dramatically in the Neopalatial, then
and the production of specialized era:
major palatial towns.
'ts, mainly in areas somewhat distant from the

Probably the most important aspect of the Protopalatial Period is the sudden
expansion of foreign trade at this time
of Crete since the Middle Neolithic, w
. Foreign trade had been a part of the history
len Milian obsidian from the Cycladic Islands
is found in habitations and graves. But it is in the Protopalatial that foreign trade
takes its first huge leap. Most of the s
tudies centered on Minoan trade have focused
on the Late Minoan, but it is becoming more clear that the Protopalatial is where the
intense trade activity of the Late Bror
pottery, mainly elite palatial styles sue
:ize Age began. It is in MM IB that Minoan
:h as Kamares ware, are first found in mainland
sites, though Helladic pottery is very uncommon on Crete at this time (Watrous
1994: 748). Likewise, Minoan ceramics are exported to Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt.
It is worth noting that Protopalatial pottery exports were mainly finewares, while in
the Neopalatial they were mainly storage containers (Watrous 1994: 748). In 1984 J.
Davis proposed that the Minoans had established a trade route through the western
Cycladic Islands to the mainland coa st in an effort to gain access to the mineral
resources of Lavrion (J. Davis 1984:146). He called this route the Western String,
which he thought was a LM I phenomenon. Now it is clear that there were at least
three such strings (see Figure 2.3), and that they were in operation by the MM IB.
Moreover, the distribution of finds both on Crete and in the regions Crete was
exchanging material with shows that these trade routes were associated with regions
the Minoan colony on K'ythera to the Argolid
ithin the territory of Hania in the Rhethymnon
within Crete. Thus the route through
kept Peloponnesian artifacts mostly w
area of western Crete. The Western String through the Cyclades set up an exchange
relationship between Attica and nort
rern Crete, primarily Knossos and Arhanes.

area would make a worthwhile study in
of Kommos, just downstream from
Mesara makes for an ideal jumping ofl
Minoan colonies on Rodos, and signs of a Minoan presence on the less well-
explored islands of Kassos and Karpathos, make a route leading from eastern Crete
and Malia to the Anatolian coast and such major sites as Knidos and Miletos. This
helps to explain why Malia has so few Cycladic imports and large quantities of Syro-
Cilician and Egyptian imports. The one region left out of this scheme is southern
Crete and the rich Mesara Plain. Characterizing a mechanism for exchange in this
itself. It is clear from the finds that the port
Festos, received Egyptian imports, and the
point for the journey to Egypt. However,
currents and winds do not favor a direct return from Egypt to Crete (Lambrou-
Phillipson 1991:11-13). A slow and circuitous route up the Levantine and Anatolian
coasts, which would likely land a mariner on the north or east coasts of Crete, is
;ardless, all regions of Crete became actively
luch more so than in the Prepalatial.
While the date of the first palaces of Crete is still being discussed, the
beginning of the Neopalatial is better c.efined. The MM II ends with destruction in
many centers around the island, some of them accompanied by fire. These
destructions may not have been exactly contemporary (Rehak and Younger
Crete quickly recovered. All of the known
tj, mostly on a larger scale than they appear to
have been made originally. In addition to an increase in size, the palatial buildings
show important changes in internal organization. Specifically, storage areas shrink
necessary for the return journey. Reg
involved in foreign trade at this time, m
1998:100), and whatever caused them
palaces of the Protopalatial were rebuilt

In fact, some scholars interpret these
palaces due to the large amount of cult
(Castelden 1994:6), This, however,
Figure 2.3: Three trade routes from Crete (map by Kharyssa Rhodes).
with the rebuilding, and space for craft workshops increases. Also areas of the
palaces that appear to have been shrin ts or are associated with cult activity increase.
structures to be temple complexes rather than
equipment and scenes found throughout them
may be a relatively meaningless distinction, if
Crete was, in fact, the theocratic society most believe it was. Like Near Eastern
leadership in the Bronze Age, Minoan leadership likely combined secular with
jd in a single person or family, though if this
lack of depictions of rulers in the corpus of
Minoan representational art (E. Davis 1995:12). However, incorporation of
workshops within the palaces likely means politico-religious control or patronization
religious authority, perhaps embodiei
were the case, there is an amazing

monumentalized (Rehak and Younger
the end point of a road from Knossos
of at least some craft industries at this time. It is not clear that this was a
monopolistic control. The nearest potte ry kiln to the Knossos palace is 3 kilometers
away, and there is more evidence fpr craft production at smaller sites than the
regional centers.
The MM III, the beginning of the Neopalatial, seems to have been a time of
consolidation of power for the palatial authorities. It is at this time that peak and
hilltop sanctuaries located near major regional centers are expanded and
1998:142). The peak sanctuary of Jouktas,
that passes through other habitations and by
the shrine at Arhanes Anemospflia, is expanded and built up with impressive altars
and building complexes in imitation of palatial architecture. As mentioned above, the
peribolos wall may be a much later addition. By way of contrast, excavations at the
Kofinas sanctuary, far from any known regional center, are instructive. This
sanctuary was never expanded like Jouktas or Petsofas, and the dedications there are
fewer in variety, being mostly animal fi gurines. Being far from any regional center,
it does not seem to have changed much from its foundation late in the Prepalatial, a
a couple day's walk from the palaces. Thus
nsolidating control over ceremonial functions
very different story from those within
the palatial authorities seemed to be co
as well as craft production at the beginning of the Neopalatial.
Settlement pattern is not much
partly due to the fact that the settleme
discussed for the Neopalatial Period. This is
it pattern of the Protopalatial seems to have
been largely carried over into the Neopalatial. This is also related to the theoretical
orientations of many of the scholars who deal with the Neopalatial, who tend to be

much more oriented toward art history than anthropology (see Rehak and Younger
1998, who devote several pages to Neopalatial art, but barely mention settlement).
One thing, however, that is worthy of note concerning settlement pattern is the
Minoan villa. This building type seems to have begun in the Protopalatial, but few of
them show clear evidence of use before the Neopalatial. It is the Neopalatial that is
their great period of use, after whici they are abandoned (Rehak and Younger
1998:104). These buildings include facilities for craft production and storage, and
some have interpreted them as part of the power consolidation of the palatial
authorities in the MM III (see the Final General Discussion in Hagg 1997:231),
seeing them as distribution points for mainly agricultural goods. They could also
represent a disaggregation of palatial control, or a challenge to it. As Rehak and
Younger (1994:105) point out, both interpretations are equally possible, given the
Another source of evidence
understand the Neopalatial is burial ev
reason. It seems that Neopalatial buria'
a large proportion of grave offerings in
hat is largely missing from our tools to
idence, though this is for an entirely different
s are nearly unidentifiable. Pottery comprises
Crete, and Neopalatial pottery styles are well
defined. This makes it unlikely that Neopalatial burials coexist in earlier and later
cemeteries and have been misidentified. Several recent surveys have failed to locate
more than a handful of tombs associated with this period. Rehak and Younger
(1998:110) point out that no Neopalatial tombs were found on the tiny island of
Psiera, just off the north coast of Crete, in spite of the fact that this entire island has
been explored. They suggest that the Minoans may have turned to burial at sea or

understanding Neopalatial Crete.
2.3 The Late Minoan 1600 -
or 1650 1000 BC
other, less visible forms of burial during this period. This kind of change represents
a huge break with the past, possibly the abandonment of an ancestor cult. From the
Neolithic to the Protopalatial burial was a major focus of ceremonial/religious
activity, and the visibility of tombs, especially in the case of tholos tombs, seems to
have been a factor. Thus the dearth of burial data may be a very important factor for
The Neopalatial encompasses the ceramic phases MM III, LM IA and LM IB
(see Figures 2.1 and 2.2). It is somewhat artificial to separate the Neopalatial for
analysis, especially since there are many areas where chronological separation of
events within subdivisions of this peri od are not possible. However, the ceramic
sequence bisects the architectural sequence in this case, splitting the Neopalatial into a
Middle Minoan phase and a Late Mincan phase. The Late Minoan period itself is
divided by the Neopalatial, Final Palatial, and Postpalatial architectural phases. Here
it is worth mentioning that the ceramic sequence is a heuristic for purposes of dating
events, while the phases based on palatial architecture seem to show more
meaningful correspondences with social changes in Minoan history. Thus, it should
not be assumed that a radical break separates the Middle Minoan part of the
Neopalatial period from the Late Minoan part. Though changes did take place, these
appear to have been more subtle, gradual changes, rather than the radical break
between the EM III and MM I or between the LM IB and LM II.
Even a glance at the literature would show that the Late Minoan is the most
studied period of Crete's history, in part due to the existence of extensive architecture

exported to the Cyclades and further
of the LM overlying earlier deposits, naking earlier periods more difficult to study.
The subject that has garnered the most scholarly attention in recent decades has been
trade. Much of what has been said on the subject of trade above can simply be
repeated in greater numbers for the LM I. As mentioned above, Neopalatial pottery
abroad were mainly storage vessels such as
pithoi and stirrup jars, as opposed to the largely palatial elite finewares exported in
the Protopalatial. The small number of Minoan finewares found outside of Crete at
this time have been shown by recent petrographic analyses to be mostly local
imitations rather than actual exports (Rehak and Younger 1998:122). This indicates a
change both in the nature of the Minoln export economy and in their relationships
with other cultures. The quantities of exported pottery in the LM I were so much
greater than earlier periods it was a veritable explosion (Rehak and Younger
1994:135). Pottery imported from otler cultures into Crete at this time, however,
s of Caananite amphora (Rehak and Younger
to carry wine, were imported to Crete in this
zation of drinking cups on Crete in LM I and
was very small in number. Only a clas
1994:135), which may have been used
period in great numbers. The standardi
evidence for wine production suggest I hat wine was an important commodity at this
time (Hamilakis 1996:23), and it is postulated that the Minoan Halls found in both
palatial and non-palatial buildings throi ghout Crete were used mainly for banqueting.
These halls may have been used for competitive feasting, involving great amounts of
wine consumption (Hood 1983:129). The major import of Crete in LM I seems to
have been raw materials for the production of elite exchange goods, with heavy
emphasis on the acquisition of metal.
he trade routes and colonies that began in the

