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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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The Middle Minoan Slipway for Ships at the Kommos Harbour, and Harbour Development in Prehistoric Crete

The Middle Minoan Slipway for Ships at the Kommos Harbour, and Harbour Development in Prehistoric Crete

Chapter:
(p.228) 10 The Middle Minoan Slipway for Ships at the Kommos Harbour, and Harbour Development in Prehistoric Crete
Source:
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism
Author(s):

Joseph W. Shaw

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198793625.003.0017

Revealed at Kommos in 1985, in Southern Crete, was a long, narrow strip of slab paving, dating to a Middle Minoan (henceforth MM) period. It is laid out east–west, and was found below the central courts of superposed MM II Building AA, MM III Building T, and Late Minoan (henceforth LM) III Building P—thus predating them (Shaw and Shaw 2006). At that time the impression was that the pavement was likely a ‘walkway’ for processions, like those found, especially in MM palatial west courts, in Crete (Driessen 2009; Shaw 2015: 14–17). The walkways sometimes connected building groups, as in the case of Malia. At the time of its discovery, the one at Kommos appeared like an appropriate part of what was to become a palatial site, marked by the Minoan Elite architectural style (Shaw 2015). However, now, some years later and after further consideration, this identification must be questioned: while most often MM in origin, walkways can be common at any MM palatial site, but only one such pavement is known at Kommos. Also, walkways occur most often on flat expanses such as the West Courts of palaces. That at Kommos stretches in a straight line towards the water edge, and with a constant slope to and from the water. Such a path might even be more useful for sliding ships to and from the water. But most important, in the case of the example at Kommos, there are shallow gaps, 0.15–0.20 m wide, built into the slab pavement every 2.40 m on centre. Seven such gaps are preserved, labelled 1–7, of which five (2–5, 7) are clearly intentionally aligned. Moreover, outside of Kommos, in Crete, the only walkway with gaps, among the dozens of walkways known, is in the Theatral Area at Phaistos, where the three gaps marked with asterisks are so narrow that they were probably simply drains, if they actually had a purpose.

Keywords:   Amnisos, Cyclopean walls, Gournia, Knossos, Kommos, Malia, Palaikastro, central court, drains, hearths

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