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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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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

Community Building/Building Community at Gournia

Community Building/Building Community at Gournia

(p.204) 9 Community Building/Building Community at Gournia
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism

D. Matthew Buell

John C. McEnroe

Oxford University Press

For more than a century Gournia has been one of the key sites for understanding Minoan urbanism. Excavations by Harriet Boyd Hawes (1901–4), Jeffrey Soles and Costis Davaras (1971, 1972, and 1979), an intensive archaeology survey by Costis Davaras and L. Vance Watrous (1992–4), cleaning operations by Watrous near the shore (2008 and 2009), and the current Gournia Excavation Project (hereafter GEP) also directed by Watrous (2010–present) have resulted in one of the most extensively explored Bronze Age towns in the Eastern Mediterranean (Hall 1912; Boyd Hawes et al. 1908; Watrous et al. 2012; Watrous et al. 2015). By the end of the Neopalatial period the excavated section of the town covered some 1.68 ha, consisting of a number of interdependent components, including approximately sixty-four houses, a small palace, harbour facilities, a 500 m2 plateia, and a cobblestone street system with a total length of more than half a kilometre (Gomrée 2013: 850). When we began our work with the GEP we assumed that we would simply add the new excavations to the existing plan by Boyd. However, we quickly discovered it was not possible to make the old plan fit with our new survey points. Moreover as we looked more closely at the old plan we discovered a number of other problems. We noticed that walls, rooms, and even entire buildings had been omitted. In addition, the straight lines of the earlier plan had the effect of regularizing the architecture and masked the chronological complexity of the site. We decided, therefore, to make a new GIS-based plan of the entire site. When combined with excavation data, our new architectural analysis provides a rich dataset, which is useful for both interisland and cross-cultural comparisons of urban development and change. This dataset also provides us with the opportunity to examine how the various components of the town interacted from the time of its foundation in the Early Minoan period through to its final use in the Late Minoan III period.

Keywords:   Cyclopean walls, Gournia, Malia, Phaistos, feasting, households, limestone, masonry

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