Protopalatial or earlier seem to have b
than at similar sanctuaries on Crete itse
in quantity, and that not all of it made
;en mainly associated with the metals trade.
The huge numbers of bronze dedications at the peak sanctuary on K'ythera, more so
f, shows that the colony had access to metals
it back to Crete. Also, many metal artifacts
found on Crete or of apparent Minoan manufacture found elsewhere, notably in
Mykenaean graves, show the use of techniques not previously known on Crete
(Rehakand Younger 1994:126), especially jewelry techniques like niello, repousse,
and granulation of gold. These techniques are considered to have come originally
from Syria.
Four models for the control of Minoan trade are typically discussed in the
literature (Rehak and Younger 1994:136). These models postulate centralized
control, localized control, entrepreneurial control, and elite gift exchange. The notion
of centralized control comes in part from the legendary King Minos and his naval
empire, described by the historian Thukidides almost a millennium after the Bronze
Age. While many who have antiquarian inclinations tend to emphasize this, evidence
is lacking, and consensus is yet to be reached on the nature of Minoan political
leadership (E. Davis 1995). A localiz ;d control model may fit the evidence better,
especially considering the multiple trade routes established earlier, attached to
different regions within Crete. Also several sites on the coasts of Crete have been
postulated as gateway communities, including the eastern palace of Zakros, the
Mesara port of Kommos, and the north coast town of Psefra.
Entrepreneurial exchange, at least as a phenomenon that existed alongside
government sponsored exchange, can be assumed if only because it existed in highly

bureaucratic kingdoms of the Near East for which we have written records (Rehak
and Younger 1994:139). Another bit of evidence that supports the existence of
independent merchants is in the form of the earliest excavated shipwreck in the
Aegean Sea, a merchant vessel found off the southern coast of Turkey dating to the
u Burun wreck, contained an eclectic mix of
/, suggesting that it may have been manned by
14th Century BC. This vessel, the U
cargoes and personal goods of the crew
a diverse crew and was tramping up and down the coast (Dalva 1986). Among the
personal possessions of the crew were two Mykenaean swords, which may indicate
the presence of Mykenaean merchants on board. Even if this were not the case, the
Mykenaean artifacts certainly show contact with the Western Aegean, demonstrating
that independent merchants, whether local or of other cultures, transported goods to
and from the area.
The fourth model, that of ceremonial or gift exchange, is evidenced by the
presence of Egyptian royal iconography, including a statuette of the pharaoh User
and a stone lid inscribed with the name of the pharaoh Khyan. Such items have been
found throughout the Near East in places known to have had relations with Egypt.
Tomb paintings in Egypt describe Minoans bringing gifts to the pharaoh as well (E.
Barber 1991:330-351), though the interpretation of these objects as gifts, Minoan
goods depicted in the paintings, may represent propaganda on the part of the
Egyptian royalty. Records of Egyptian royal transactions, especially in the form of
huge quantities of raw copper brought by ship to Egypt (Pulak 1988:34-35) also
illustrate the importance of gift exchange in the region. This is, of course, royal gift
exchange, but it is not unlikely that such a mechanism operated at many levels of

society. Widespread evidence for feasting, and the wide distribution of prestige
goods within Crete in the LMI (Rehak
reciprocal gift exchange. Likely all four of these mechanisms operated side-by-side,
though the centralized control mode
indication of a centralized authority.
Minoan trade and craft producti
and Younger 1994:129), may be indicators of
lacks persuasiveness due to the lack of
on is often thought to have been controlled by
the religious authorities of Crete in thi^ period (Rehak and Younger 1998:138-139).
Many workshops for prestige goods are located within the palaces and major villas,
and art can be considered a form of elite expression and propaganda for LM Crete.
Evidence for the exportation of Minoan religion to the Cyclades, at least, is clear in
the presence of cult equipment and a p ossible peak sanctuary on Thfra, and several
Cycladic islands may have functioned as emporia of trade for Crete. Minoan
drinking cups and chalices appear in t(ie Cyclades and on the mainland at this time,
and seals associate drinking with Minoan
138-139). These have been used to argue
, examination of the architectural plans of
and storerooms for prestige goods do not
within the palaces (Rehak and Younger
with the banqueting halls where such goods
are likely to have been used and displayed. Also, palatial authorities may have filled
both religious and administrative functions as mentioned above, making the statement
of religious control somewhat meaningless.
and pictorial representations on rings
divinities (Rehak and Younger 1994:
religious control of trade. However
Minoan palaces show that workshops
directly communicate with shrines
1994:129). Rather they communicate

island. Also, there is a change in the
and earlier clay documents are mostly
with seals and allowed to dry on pegs
the Protopalatial these types diminish,
A feature of the Neopalatial is an apparent consolidation of authority. This is
suggested by changes in administrative practices. Where there were two scripts in
the Protopalatial, Cretan Hieroglyphic used in the north and Linear A used in the
south, Cretan Hieroglyphic is abandoned and Linear A adopted throughout the
types of documents themselves. Protopalatial
direct object sealings, clay nodules impressed
probably to seal chests, jars or doors. Late in
to be replaced by clay tablets, nodules attached
to strings and sealings on leather, which may have been written documents (Rehak
and Younger 1994:132). This trend continues into the Neopalatial, with clay tablet
and nodule archives increasing in size and number and direct object sealings
dwindling. However, this trend toward standardization of administration does not
mean that it was increasingly restricted to a smaller class of people. On the contrary,
the discovery of seals in humble domestic contexts shows that seal use was not
restricted to the upper classes (Rehak and Younger 1994:112), although it is not
known whether all individuals of this time had seals. The wide dispersal of prestige
goods has already been noted. Since public art is considered an elite expression, it is
worth mentioning changes in the art tradition. Although fresco ornamentation of
architecture dates back to the EM II, in the palatial periods it is primarily associated
with monumental architecture. The Neopalatial sees the introduction of depictions of
the human figure (figural frescoes), smarting with the palace at Knossos (Rehak and
Younger 1998:119). Other frescoes, however, are spread throughout the island, and
are not limited to palatial buildings and villas (Rehak and Younger 1994:121). Thus

while administration was being standardized, it and other elite trappings were being
used by an increasing number of people.
Perhaps one of the most important topics to understanding the Neopalatial is
the discussion, and general disagreement, on how the period came to an end. Evans
felt that earthquakes were responsible, Wace and Blegen (see Dickinson 1994a:4)
claimed that Mykenaean invasion was the explanation for the destructions of the LM
IB, while S. Marinatos (1939) combined the natural catastrophe theme with the
Mykenaean invasion theme in his Volcanic Destruction hypothesis. This latter
hypothesis has been thoroughly discredited by radiocarbon and other dating
techniques that demonstrate a period of at least a century between the eruption of the
Thfra volcano and the LM IB destructions. Minoan pottery found in the destruction
level at Akrotfri on Thfra dates to the LM IA, disproof of the hypothesis without any
need for other chronometric techniques. The earthquake hypothesis is also largely
discredited. The destructions are far
normal earthquake activity, but more
too widespread to have been the result of
important, they are far too selective. Fiery
destructions seem to have targeted mainly buildings with administrative functions,
often leaving nearby non-elite houses
undisturbed (Rehak and Younger 1994:148-
149). The Knossos palace, however, survived and was repaired, though
administrative buildings thought to be within its territory, such as those at Arhanes,
were destroyed. This leaves warfare as the most likely explanation. Whether this
warfare was endemic or a Mykenaearj import is still debated. However, it is not
certain that the LM IB destructions were exactly contemporary. If they were, an
invasion hypothesis would be supported. But given that they are not, intermittent

internal conflict is a more parsimonioi s explanation. The possibility that the LM IB
may have been disturbed by frequent internecine warfare cannot be discounted, and
is supported by the fact that evidence of similar destructions throughout the
Neopalatial has been noted (Rehak and Younger 1994:149). Though many scenarios
have been offered, some with, some without Mykenaeans, even an intriguing
Marxian interpretation of class struggle, it is becoming increasingly clear that the
golden age of Minoan Crete was an age tarnished by violent conflict.
After the LM IB came a brief phase poor in materials, and some important
changes from the Neopalatial. The Late Minoan II was a period of drastic reduction
in settlements and population for Crete, representing the aftermath of the LM IB
destructions. This phase was the beginning of the Final Palatial (LM II LM IIIB
early), a time when the administrative centers of the Neopalatial period were
abandoned, with the exception of Knossos and the western site of Hania (Rehak and
Younger 1998:149). The continuation of these two regional centers is noteworthy,
considering the substantial evidence in this phase and especially in LM IIIA B for
Mykenaean influence on Crete. The earlier trade connection between western Crete
and the Peloponnese, where the first Mykenaean palaces arose, was undoubtedly
related to the continuation of Hania
continued beyond the Aegean itself,
in the Final Palatial. This westward shift
with the appearance of Italian pottery and
evidence for a metal trade with Sardinia (Rehak and Younger 1998:163). The fact
that Knossos was still used, and in fact was the major administrative center of the
island during this time, suggests that whatever the alteration of Minoan material

period that a new script came into use.
culture toward Mykenaean styles may have meant, the regime that controlled at least
northern Crete found it expedient to retain this center rather than destroy it.
The nature of Mykenaean influence in the Final Palatial is one of the most
debated subjects in the history of Crete. The possibilities are many, including the
invasion hypothesis mentioned above. It is in the Final Palatial that written
documents become a true focus of study for scholars of the region, since it is in this
, Linear B, which has been translated. Michael
Ventris translated Linear B in the 1950s as an early form of Greek (Chadwick
1976:ix-x). Linear B documents occur at this time both on Crete and in Mainland
palatial centers, mainly recording financial transactions and distributions of goods.
This combined with many other aspects of Mainland material culture demonstrate that
the Mykenaean culture replaced the Minoan in domination of the Aegean. Though
Minoan pottery was still exported to Cyprus, Syria and Egypt, it was vastly
outweighed by Late Helladic wares. Additionally, many prestige goods of Minoan
manufacture found their way back to the Mainland to be deposited in elite graves
there. This fact has suggested that these objects, and the craftsmen who made them,
were the spoils of war. However, other mechanisms could explain their movement,
as well as the movement of peoples from the mainland to Crete.
Final Palatial settlement patterns include some interesting changes. The most
of the Minoan villa. In the case of the most
ding built over its ruins in LM IIIA1 has a
obvious of these is the abandonment
famous of these, Ayia Triada, a bui
megaron, a purely Mykenaean architectural feature. This demonstrates that the
settlement remained important to the
inal Palatial administration, though whatever

