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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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Processes and Patterns at the Macro-Scale

Processes and Patterns at the Macro-Scale

Crete and Beyond

(p.259) 11 Processes and Patterns at the Macro-Scale
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism

Quentin Letesson

Carl Knappett

Oxford University Press

Zooming out, we first reach the various regions that compose Crete (e.g. west Crete, Mesara, north-central Crete, Malia-Lasithi zone, Mirabello Bay area, east Crete) and then the whole island itself. This is the macro-scale where settlement patterns can be observed and ‘which may see low-level exchange, competition, close affiliations; a whole range of potential scenarios, including “states”’ (Knappett 2012: 395). Further out, we might speak of the global scale, that of the supra-regional, with connections beyond the island to the Cyclades, Asia Minor, the Greek mainland, and so on. Although we have a general idea of how settlement patterns evolved during the Cretan Bronze Age (Driessen 2001; see also Bevan 2010 for an up-to-date synthesis), limitations at the micro- and meso-scale clearly also constrain our understanding of the macro-scale. Nevertheless, starting with Sir Arthur Evans (1928: 60–92), who was particularly interested in roads and how they connected specific settlements both in central and east Crete to support his view of Knossian overarching power (see also Warren 1994: 189, n.3), an interest in broader regional dynamics and top-down approaches to sociopolitical complexity was always prominent in Aegean archaeology (Cherry 1984; Renfrew 1972; Renfrew and Cherry 1986). This focus on site hierarchies has motivated a broad range of studies, from comparative material culture analysis (e.g. Knappett 1999) to surface surveys and associated tests which provided invaluable information on road networks (e.g. Müller 1991; Tzedakis et al. 1989; Tzedakis et al. 1990) and settlement distribution (for extensive bibliography and synthesis, see Driessen 2001; Whitelaw 2012). Although recent surveys clearly increase the temporal and spatial resolution of our data sets (e.g. Haggis 2005; Watrous 2012; Whitelaw, Bredaki, and Vasilakis 2006–7), they still have considerable gaps. For example, compared to central and east Crete, relatively few sites have been identified in the west of the island. This problem was recently tackled by Bevan and Wilson (2013), who devised a model for exploring settlement locations, hierarchies, and interconnections despite our incomplete dataset (see also chapters 12 and 15).

Keywords:   Cyprus, ashlar, blocks (of buildings), cities, households, innovation, macro–scale, neighbourhoods

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