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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: 28 November 2021

Computational Approaches to Minoan Settlement Interaction and Growth

Computational Approaches to Minoan Settlement Interaction and Growth

(p.266) 12 Computational Approaches to Minoan Settlement Interaction and Growth
Minoan Architecture and Urbanism

Eleftheria Paliou

Andrew Bevan

Oxford University Press

Several recent approaches to Minoan urbanism have revisited the kinds of formal models and analyses first developed in fields such as urban studies or statistical physics. The goal of such applications is usually to better capture and understand the relationship between people, paths, places, and cultural interaction in terms of nodes, networks, and flows. This emphasis first appeared in Aegean Bronze Age archaeology at least thirty years ago, for example via isolated attempts to interpret built spaces using graph-based methods (Yannouli 1992). More recently, however, the idea that networks of human interaction are a key generator of urban development and social change has been progressively gaining ground in Minoan studies for several different spatial scales of analysis (see also Hacıgüzeller and Thaler 2014; Letesson 2009, 2014). At the macro-scale (many settlements in a landscape or multiple Aegean islands for instance), various forms of ‘spatial interaction model’ have been used to explore settlement evolution, population movement, the transmission of cultural traits, socio-political organization, and interregional trade (Bevan and Crema 2014; Bevan and Wilson 2013; Knappett, Evans, and Rivers 2008; Knappett, Rivers, and Evans 2011; Paliou and Bevan 2016). Central to these works have also been concerns about how best to identify and model environmental and spatial factors influencing past human interactions and settlement attractiveness and how to make effective use of material culture evidence in the model-building process. In this chapter, we reflect on this trend and draw upon previous experience in applying simulations of settlement interaction in the Cretan landscape to revisit some of these issues. In particular, we describe briefly computational models that aim to explore the emergence of place and path hierarchies at the island level, examine the links between cultural transmission and geographic distance, and look into the benefits of combining settlement and artefact data to approach aspects of socio-political organization. The growth, decline, and interaction of Bronze Age Cretan settlements have long been part of wider discussions about socio-political organization in the second millennium BC, not least with regard to different notions of Minoan palatial territoriality and political geography.

Keywords:   Malia, Mesara, Phaistos, modelling, network analysis, settlements, simulations, surveys, towns, urbanism, urbanization

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