institution was represented by the villa was not considered worth rebuilding. Other
architectural features mark Mykenaean presence in sites throughout the island,
including poorly constructed rubble walls and the predominance of single-story
buildings, characteristic of Mykenaean but not Minoan architecture. Many regional
centers of the Neopalatial continued to function as habitation sites, though some were
abandoned permanently. Depopulation in the LM II is evident, and seems to have
been more extreme in eastern Crete. LM IHA shows some recovery, but population
remains low compared to the Protopalatial and Neopalatial periods.
A radical change in burial evidence and religion also occurs at this time.
Where few cemeteries have been found with signs of Neopalatial use, cemeteries of
the Final Palatial are common. Many of the tombs contain suites of bronze vessels
that characterize Mykenaean burials on the mainland, and characteristic Warrior
Graves appear at this time. It is possible that Mykenaean immigrants and native
Minoans were buried in separate locations, as three cemeteries in the Knossos area
contain these features, while the Mavro Spelio cemetery that was in use in the
Neopalatial continued to be used into the Final Palatial (Rehak and Younger
1998:152). The sudden reappearaLce of cemeteries, paralleled by the near
disappearance of peak sanctuaries and other earlier Neo- and Protopalatial religious
objects and institutions has suggested to some that there was a rejection of the
Early Minoan religious practices (Rehak and
house and town shrines continue to be used,
Neopalatial state cult and a return to
Younger 1998:164). Although small
much of the evidence for religion comes from funerary cult. Many presumably
religious symbols of the Neopalatial or earlier dwindle or cease to be used entirely.

Another change in religion is the first evidence for bull sacrifice, associated with the
appearance of minotaurs on sealstones of the period. Rehak and Younger
(1998:165) suggest that the administrators of Crete at this time felt it necessary to
associate themselves with the Neopalatial past, with its bull iconography. However,
considering the role of the Minotaur in later Greek legend as a horrible monster that
devoured Greek youths, this sacrifice and iconography could easily represent a
reminder of a tyrannical Neopalatial past and a warning to the native people by a
largely foreign elite (in other words, Mykenaean propaganda). The return to
emphasis on funerary cult may be seen as a return to religious practices that predate
the Neopalatial administration. However, this does not preclude the possibility that
religion at this time may have been manipulated by the elite classes as in the past.
The use of religion to support an elite may not have changed, only the specific
messages and icons used to convey them.
The administrative centers at both Knossos and Hania ceased to function by
LM MB. The palace at Knossos finally collapsed, never to be rebuilt again, in LM
IIIB1-2 (Rehak and Younger 1998:150), though literacy continued at Hania, which
may have been destroyed in LM IIIB, presumably after the final destruction of
Knossos. This is where the palatial phenomenon of Bronze Age Crete ended,
though palatial administrations continued on the mainland until LH IHC (Rehak and
Younger 1998:149). This last destruction could be interpreted to be the Mykenaean
elimination of the last vestiges of a (heavily Mykenaeanized) Minoan elite, or as a
symptom of the fall of Mykenaean
control in the Aegean (Rehak and Younger
1998:160), depending on how we wish to characterize the nature of Mykenaean

influence on Crete following the LM IB destructions. While scholars often think of
the Postpalatial as an impoverished period, referring to the inhabitants of Crete as
squatters or refugees, this time may h ave been one of the most peaceful periods in
Crete's Bronze Age (Rehak and Younger 1998:160-161). The period did continue
the Final Palatial trend toward shrinking population, and there was a trend toward
abandoning settlements near the coasts and founding new settlements at high
elevations, many of which were fortified (Rehak and Younger 1998:166). Many of
these sites are in high areas overlooking mountain passes. This trend could indicate
piracy, a perennial problem of the region whenever strong central authorities are
lacking (Renfrew and Wagstaff 1982:259). However, many of the new foundations
of the Postpalatial are actually reoccupations of sites that had been inhabited in the
Neolithic and Prepalatial (Rehak and lounger 1998:162-163). An interesting feature
of this period is the existence of paired villages (Rehak and Younger 1998:168), in
which a village set in pasturage can be found within a short walk of another village
within the altitudinal zone of the olivej. This suggests the possibility that choices of
settlement locations may have been influenced by subsistence factors similar to those
that influenced the original foundations of these villages in earlier periods.
Many of the trends of the Final Palatial continued into the Postpalatial, while
some new ones appeared, though documentation is hindered by the vagueness with
which the period is defined, at both ends. The disappearance of literacy seems to
have been the defining feature, and the abandonment of the Knossos palace. Hania
continued to be occupied and had an important pottery workshop, its products found
all over Crete, though it was not exported to Crete's trading partners (Rehak and

Younger 1998:170-171). The importation of Italian pottery continued, and some
locally manufactured pots are of Italian styles. Elite goods of previous periods were
no longer manufactured, though some seem to have been kept as heirlooms and
deposited in tombs or in ritual contexts, or were looted from earlier tombs. Ruined
shrines from the past were visited and votive offerings were left, and there was a
resurgence of interest in peak and cave sanctuaries, after virtual abandonment in the
Final Palatial (Rehak and Younger 1998:171). This LM III interest in peak
sanctuaries, including habitation at or near them, is part of why the date of the
peribolos wall at Youktas is uncertain. It could equally represent Neopalatial
investment in monumetality or a Postpalatial defensive structure. The end of this
period is generally dated to 1000 or 975 BC, in a phase called the Sub-Minoan, after
which begins the Protogeometric Period of the Iron Age and the Dark Age that
preceded the reintroduction of literacy leading to the Classical period. While the
Minoans are generally thought to have been unrelated to the Helladic cultures that are
the ancestors of the Greeks, after the Bronze Age there is no longer a strong
distinction between the peoples of Crete and the rest of Greek culture. Some
observed differences in the Classical and later periods have been called vestiges of
Crete's Minoan past. Nonetheless, the unique civilization of Crete's Bronze Age
ceased to exist around this time.
2.4 Conclusion
To summarize, the long history of Bronze Age Crete shows a development
from small egalitarian communities in the EM to a network of small states in the
palatial periods, with a possible return
to a smaller scale of social organization at the

end of the period. Many of the phases within this period of time were punctuated by
violent conflict. Whether internal or external in origin, or both, these periods of
conflict seem to have had repercussions for later periods. Thus the troubled times of
the EM III heralded the rise of complex social organization in the MM I, Such
conflict may not have been the sole impetus to changes in social complexity, but
undoubtedly had consequences for thej nature of those changes. The Protopalatial
period was the time of Cretes greatest Bronze Age population growth. The
Neopalatial period that followed was a continuation of many of the trends of the
Protopalatial, with some developments of its own. While population growth
continued at a slower rate in the Neopalatial, overseas trade grew to vast proportions
compared to the past. But the Neopalatial was also a period of decline for state-level
complexity on Crete. The reasons
Neopalatial habitations show evidence
for this decline are hotly debated. Most
of violent destruction throughout the period.
By the end of the period Crete seems to have lost its autonomy to their Mykenaean
neighbors. The Final Palatial period shows many signs of Mykenaean culture and
control. The end of this period was marked by the final abandonment of the
Knossos palace and a movement of population from the coasts to the mountains.
This last, Postpalatial phase of the Bronze Age was a time of small, possibly
egalitarian, communities, much like the beginning of the Bronze Age.
In the next chapter theories and concepts are examined that can be used to
explain some of the changes seen here. This chapter sets the stage for the fourth
chapter, in which the history of Crete in the Protopalatial and Neopalatial phases is
modeled from the perspective of recent
theories in anthropological archaeology, and

older models are discussed. Changes
in settlement pattern, religious practices, trade,
and architecture, and the implications these may have for social organization and
complexity on the island are examined.

3. Theoretical Integration
In this chapter some recent theories are examined that relate to (or can relate
to) change in complex systems. The theories discussed are scalar stress, heterarchy,
Peer Polity Interaction, and the Dual Processual Theory. These are treated here as
general concepts rather than totalizing theories. In some cases (heterarchy, the Dual
Processual Theory) these ideas are ^expanded beyond what is currently in the
literature, or discussed for ramifications not mentioned by current scholars. Scalar
stress and Peer Polity Interaction have been in use for the past two decades, while the
Dual Processual Theory was proposed in 1996, and the concept of heterarchy has
only very recently attracted attention in prchaeological discourse. These concepts are
applied in Chapter 4 to model social and political change in Minoan Crete.
3.1 A Conceptual Approach
The notion of a conceptual approach presented in Chapter 1 forms the
foundation for the following discussion of theoretical concepts that will be applied in
the interpretation of the Cretan archaeological record. Such a conceptual approach
will be necessarily eclectic, since it would not be possible to review all concepts, or
even all recent concepts, which could
be applied to this archaeological case. The
same is true for the epistemic underpinnings of these or any concepts employed in the
social sciences. Although this project is not intended to be an essay on positivism,
paradigms or epistemology, these are subjects that deserve treatment in any lengthy
work of theory. The standard practice of leaving these subjects unbroached assumes

