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Minoan Architecture and UrbanismNew Perspectives on an Ancient Built Environment$
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Quentin Letesson and Carl Knappett

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793625.001.0001

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Understanding Minoan In-House Relationships on Late Bronze Age Crete

Understanding Minoan In-House Relationships on Late Bronze Age Crete

(p.80) 5 Understanding Minoan In-House Relationships on Late Bronze Age Crete
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism

Jan Driessen

Oxford University Press

Houses, space, and architecture are ways through which identities and social relations are enacted and performed; they produce and support practices that themselves are needed to reproduce or generate identities and interpersonal associations. As archaeologists, we are especially interested in the ways static structures can be used to identify ever-changing social relations; and this chapter is an attempt to approach the architectural configurations and spatial organization of larger residential complexes of Minoan Crete more socially and to see what structured these (Ensor 2013). My aim is to advance our knowledge on the micro-scale of proximate interactions, in other words what the evidence is for in-house relationships. As such it may help in an eventual peopling of the past. For a house to become a home, more than an architectural form is needed. Hence the linkage of house and household and the need for a house to become a social unit, the place of reproduction, socialization, and the setting of primary social and economic dealings. In this sense, the house as a home is also a nexus of social and economic activities and hence achieves a political importance since its roles in production and consumption are pivotal to the amalgamated whole which is the community. He who rules the home, rules the community. The house is the society. Throughout the different periods of Minoan civilixation, houses are given great prominence and many of them are striking architectural creations, surprising because of their size, design, elaboration, and decoration, clear signs of the significance of houses in interpersonal relationships. They are unmistakably more than physical residences; they are also transcendent categories with a life of their own (Bloch 2010: 156–7). Houses stand for social groups and are symbolic foci, something also underlined by J. D. Schloen (2007) in his monograph The House of the Father as Fact and Symbol: Patrimonialism in Ugarit and the Ancient Near East.

Keywords:   Malia, Palaikastro, blocks (of buildings), columns, hearths, megara, vestibules

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