Building Dynamics at the Micro-Scale
In this section we tackle individual buildings. For domestic structures, the scale is that of the household, whereas for more monumental buildingsâ€”such as the palaces or the so-called â€˜villasâ€™â€”the association with a particular social group is still a matter of great debate, although the term â€˜corporate groupâ€™ has been recently put forward (Driessen 2010; Schoep and Tomkins 2012). Bronze Age Crete presents an extremely rich architectural landscape; indeed, many buildings are sufficiently well preserved to allow detailed studies not only of their layout but also of their construction techniques (Devolder 2014; Shaw 2009). The discovery of the town of Akrotiri, buried under metres of tephra, has also provided plenty of evidence for architectural featuresâ€”most notably perishable elements such as timber and roofing materialâ€”that have only left scant traces on Crete (Palyvou 2005; Tsakanika-Theochari 2006). Nevertheless, as for any other scale (see chapters 6 and 11), gaps in our archaeological data necessarily impede some analyses at the micro-scale. Often, in Minoan archaeology, the built environment has been partially recorded, and data collection varies from extremely detailed at some sites to almost non-existent for the large-scale early excavations of the beginning of the twentieth century. Furthermore, in terms of data resolution, Neopalatial architectural remains outweigh by far those of other periods, both in terms of quantity and quality. With the exception of the small settlements of Myrtos Fournou Korifi (Sanders 1990; Warren 1972) and Vasiliki (Zois 1992), Early Minoan architectural remains are relatively scarce. The situation is even more problematic for Middle Minoan buildings. Although Malia produced incredibly well-preserved remains of a Middle Bronze Age town, with buildings like Quartier Mu (Poursat 1978, 1996), the BÃ¢timent Dessenne (Devolder, DÃ©derix, and Fadin 2012â€“13; Devolder, Caloi, and GomrÃ©e forthcoming), the Agora (van Effenterre and van Effenterre 1969), and the Crypte Hypostyle (Amouretti 1970), we are not as fortunate with other sites. Middle Bronze Age remains were nonetheless excavated in many areas of the island, but later constructions often make detailed investigations almost impossible.
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