that the reader will understand and share the writer's epistemic assumptions, or will
understand, disagree, and reject the study in toto. The alternative, to make an explicit
statement, provides the reader with greater insight into the study, as well as the
assumptions and biases of the author(s). This approach is worthwhile as long as it
remains brief in comparison to the actual study at hand.
In years of studying this region, the author has not encountered many
statements of epistemology published in the literature. Recent synthetic works, such
as Dickinson's The Aegean Bronze Age (1994a) or Castelden's The Minoans
(1993), do not discuss theoretical viewpoints, paradigms or epistemologies, though
the subject has come up in passing on occasion on the AegeaNet e-mail discussion
list for Aegean archaeologists, and J. Weingarten (personal communication) has
commented that we are all supposed 10 be postmodernists now. This demonstrates
some awareness of epistemological issues, but the general silence in publications
suggests that this is an issue that needs to be discussed. To set an example, the issue
is discussed briefly here. To begin
with, this author takes a negativistic (though
somewhat eclectic) view of knowledge and its construction. Postmodern or
Postprocessual issues are addressed,
extremes of some postmodernist scho]
but it is unnecessary to go to the relativistic
ars (see Van Pool and Van Pool 1999), as long
as the provisional nature of interpretations is accepted. Van Pool and Van Pool
(1999:34) describe how the division in archaeology between processual and
postprocessual approaches is a false dichotomy, because it is based on a
misconception of the nature of science. This has resulted in a number of mutually
antagonistic camps in the discipline, and their debates have tended to polarize

positions. A similar issue not discussed by these authors is what I feel to be a false
dichotomy between science and the humanities. As noted in Chapter 1, these
different camps often succumb to deterministic tendencies, perhaps a result of using
overly narrow definitions of critical terms. Culture, a key concept in anthropology,
has been subjected to numerous definitions designed to fit within certain paradigms,
and these differing definitions, rarely specified, have resulted in endless debates over
Rather than create yet another
vaguely defined and elaborate on anoth
definition of culture, let us leave this term
ler term that is often included in definitions of
culture. The infrastructural paradigms of past decades, Processualism in archaeology
and Cultural Materialism (among oth'ers) in cultural anthropology, have defined
culture as a means of adaptation to an environment (see, for instance, Binford
1962:22). Provisionally accepting the idea that culture can serve as an adaptive
mechanism (though not only as an adaptive mechanism), it is the idea of environment
that will be redefined. Infrastructural paradigms tend to see environment as the
natural environment, as that word is typically used in biology. This would include
climate, geomorphology, surrounding floral and faunal communities, and exploitable
natural resources. Natural environment also typically includes human demographics,
based on the Malthusian assumption that human population growth is 'natural' and
uncontrolled by human agency. This is an ironic assumption for anthropologists to
make, since it is anthropology that
mechanisms around the world (Harris
has uncovered human population control
991:90-91). It is only reasonable to assume
that this kind of environment would place certain restraints on the possibilities for

human action, just as it does for plant and animal species. But humans are capable of
adapting aspects of their natural environment to suit their own needs and desires, to
some extent. They also create other kinds of environments associated with social
behavior, environments that can be as meaningful as natural environment or more.
Many anthropologists in the past few decades have come to question the importance
of the natural environment in directing human social change. Curet (1993:15), for
instance, examined population and carrying capacity for prehistoric Puerto Rico, and
found that changes in social stratification were unrelated to the population/resource
imbalances that infrastructural determinists claim to be the driving forces behind
culture change. Likewise Clarke and Blake (1994:23) show that population growth
in the Mazatan region of Pacific coastal Mexico was a result of changes in social
complexity, not vice versa. Thus limiting the concept of environment to those
elements typically studied by Proccessi alists and Cultural Materialists helps to create
an image of human social behavior that fails to account for many important changes.
There is another consequence of this tendency to place all causality in the
environment, and limit environment thus. This problem is encapsulated in a quote by
Conrad and Demarest:
Yet if human behavior is mechanically determined by external and ecological
processes, then it follows as |a rather discomforting corollary that social
science cannot serve to redirect] history or avoid previous errors. So, in a
sense, the return to models [including volition and ideology in cultural
evolution rescues us from deterministic fatalism. We can once again logically
entertain the possibility of a social role for the social scientist (1984:224).
This speaks to the issue of the role of (social science, and its meaning for societies
today as well as how social scientists view past and present societies. By limiting
j 59

level of infrastructure, institutional
environment, and therefore causation, to ecology, we lose the relevance of our
discipline and our work becomes triviajized.
Rather than limit the concept of environment, we could expand it,
heuristically, to match the interests of the three major paradigms in archaeology. We
would have natural environment to describe previously existing conditions at the
environment to describe conditions at the
structural level, and ideational environment to describe conditions at the
superstructural level. Naturally, naming these categories of environment does not
solve the problem of determinism, it only ties the three levels together with a unifying
concept. In other words, it is descriptive, not explanatory. It is necessary to accept
the possibility that elements of the environment at each of these levels can play a
necessary role in social change in any given case, and that these three levels are
interconnected. Thus separation is only heuristic, and as with all heuristic tools, may
be abandoned if it fails to serve its purpose. Although this sounds very functionalist,
it can be a starting point for seeking Common ground between opposing camps in
archaeology. These terms are used to discuss changes in Bronze Age Crete.
3.2 Hierarchies, Heterarchies and Social Complexity
A concept that is fairly new and has been receiving some attention in recent
years is the idea of heterarchy. Heterarchy was first applied to archaeology by
Carole Crumley in 1979 as a foil to our emphasis on social hierarchies, but it is only
very recently that it has begun to get some of the attention it deserves. In fact, it is
now becoming a somewhat fashionable concept, but that fact neither makes it
especially deserving of attention nor provides a reason to disdain it. George Cowgill

warned against the overuse of this concept in a recent conference of the Society for
American Archaeology (Cowgill 1998). While keeping in mind the Law of the
Hammer, hierarchy is the very foundational concept of social complexity. Thus it
would seem that failure to consider heterarchy in discussing social complexity would
be more of a problem than the possibility of its misapplication.
Heterarchy is a different way to look at social organization, and by
implication also social complexity. We tend to see complex social organization as a
matter of hierarchy, or its absence. This notion, of structured ranking, is built into
Service's (1962) taxonomy of social systems, from the relatively unranked band
level to the rigidly hierarchical state level. Though there is more to Services
taxonomy than concepts of ranking, this notion is so pervasive in the Western
societies of today it is taken for granted, and is a major subject of investigation in
anthropology and archaeology. "To date, the almost unconscious assumption of
hierarchy-as-order remains unexamined among social scientists, especially in the area
of complex society" (Crumley 1995:3). The fact of its pervasiveness in the social
sciences is a result of a Western bias, j Archaeologists and other social scientists are
mostly products of extremely hierarchibal societies, so we tend to see hierarchies in
most places. We also may be treating egalitarian societies as an undifferentiated mass
due to our inherent focus on hierarchy. Heterarchy is intended to challenge this
insidious assumption. It does this jby focusing on lateral rather than vertical
differentiation in social organization. Iiji a way this may seem like nothing new, since
our usual notion of hierarchy, the conical or dendritic hierarchy, includes units of
organization which are related laterally, though these are ultimately controlled by
! 61

higher ranked units, the highest of which has no lateral peers. But heterarchy is
more than just the lateral relationships between members of a hierarchy. Heterarchy
is an exercise in seeking out other organizing principles. As such, it may become
necessary to redefine social complexity (Crumley 1987) as heterarchy becomes more
apparent in human social organization; since social complexity is currently defined
with respect to hierarchy. j
Crumley does not consider heterarchy to be inimical to hierarchy, but to
coexist with hierarchy (1979:145). While several of the proponents of heterarchy
treat it as a direct challenge to Serlice's taxonomy, Brumfiel (1995) sees the
relationship between them differently, j If hierarchy can coexist with heterarchy (and
vice versa), and hierarchy is the foundation of the bands-tribes-chiefdoms-states
scheme, then heterarchy represents an expansion, rather than a challenge, to the
taxonomy. Brumfiel calls heterarchy an organizing principle (1995:127), and states
that the conventional taxonomy should not be replaced by heterarchy. However,
hierarchy is also an organizing principle, and the fact that it has been chosen as the
foundation of our general taxonomy |of human societies only betrays our own
preoccupation with hierarchy. It is difficult to conceive of how to work without a
general taxonomy of societies, and to some extent Service's taxonomy may still be
heuristic. However, the unilineal character of this taxonomy will have to be dealt
with if it is to be retained, as Yoffee suggests with his multilineal evolutionary
trajectories (Yoffee 1993:71-72 and Fig. 6.6). Heterarchy could either be the idea
that expands the taxonomy and extends its use life as an analytical concept, or the
concept that buries it forever in the halls of antiquated notions. But heterarchy is too

new and undeveloped a concept at this time to fill either role. It is a subject worthy
of a substantial synthetic treatment,
which can probably only be done after the
concept has been used and tweaked for a number of years and in many different case
studies. Heterarchy is a fluid concept that allows us to see organization in different
forms than the traditional conical hierarchies we are accustomed to. Since this is a
very new concept and has yet to be applied extensively in an ethnographic or
ethnoarchaeological context, at present it is difficult to examine in purely
archaeological cases. Here it is discussed mainly by examining the logic of the
concept, divorced from any actual case studies. The hazard of such an approach is
that it is possible to conceive of situations that have never existed, or to fail to
conceive of situations that have existed. However, the cognicizing phase is probably
a normal part of the development of any theoretical construction. By giving names to
vaguely defined notions within the concept of heterarchy, we create a context for
future study and elaboration. While heterarchy can be applied to the archaeological
record of any given area, until detailed studies invoking the concept are made of a
number of living societies, real details will not be forthcoming and hypotheses will
be eminently falsifiable. j
Examining the logic of heterarchy suggests at least four basic 'taxa,' if you
will, of heterarchies. The most familiar would be the conventional notion of
hierarchy, the conical hierarchy. In this kind of heterarchy, the one to which the
prefix /heter-/ least applies, control is ja matter of ranking, in which the number of
individuals who hold a rank diminishes as control functions increase. Normally this
would terminate in a single governing body or individual, whose control functions

are all-inclusive. Parallel hierarchy is another form of heterarchy, and is illustrated
by Wailes' (1995) study of Early Medieval Ireland. In this case, society contains
several social hierarchies that concern different aspects of society or different groups
of people. In the case of Ireland, four parallel occupational hierarchies existed, in
which members of different hierarchies of equivalent rank had control over only the
occupation to which they belonged, but in legal terms were social equivalents. Thus
a ranking member of the military hierarchy had no direct control over lower-ranked
members of the legal hierarchy, but in a dispute between that individual and an
equally-ranked member of the legal hierarchy they would be considered equals before
the law. Another form of heterarchyj is situational ranking, which I refer to as
ambihierarchy, in which rank is impermanent and context-specific. A fourth type of
heterarchy is a situation in which individuals are unranked with respect to one
another, which we shall refer to as ahierarchy.
To use the concept of heterarchy, it must be kept in mind that control is
relative to a subject. In other words, we can speak of control heterarchies of, say,
craft production or political functions, father than control heterarchies of a society in
its totality. While in theory a monarchy is exactly that, it would be difficult to
conceive of a case in which social elites
truly controlled all aspects of the lives of the
citizenry. Some heterarchical systems may encompass all members of a society, for
instance a gender heterarchy, but the degree of autonomy, or more appropriately the
contexts of autonomy, need to be specified. Even when examining a control system
that encompasses all members of the society in question, it is important to specify, or
attempt to specify, exactly what is being controlled. Obviously this is a difficult task

to do in an archaeological context. Also there is the problem of separating actual
authority from social expectation, and consequences for contrary behavior in either
case. There are many factors to consider, but the whole point of the heterarchy
concept is to move away from the oversimplifications inherent in hierarchical
thinking. This does not mean the notion of hierarchy should be rejected, in Potter
and King's words hierarchy is "... an overgeneralization that may persist because it
possesses a germ of truth (1995:18)j
These ideas could be of great value to understanding many human social
systems. Application to archaeological material, however, is fraught with problems.
It is often difficult enough to draw the line between ascribed and achieved status
based on archaeological data. How much more difficult would it be to find more
complex relationships? Wailes (1995:65-68) comments pessimistically that the
parallel hierarchies he proposes for Early Medieval Ireland could not have been
hypothesized without the legal documents and other written sources he referred to.
He suggests that without such documentation, heterarchy would be an extremely
difficult thing to find in the archaeological record. This has not stopped others from
using the concept in archaeological contexts. Brumfiel points to two major needs to
develop the idea (1995:127). The first of these is greater terminological precision,
which is the intention of the preceding! discussion. "Second, more attention needs to
be paid to the structural contexts in which heterarchy (in its various forms) develops
(Brumfiel 1995:127). With Wailes' caveats in mind, it is suggested that
ethnographic and/or ethnohistoric studies could provide such details that are more
difficult to detect archaeologically. Considering the importance of heterarchy, it

would nonetheless be unwise for archaeologists to fail to consider it in treatments of
issues of status and control. Thus this concept is employed in the model of change
from Protopalatial to Neopalatial Crete.
As a final note on heterarchy, it is possible that the concept can have broader
epistemic implications, in addition to its usefulness in describing relationships of
power among living or extinct societies. The way in which paradigms in
anthropology differentially weigh the three levels of analysis (infrastructure,
structure, and superstructure), is clearly a hierarchical arrangement, specifically what
Crumley (1995:2) calls a control hierarchy. If we can see non-hierarchical order in
past and present societies, it would not be too much of a leap to envision non-
hierarchical order in our paradigms of explanation. Here it is suggested that the
discussion that opened this chapter can be understood in terms of heterarchy. The
relationship between infrastructure, structure, and superstructure can be seen as a
case of ambihierarchy. Which of these three levels of analysis is most important, or
most important to a specific research question, will depend on context and specific
mechanisms in specific cases. Thus the jconceptual approach used here can be seen
as a heterarchy (ambihierarchy) of structural relationships. So the heterarchy concept
can not only help us to understand our| traditional subjects of study, it can help us
understand our own methods of explanation.
3.3 Beneath and Beyond Peer Polity Interaction
An important anthropological/archaeological model that has been applied to
Minoan Crete falls under the heading of Peer Polity Interaction. It is generally
thought of as a model for the rise of civilization, but is more broadly a model for the

transformation of social complexity.! This model was originally popularized by
Flannery (1967) as a way of explaining the broad similarities observed between
several areas of Mesoamerica, focusing specifically on the Olmec and the Valley of
Oaxaca. However, the concept, and the name with it, has been in the literature for
some time and has come to mean different things to different people. Thus the
application of Peer Polity Interaction (henceforth referred to as PPI) set out by
Renfrew and Cherry (1986) is very different from Flannery's model, though the
similarities are fundamental enough toj make the relationship more than superficial.
What they share in common is an interest in scale of analysis. But in the model set
out by Renfrew and applied by Cherry, aspects of Flannery's model were left out,
some to the benefit, some to the detriment, of the analysis.
Flannery's model for PPI was an attempt to explain some very important
similarities, what Renfrew called homologies (1986:4-5), between two cultures. As
such, it speaks to the general need to explain observed similarities in the
archaeological record, or even in the world of today. The foundation of the model
was the ethnographic observation that in many traditional societies around the world,
places that are very far away are often associated with cosmologically defined places,
especially places associated with ancestors and/or powerful divine entities. Elites
within societies in which geographic distance is related to cosmological distance often
acquire items, either manufactured goods or rare natural materials, which they use to
legitimate their own authority within their communities. If this sort of political
legitimation is common between regions, it sets up a pattern of small polities
exchanging prestige goods acquired from outside the region among themselves

which, due to competitive emulatiojn, become increasingly similar in form and
conception. This model contains an element of the ideational environment, which is
manipulated in the context of the institutional environment. However, Flannery,
writing at a time when the prevailing paradigm in archaeology was Cultural Ecology,
ultimately made a tenuous connection between this mechanism and a role in
subsistence distribution. This connection is unsurprising in the context of the late
1960s academic ideational environment, but is presented as a given rather than tested
in any sense. j
In Renfrew's version of PPI, the infrastructure connection made by Flannery
was not presented as necessary, allowing the model wider applicability. Here
Renfrew concentrated on the scale of| analysis, and offered PPI as an alternative to
the nebulous pre-Binfordian notions of influence and diffusion that dominated
archaeological thought in the culture-history stage. In addition to de-emphasizing the
'functional' aspect of PPI, he also de-emphasized the very ethnographic foundation
of the model, denigrating the mechanism thus:
Who impresses whom, and how, and what effect does that have upon
the future actions of both? That question has already been ...
answered in a rather simplistic way ... where, for instance it has been
hypothesized that petty chieftains have used imported manufactured
goods to amaze the rural populace and thereby enhance their own
status. (Renfrew 1986:18) J
Renfrew's approach to PPI as a regional phenomenon shows development that is not
internal to a single polity, nor a result of influence from a pristine state. Renfrew
postulates an interaction between political units of roughly equal stature. These units
interact with each other, "... pulling |each other up by the bootstraps, as it were

(Renfrew 1986:11). In essence, this is the same as Flannery's version, in terms of
scale and the relationships between interacting polities, though Renfrew's version
does not deal directly with the notion of long-distance acquisition. For Renfrew, and
thus also Cherry, the critical interaction is between adjacent or geographically very
near political units. On page 7 of his introduction to the volume on PPI, Renfrew
shows a diagram of interacting peer polities, with arrows representing more distant
interactions. The caption for this diagram reads: "Fig. 1.5. Peer polity interaction.
Strong interactions between the autonomous socio-political units within the region
are of greater significance than external links with other areas." While this is
undoubtedly true, the ethnographic foundation of the long-distance acquisition of
prestige goods that formed the foundation of Flannery's PPI shows that this aspect
may be a necessary component of those local interactions between peer polities.
Renfrew gave three mechanisms whereby this interaction could take place,
and these are worth examination. Warfare is the first, in that if it is sufficiently
prolonged, it will intensify production to beyond subsistence level, necessitating the
rise of a class of administrators to oversee the production and distribution of any
surplus. It is not specified how this mechanism might result in the broad homologies
observed in the material records of Mesoamerica, Minoan Crete, or anywhere else,
for that matter, but it is assumed to play a role in the transformation of social
complexity. A second mechanism is competitive emulation, which is (ironically) a
general expression of the specific mechanism outlined by Flannery. Competitive
emulation can come in many forms, potlatching being an ethnographically familiar
one, and can take place at many scales, from the individual up to the region or macro-

region (Renfrew 1986:8). Renfrew gives the example of the archaeologically visible
form of monumental construction. That is, if prestige is accorded to a polity for
building a monument of some type, neighboring polities will build similar
monuments, perhaps larger or more ielaborate ones, to bring themselves equal or
greater prestige. This kind of competition for reputation also results in intensification
beyond subsistence level, as well as j possibly explaining specific homologies. A
third mechanism described by Renfrew, called symbolic entrainment, is not
competitive in nature like the other two. "This process entails the tendency for a
developed symbolic system to be adopted when it comes into contact with a less-
developed one with which it does not! strikingly conflict (Renfrew 1986:8). This
can include symbolic systems or institutions of leadership, though exactly how to
define a 'developed' symbolic system in relation to any other is not specified. The
concept seems to be value-laden from the outset, unless some objective criteria can be
found to answer this question. Note; that these mechanisms can explain specific
homologies and/or changes in social complexity resulting from economic
intensification, but the existence of these mechanisms requires explanation. With
these three mechanisms of intensification, Renfrew's PPI was applied to the rise of
state-level complexity in Minoan Crete! by his colleague, John F. Cherry.
A focus of the study is the definition of early state modules (ESMs), the peer
polities of PPI. This has been done based on geographic techniques stemming from
Central Place Theory, such as the application of hexagonal grids. However, there
are some problems with these geographic techniques. One is that they are based on a
number of assumptions tied to modern exchange systems, which are of doubtful

applicability to past societies. But the most severe limitation of geographical
techniques, a limitation recognized by Cherry (1986:24), is that they are
geographical. That is, they deal with space without reference to time. Since change
through time is the bread and butter of archaeology, a synchronic picture created by
hexagonal grids or other, similar techniques will inevitably be inadequate. Doubtless
the boundaries, alliances and fortunes of any ESMs which existed at the beginning of
the Protopalatial will have changed inj the following 500 years, likely on numerous
occasions and in many different ways. This makes the very definition of peer
polities in any particular instance very uncertain, which makes it difficult to examine
relationships between them. Likewise attempts to define ESMs based on artifact
distributions founder on the reef of equifinality. Many different processes could
have brought, for instance, Knossian Marine Style pottery to the tiny harbor of
Pseira. The presence of very specific! elite items does not necessarily mean that the
find site was incorporated into the producing center's political territory. With these
problems in mind, it may be more practical to examine the effects of PPI and related
phenomena at the regional level, rather than attempting to examine narrowly defined
polities and their interactions with each other. While that approach would be
revealing, the quality of both available data for the region in question and the
limitations of current theory and methods, especially regarding solutions to the
problem of equifinality, make such an approach extremely difficult.
Cherry's application of PPI was meant to explain the rise of civilization in
Crete, which is not the subject of this| study. However, the concepts used in the
analysis may have some uses, and some consequences, which will come into play

later. Considering the differences and 'similarities between Renfrew's and Flannery's
! '
use of the term PPI, it might be useful to examine the ethnographic observations that
the theory originated in. A good work 'pn the subject of recent date, one that contains
some useful concepts, is Mary Helms' Craft and the Kingly Ideal (1993). This book
deals mainly with competitive emulation in the ethnographic record, building on
earlier work on the subject. It is worth mentioning that there is a whole literature
devoted to the subject of the application of cross-cultural comparison, as well as the
direct comparative method, to archaeological explanation.
Helms' study begins by explaining the relationship between craftsmanship
and cosmology in many traditional societies around the world. That is, she sees a
relationship between material goods j and the ideational environment. The
supernatural, to include both ancestors and supernatural entities of non-human
origin, are often thought to reside in a place, they are located through a geographical
metaphor, such as the land of the dead, the Elysian Fields, the Happy Hunting
Grounds, etc. (Helms 1993:3). These supernatural places can be metaphorically
associated with actual, geographic locations that are distant from the territory of the
referent culture. A consequence of this association is that exotic objects that originate
in these distant places are associated with ancestors and/or divine entities, and by
following this logic, the possessors of such objects are thought to have divine favor
(Helms 1993:9). This divine favor amounts to legitimation of authority. Thus,
either by traveling to distant lands and; acquiring exotic goods or by patronizing
travelers to acquire such things for them, those who come to possess such goods
become community leaders. It would be!easy for modern people, accustomed to the

high-speed transportation and communication systems of the twentieth century, to
fail to understand this association. But in small-scale, pre-modern societies in which
long distance travel was both potentially dangerous and very time-consuming,
effectively removing people from other forms of productive labor such as subsistence
production, only small numbers of people would be likely to invest in this sort of
action (Helms 1993:37-43). This creates a means for status competition that can
often limit the number of people capable of participating.
For purposes of conceptualization it may be worthwhile to create a graphic
representation. Figure 3.1 is a simple template that can be used for any culture at any
given time. It is a simple set of concentric circles, in which the innermost circle
represents the geographical territory of the referent culture. The next ring represents
neighbors who are likely to be ethnically distinct but not having strongly supernatural
associations to the referent culture. The further out a cultural/geographic unit is
placed in the template, the more cosmological their associations in the eyes of the
referent culture. Naturally these rings are only ordinal in nature, the size of the ring
does not reflect actual distance, it only defines a category. The number of rings
necessary to represent the categories of distance behaviorally salient to the referent
culture, naturally, will vary. There could be as few as two representing peers in the
inner circle and the supernatural in the cjuter circle to a theoretically infinite number,
depending on how many different cultures the referent culture communicates with
and how elaborately they distinguish them from each other.

1 - The familiar, the heartland i
2 - Neighbors, enemies ;
3 - The distant but human
4 - The vastly distant/supematural
Figure 3.1: Geo/cosmographical template.
But long-distance acquisition is not the only materialist form of legitimation
of political authority in these traditional societies. Helms also points to the
importance of local craft production. The production of especially fine material
goods is often thought to reflect divide favor, as when craftsmen's tools are
anthropomorphized and given partial credit as sapient entities connected with the
supernatural in the production of especially fine goods (Helms 1993:21-22, 30).

Naturally there is a gulf between ordinary craft production, the economic creation of
goods for ordinary household needs, and elite crafts centered around the creation of
prestige goods (Helms 1993:14). Whether specialists are full-time or part-time is
almost irrelevant to the analysis. What is important is the meaning of what they
produce not the economic value of tlieir work, but the social and political value of
their work (Helms 1993:15-17). Not only are finely crafted prestige goods
considered to be evidence of divine, favor, they are also connected to both the
aesthetic and moral identities of their creators and possessors (Helms 1993:67). For
instance, elites in some African cultures who do not dance well (taking dance as a
skilled craft) are not taken seriously by 'their people as leaders, since their inability to
dance is connected to moral lassitude i and therefore unworthiness to lead (Helms
1993:67-68). Because skillfully produced craft goods become symbols, there is a
difficulty here for archaeologists. That is, because symbols are arbitrary by nature,
their meaning is difficult, if not impossible, to understand where there are no living
users of the symbol system to explain them. Though meaning is not always needed
to understand function, in this case function is meaning. Thus even the identification
of prestige goods in an archaeological context is problematic. Typically we make
judgements based on context of distribution, materials, labor investment and
subjective assessments of quality to determine what are the prestige goods of an
archaeologically identified culture. While the problems with this method are obvious
(e.g. that we will miss items of symbolic importance because they do not resemble
our own notions of value), at present there may be no way around this problem.
Ethnographic analogy or direct historical comparison can help, but do not offer

certainty. This introduces a factor of uncertainty into any analysis involving prestige
goods in archaeological studies. However, in order to make any analysis at all, we
shall have to live with this uncertainty until such time as techniques are found for
reliably identifying prestige goods. !
Helms relates both craft production and long-distance acquisition to each
other, as complementary strategies of legitimation through their associations with
ancestors and other supernatural forces (Helms 1993:32-36). These two strategies
are directly related to two elements of the ideational environment, resulting from the
metaphor of geographic and cosmological distance. She writes of a continuum of
orientations regarding this concept; orientation toward a vertical axis mundi, which
focuses on cosmological centers located in physically unapproachable, mythical
spaces such as the heavens or the lands !of the dead beneath the earth, and orientation
toward a horizontal axis mundi, which relates cosmological centers with distant
geographical locations (Helms 1993:174-175). These different orientations are a
continuum, and in most societies elements of both orientations will coexist in the
ideational environment, but with varying intensities. This makes them elements of
the ideational environment that can be manipulated by actors within a culture,
especially for manipulation of power relationships, altering the institutional
environment. Although the focus of Helms' study is the legitimation of elite power,
she does point out that these orientations can be used by rising social classes, who
may create their own set of symbols to graft some measure of prestige to themselves
(Helms 1993:26). This dynamic of orientations also has the potential to be observed
in the archaeological record. The reason for this is due to the logical corollary of

each end of the continuum. A vertical orientation would naturally be associated with
local production of prestige goods, while a horizontal orientation would involve the
acquisition of prestige goods from outside the region of peer polities. Helms' study
is limited, as ethnographic works generally are, to the 'ethnographic present,' so it is
mainly synchronic. But here is a suggestion of what may be a diachronic process to
look for. If these two orientations 1 generally exist in many societies and are
manipulated by social actors, then social changes could be observed by tracking
shifts in a polity's or a region's emphasis on local manufacture and the importation of
prestige goods.
Note how these concepts can be!related to PPI. The first observation is that
the idea of long-distance acquisition is only part of the ethnographic picture. Helms
has little to say about the interactions between related social groups, the peer polities
of PPI, but it would be easy to imaging that competitive emulation between peers
must be centered around this continuum of orientations and the prestige goods it
results in. Here we should follow Helms and expand the usual conception of
prestige goods to include performance such as music and dance, monumental
architecture, and even city planning. Another observation is that, while Renfrew's
PPI focuses on the interactions between polities within a region, the connections
between these polities may differ depending on whether vertical or horizontal
orientation is predominantly expressed. One would expect that peer polities that
focus on a vertical orientation would create homologous elite craft industries.
Horizontally oriented peers, on the other Hand, might import a similar set of prestige
goods from the same center-out-there (to use Helms' term) or they might seek

legitimation in different centers-out-tbere. Renfrew's statement quoted above about
I '
the greater importance of connections Ibetween peers than between them and outside
cultures is more true if a vertical orientation is shared by the peers. But when a
horizontal orientation is an important part of the ideational environment, those outside
connections are critical. Nonetheless, the peers are the entities involved in
competitive emulation.
Some of the reason for this interest in peers as opposed to the influences of
outside cultures is a reaction to older paradigms of explanation used in the past. For
instance, the concept of pristine versus secondary states, in which states that arose
after others nearby are treated as unimportant, mere imitators of their more powerful
neighbors, is clearly biased in its emphasis on originators over users. Helms sees
World Systems Theory in much the same light (Helms 1993:204-206). Rather than
using a value-laden vocabulary, Helms prefers another pair of terms. But insofar as
these words are different both in conception and in name, this shift in vocabulary is
meaningful rather than mere academic posturing. Helms speaks of acquisitional
polities and superordinate centers, whichi could superficially be equated to peripheries
and cores. But the key difference is in the ideational aspect of the definition.
Superordinate centers are not, by definition, polities that exploit acquisitional polities,
though they may do this. Thus this is not the same as a core-periphery relationship.
Rather, superodinate centers are defined by horizontally oriented acquisitional polities
as centers-out-there, places associated with supernatural forces and political
legitimation for the elites of these polities. Superordinate centers are defined by
themselves by vertical orientation, in which the political center is viewed as the center

of the world, a cosmological center in 'itself. Historical examples include traditional
China. The elites of acquisitional polities surrounding China used their connections
with the Chinese emperor, the Son of Heaven, to legitimate their authority at home,
while the Son of Heaven used this relationship to legitimate his importance at home.
Where superordinate centers have mythological origins in cosmological space,
acquisitional polities contain a mythological origin in a geographical elsewhere,
viewing their own polities as reflections of some other, worldly place.
Superordination, thus, is not necessarily a relationship of power, though it can
become one. Many possibilities can be imagined. This paints a picture more
complicated than what is implied by PPI.
Another element of this dissatisfaction that informs Helms' treatment of these
concepts is the tendency to treat the adoption of aspects of one culture by another as
an imposition from outside, without reference to any active role of the adopting
culture. This is also an old issue, which has been addressed by concepts like
conspicuous consumption (see Philibert 1990). Helms describes, through her
association of a suite of ideational characteristics, how a society might willingly
borrow ideas from a powerful neighbor, and here the explanation is not directly tied
to political economy or the actions of elites. In discussing the relationship between
West African peoples and European colonizing powers, she points out that
Westerners appeared in Africa bearing exotic goods (the products of European
culture and technology) and speaking of ancestors and the supernatural (Christian
missionizing). If you consider the ideational environment of these traditional
societies, their contact with the West, from their viewpoint, was easily interpreted in

terms of their own cultural systems. Westerners came from far away, distances they
associated with their ancestors, bearing exotic goods that had a place in their own
prestige/legitimation system, and bringing knowledge of supernatural matters. It
would be unsurprising that horizontally oriented traditional societies would adopt
goods and ideas from the West, since they seemed to mesh with their own belief
systems on an important level. This explanation could be an example of symbolic
entrainment. Members of African societies, faced with Western colonial expansion,
adopted aspects of Western culture (both symbolic and material) that could be made
to match their own system, and that they could manipulate as alternate sources of
power within their own communities. This explanation serves to demonstrate that
assumptions about exploitation must be examined from all sides of the picture, not
simply taken for granted.
So by examining the ethnographic substrate of PPI, we have found further
concepts which expand on the theory as currently used by archaeologists. These
concepts are mainly dichotomies or continua. We have long distance acquisition
versus local craft production, horizontal versus vertical cosmological orientation, and
superordinate centers versus acquisitional .polities. It would be simplistic to arrange
these into two inclusive dichotomies, in which long-distance acquisition, horizontal
orientation and acquisitional polities together form one end of a continuum while
local craft production, vertical orientation and superordinate centers form the other
end. This would be a logical association, but remember that these concepts represent
strategies that elites within a polity can manipulate for their own legitimation. In any
case where there are several elites in competition within a polity, or even social

classes or other salient factions, competing factions can choose to use the same
strategies of legitimation, or they can seek other strategies. Thus a faction within one
polity may legitimate its authority through association with distantly acquired prestige
goods and thus cosmological centers-out-there, while another faction may associate
itself with centers-up-there by patronizing skilled crafting at home. This creates a
built-in dynamic for change, one that could even be called dialectical by those with
Hegelian or Marxian leanings. Though Helms sees these strategies as functional
equivalents, there would be different relationships implied by these different
strategies. A purely vertical emphasis would concentrate on internal relationships of
production and distribution, but a horizontal orientation involves a relationship with
outsiders for the purposes of exchange. Since exchange generally requires
reciprocation (unless such goods are taken as spoils of war), elites engaging in such
a strategy will have to patronize local production for the sake of creating an export to
exchange for their imports. Thus pursuit of a horizontal strategy may at times result
in greater intensification than a vertical strategy, due to the greater number of
relations of production and distribution involved.
Rather than taking PPI, or any expression that falls under the PPI label, and
applying it blindly, as it were, to any given region, it has been instructive to examine
the foundations of the concepts in cultural anthropology. Several useful concepts
have emerged from the analysis that could help develop a model of social change for
the region in question, or for other regions that share the characteristics of relatively
uniform, interrelated polities with homologous material cultures. Any region where a
city-state organization is observed would fall into this category. The reason PPI was

chosen is because, as Cherry (1986:20) relates, it is a particularly useful approach to
the prehistoric Aegean. But the concept has only been applied to one question, the
rise of state-level social organization. If we conclude that this mechanism played a
role in the growth of social stratification, it would follow that the institutions and
concepts related to PPI would become part of the institutional and ideational
environments of the cultures of Crete, and therefore play a role, though perhaps not
the same role, in later developments. But the theory itself, in its many guises, lacks
concepts that allow for the analysis of later changes, changes that may not involve
crossing from one taxa to another in Service's (1962) taxonomy of social
complexity. If we reject assumptions about homeostasis, it is possible to conceive of
changes related to the ideational aspects of PPI. Thus going beneath PPI, in a way,
to the ethnological data upon which it was based, has become an opportunity to use
the idea in a new way. In the model presented in Chapter 4 these ideas are combined
with ideas from Blanton et al.'s (1996) Dual Processual Theory to explain change, as
opposed to the homeostatic implications of Renfrew and Cherrys (1986) conception
of PPI.
3.4 Corporate and Network Strategies:
The Dual Processual Theory
A very recent theory proposed by four archaeologists that is becoming
popular is based on a dichotomous set of political strategies, much like the
dichotomies described by M^ry Helms. The Dual Processual Theory proposed by
Blanton et al. (1996) is based on a continuum of political legitimation strategies
which they call network or exclusionary (both terms are used interchangeably) and

corporate. These strategies can exist in any society at any time in different
relationships of strength to one another. Thus this is not a theory that is meant to
create a set of static types. The authors share with those who use the heterarchy
concept a disdain for the typologizing of so many other archaeologists, and caution
against seeing these two strategies as exclusionary and representative of static social
types. We emphasize that our dual scheme highlights major forms of political-
economic strategy and does not aim to develop a rigid social typology (Blanton et al.
1996:5). Because this theory introduces yet another dichotomy on a continuum that
can be used to examine societies, it may be more useful to approach this as a concept
rather than as a universal law.
The dichotomy here is between what they call the corporate and the network
strategy. The network (or exclusionary) strategy is a system of institutionalized
competitiveness between political elites based on exchange relationships. We adopt
the term network to characterize a political-economic pattern in which preeminence
is an outcome of individual-centered exchange relations established primarily outside
ones local group (Blanton et al. 1996:4). This characterization would seem to be
related to PPI and Helms idea of acquisitional polities. In fact, the authors recognize
an equation between their network strategy and PPI (Blanton et al. 1996:5). The
corporate strategy, on the other hand, stresses group values and the needs of the
community or corporate bodies, over individual needs (Blanton et al. 1996:5-6).
This does not, however, necessarily equate to what anthropologists traditionally call
egalitarianism. Rather, corporate strategies are seen as an important part of the
development of social complexity, since corporate strategies can transcend the scale

limitations of network strategies that prevent societies engaged in them from attaining
state-level organization (Blanton et al. 1996:5-6). Corporate systems of differing
scales also developed, but large-scale polities seem always to have been based on
some kind of corporate strategy (Blanton et al. 1996:3). In cases of large-scale
societies, corporate strategies can serve to maintain elaborate social hierarchies built
by earlier network strategies (Blanton et al. 1996:6), or heterarchies, though the
authors do not use this term. They do note, however, that their terms are broadly
similar to other terms used by other scholars of socio-political complexity, providing
a table to show the relationship between their terms and others (Blanton et al.
1996:Table 2, p.6). Thus this dichotomy is in a sense a refinement and expansion on
dichotomies already in the literature on social complexity and cultural evolution.
One of the most important aspects of the concepts contained in the Dual
Processual theory is the connection it incorporates between structure and
superstructure. Although it places the weight of social development on institutions,
these authors join Brumfiel (1992) in calling for a theory of behavior: ... but there is
no convincing theory of human behavior, especially the crucial behavior found in
political competition (Blanton et al. 1996:1). However, their theory of behavior is
very incomplete. In fact, it is only a theory of political behavior, and more
specifically the behavior of political elites. Missing are the consequences of such
behavior for a culture more broadly, and how other, non-elite members of a culture
may react to or constrain such political behavior. Although their interest in human
behavior is restricted to overt political expressions, they do draw a connection

between ideation and institution, which, makes the theory much more integrated than
other approaches which treat only one of the three levels of analysis.
For the network strategy they mention two cognitive codes that are
emphasized by social actors. One of these is patrimonial rhetoric, which includes
gender hierarchy and extended kinship systems, that serves the purpose of
mobilizing labor and controling material and reproductive resources (Blanton et al.
1996:5). The second is prestige-goods systems, which established political elites can
manipulate to reduce the number of households that can gain preeminence through
exchange relationships. For the corporate strategy:
... the corporate emphasis may be achieved in many different ways, but
always involves the establishment and maintenance of a cognitive code that
emphasizes a corporate solidarity of society as an integrated whole, based on
a natural, fixed, and immutable interdependence between subgroups and, in
more complex societies, between rulers and subjects (Blanton et al. 1996:6).
So the Dual Processual Theory partially integrates the three levels of analysis, leaving
infrastructure to play a role as a limiting factor on social actors, especially in terms of
attempts to intensify production (Blanton et al. 1996:4). Integration of superstructure
is a more contentious matter.
As long as we are attempting to integrate infrastructure, structure and
superstructure, it is important to understand the connections envisioned between
political actors and cognitive codes in this theory. Do these authors envision a one-
way or a two-way relationship between these? In other words, are processes of
change driven by social actors, cognitive codes or both? Of course, there has always
been a relationship between structure and superstructure in structural theories. This
is usually the Marxian notion of mystification, in which ideology serves to mask

exploitative relationships between elites1 and non-elites. This places ideation firmly in
the category of epiphenomenon, the same status it holds in ecological paradigms.
These authors allow ideation to partially constrain social actors in much the same way
factors of the natural environment can, but place emphasis on the roles of social
While political struggle has the potential of bringing with it social and cultural
change, it is played out against a background of shared culture, acquired
through socialization, that constrains what political actors may do. Culture is
not, however, completely determinative, because political actors knowledge
of societys structure and its culture is potentially not just a constraint but a
resource that they can use as they pursue their goals (Blanton etal. 1996:2).
But if events other than the manipulations of political elites can change the ideational
environment, or the actions of elites can have unforeseen consequences, then ideation
can do more than just constrain political action. Ideation can guide the choices social
actors conceive of in the first place, as well as how non-elites perceive and react to
their actions. Political economy theories tend to place control of the ideational
environment in the hands of the elites of a society. However, it seems naive to
assume that non-elites are universally duped by elite propaganda, especially when
there may be many competing elites with competing ideologies. Non-elites
frequently resist elite exploitation, which creates a possible dynamic for social change
in the form of inter-class competition. Many political economic theorists would
expect a primarily one-way dynamic, an integrated approach that juxtaposes concepts
rather than generating over-general theories can envision a two-way relationship.
The one apparent weakness of the Dual-Processual Theory is that it treats
competition and social agrandizement as natural human phenomena and as prime
movers, which may not be justified. But this weakness is more apparent than real.

Blanton et al. attempt to develop a convincing theory of behavior with this article,
though their theory still seems to depend on this universalizing assumption. The
cognitive codes they use to connect structure with superstructure are treated as things
manipulated by social elites. Nothing is said about the role of non-elites in the
construction and maintenance of cognitive codes. Writing of archaeological theory
on equality and inequality, Paynter (1989:385-386) notes that "Little attention is paid
to how those out of power might completely overturn the social order of inequality
.... This is in part due to the fact that most models do not allow for a recalcitrant
population." This emphasis on politico-economic elites to the exclusion of all else
may seem convincing to many twentieth century Western theorists, socialized in the
context of Cold War capitalism versus communism ideologies, but anthropology has
shown examples in which competition and aggrandizement are not valued by some
less complex cultures. The classic statement of this is Richard B. Lees Eating
Christmas in the Kalahari (Lee 1987), in which he relates a painful lesson in
humility taught him by the !Kung. It could be argued that the existence of social
leveling mechanisms demonstrates the universality of aggrandizement. I find this
argument unconvincing, given that social complexity is a very recent phenomenon,
encompassing only the past several thousand years of human history. Though the
social leveling mechanisms of !Kung culture may be largely related to the marginality
of their natural environment, the !Kung are not unique in their disdain for competitive
behavior (Knapp 1990). Why should social leveling mechanisms be treated as any
less natural than the social differentiation mechanisms that are the subject of political
economy studies? The corporate strategy is in itself a method of limiting competition

to established elites in complex societies. The importance and universality of
competition in the ideational environment of Western scholarship may be more
closely related to the role of Adam Smith as a culture hero of the United States than
with any credible theory of human behavior. In moving from the ecological
determinism of earlier theorists, they have simply traded prime movers. Trading
ecological prime movers for political prime movers leaves this theory open to
precisely the same charges leveled against environmental determinists, in that they
have a single, simplistic answer for all questions. It would be better to steer away
from a prime mover theory and treat the corporate/network continuum as a general
concept. This continuum can be placed at the same level as concepts like
conspicuous consumption or competitive emulation not as high theory that explains
all, but as a concept that can have broad application to individual cases.
There is another danger; that we may fail to heed Blanton et al.s warning
(1996:5) and start to use the corporate/network continuum to represent static societal
types. This tendency is so insidious, even the authors themselves are nearly guilty of
it. Corporate and network strategies result in dissimilar and antagonistic political
economies and so are likely to be temporally or spatially separated. Elements of both
approaches may, however, be employed in certain complex cases (Blanton et al.
1996:7). In this passage the authors explain that these strategies are so different from
each other that they often will be separated geographically and temporally, except in a
few rare cases. This is in spite of clear statements that this theory is not intended to
replace one taxonomy with another, which is what this passage implies. A taxonomy
that would account for all the possibilities inherent in the Dual Processual Theory, the

numerous possibilities represented by heterarchy and the many continua found in
Helms would become so large as to lose the simplicity that makes taxonomies useful.
More important, however, is the reifying nature of taxonomies, which make static
types out of dynamic and changing social systems. This would be an ironic
consequence, since one of the beauties of this theory is that it captures a dynamic for
change. It would be a surprise to find any case where one strategy is so exclusive or
dominant that the other vanishes from importance. Rather, the existence of these as
conflicting strategies that social actors may use under varying circumstances can be
seen as a context under which contradictory cognitive codes develop (cf. McGuire
and Saitta 1996). As different social actors compete for prestige or power, they may
emphasize different sides of the corporate/network continuum.
"... (T)here are certain situations where forms of political hierarchy based on
strongly regularized, even hereditary access to decision-making positions are
crucial to maintaining communlaism. Such seeming paradoxes exist because
oppositions do not exist independently of each other, but rather form a unity
whereby the existence of one necessarily entails the existence of the other"
(McGuire and Saitta 1996:200).
The differential success of these actors represents a mechanism for change in the
ideational environment, though their relative success may depend in part on how they
deal with constraints that exist in the ideational environment, as well as how they deal
with the institutional and natural environments. The conflicting use of these
strategies by social actors intensifies their mental production, developing more and
more elaborate ideologies to deal with both the inherent contradictions and the
ambitions of competitive elites.

It would be a mistake to simply make the Hegelian assumption that
contradictions always exist in ideational environments, instead of seeking out and
examining possible contradictions in individual cases. However, these contradictory
political strategies provide a mechanism for social change in and of themselves, in
that particularly successful actors emphasizing one strategy over the other can alter
social relationships for a substantial length of time. Passing those changes on to the
next generation is where what is traditionally called complexity begins (Clarke and
Blake 1994:21). Natural events also may trigger changes in the ideational
environment, by lending supernatural justification to one or the other emphasis. For
example, a sudden natural catastrophe at a time when one strategy is coming to
preeminence could be seen as divine displeasure in the architects of the new strategy
and its concomitant ideas. This may be an important factor especially in areas that are
prone to earthquakes or other natural disasters. Thus both the actions of
social/political aggrandizers and natural events can work to cause a vacillation
between these two strategies, reinterpreted in light of somewhat changed ideational,
institutional and natural environments that contain many, often contradictory
elements, with each swing of the historical pendulum. Thus we must be wary of the
temptation to use the corporate/network continuum in a simplistic, typological
manner, not intended by its authors.
Just as creating a rigid typology is a hazard of misusing this theory, there is
also a danger of creating a unilineal scheme of cultural evolution. Blanton et al.
discuss the possibility of a vacillation between strong corporate and strong network
emphasis within the history of a polity: Thus a regional sequence may consist of

cycles of alternating network and corporate emphases in the political economy
(1996:7). However, they might seem to imply an expected sequence of change.
They treat network strategies as an element of Peer Polity Interaction, which is an
interaction between polities of approximately equal size and complexity (Blanton et
al. 1996:5). Yet they also state that the limitations of network strategies prevent any
substantial structural transformation beyond a certain point. An emphasis on
corporate strategies is required to build larger-scale political units (Blanton et al.
1996:5). It would be easy to create an evolutionary scheme in which chiefdoms
begin as horizontally oriented acquisitional peer polities within a region playing out
network strategies, then one or more of these polities switch to a more corporate
strategy, bypassing the limitations of network strategies and developing state-level
complexity. This interpretation is certainly plausible. Political economists Clarke
and Blake (1994:21), in a denial of the meaningfulness of the pristine state concept,
characterize all rank societies as emerging in a PPI context. This can give a real
unilineal and universalizing sting to this scenario for development, suggesting that all
rank societies follow the same trajectory of change. However, even if we can accept
a universal beginning point for social ranking, it would be fallacious to assume that
social change can only proceed in one direction from there. Vacillation between
dominant strategies may be a more realistic expectation, as Blanton et al. suggest,
though returning to a previously de-emphasized strategy does not mean that periods
in a historic sequence would be identical. Every shift in structure and ideation would
create entirely new systems, even when the same underlying principles are in action.

3.5 Environmental/Demographic
Theories and Concepts
Ideas that revolve around infrastructure are examined in the model below, but
there is little need to discuss them in detail here. This is largely because
infrastructural models have been the bread and butter of archaeology since the middle
of this century, and have become so familiar they need little elaboration. The absence
of elaboration here is due, in part, to the state of available data for the spacio-
temporal region in question. Since the New Archaeology there have been a number
of studies of climatic variables and population for the Aegean region. Some of the
climatic studies are still useful, but population estimates have been thrown in doubt
(J. Davis 1984), making one side of the population/resource imbalance concept
almost unapproachable. While Renfrew dealt with these issues optimistically in his
1972 publication, his population estimates were mostly based on excavated
settlements, since few surveys had been conducted at this time. Although many
surveys have been conducted more recently, there has yet to be a systematic attempt
to deal with population change for the island as a whole. This makes separation of
demographic factors from other, social factors in dealing with social change
inherently provisional, but the provisional nature of archaeological interpretation is a
normal phenomenon, consistent with a negativistic view of science.
As a general rule, ecological variables are more likely to play a role as
constraining, rather than determining, factors. Climate and available resources might
place certain limits on any given society, but there is generally a range of possibility
for human action within those restraints. For instance, a sunbathing practice and
concomitant skin diseases would be highly unlikely under circumpolar conditions,

though sunbathing is not practiced in all places where warmer climates permit. This
example is obvious and relatively trivial, but it illustrates the point. There can be
ecological conditions that play important roles in culture change, such as endemic
earthquakes or other natural catastrophes, erosional episodes that degrade agricultural
productivity or severe dessications. Thus it would be imprudent to ignore the
possibility of the natural environment playing a substantial role in culture change at
any given time. But a role in one case does not mean determination in all cases.
Thus the proverbial baby can be retained as the bath water is expunged.
The concept of scalar stress, a demographic phenomenon, is used in the
model of change for Neopalatial Crete. Johnsons (1983) model of scalar stress
would predict an increase in the number of decisions-making levels, which could
result in an increase in the number of classes and/or other social differentiations
within society, as population and competition rises. In this model Johnson speaks of
the formation of sequential hierarchies as a response to scalar stress. Strictly
speaking, scalar stress is not a simple function of population, but of how that
population is organized. However, it is increasing population, or increasing friction
between basal units within a population, that leads to increased social differentiation.
The sequential hierarchies stressed by Johnson have been correctly identified by
White (1995:104) as another name for heterarchy. Based on information theory,
Johnson proposed a numerical limit on horizontal differentiations. Human
information processing capacities make it difficult to deal with more than about six
cases at once, therefore systems which divide their populations at any vertical level
into much more than six parallel units would suffer problems due to communication