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The Transition from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age (EBA) in Crete (Greece),

with special reference to pottery

Volume I

Aikaterini Xanteli

Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts

University of London




of Archaeology

University of London OrMEL WOM

July 1993 'Tav.






The transition from the Neolithic to the EBA in Crete is best illustrated through the pottery sequence of the island. Crete is a large self-sufficient island of the Mediterranean and for the best part of the Neolithic era kept aloof from the rest of the Aegean. The EN I to LY pottery is very homogeneous and is characterised by a rather conservative typology. In the LY II and the FY periods a combination of internal factors, such as improvements in pot firing

techniques and a taste for innovation from within the system, led to the invention of new types of decoration and a strong tendency for mass production. These developments took place at Knossos and Phaistos, the two main settlements of the island with a fully

developed mixed agricultural economy. The other LY/ FY sites -mainly caves- do not demonstrate the same creativiýand variety in pottery

styles. Their pottery assemblages are rather monotonous in typology and of lower quality. This difference may well derive from the different types of economic exploitation practised in the various environments. Nevertheless, there are sufficient tytological links

between Knossos and Phaistos and the other sites to substantiate the typological and cultural homogeneity of the island as a whole.

In the EBA (EX I) a major innovation appears with the sudden introduction of painted pottery. At the same time, each major geographical area of the island develops its own individual pottery

styles. Despite the apparent discontinuity between the Neolithic and the EBA, which led to the formulation of various invasion theories,

lines of continuity can be followed up and have to do with the improvements in pot firing and mass production. Affinities and communication with the Aegean are now stronger and more intensified,

but do not Justify a cultural break. The Cretan EBA pottery has its own unmistakable character and identity. All in all, the transitional



This thesis is based on f ield-work and research which I carried out during my tenure of grants from the University of Athens Saripoleian Foundation and the Greek State Scholarship Foundation. The field-work in various Museums of Crete (Herakleion, Chania, Ayias

likolaos and the British School at Athens Stratigraphical Museum at Knossos) was made possible by grants from the University of London Senate House Central Research Fund and the Gordon Childe Award, administrated by the Institute of Archaeology, University of London.

The final stage of preparation for submission of the thesis was financed by the Hellenic Foundation. I am very grateful to all these bodies for their support. I am also indebted to Diamantis Pateras

Ltd. for offering me a Job at a moment I much needed it and to my beloved parents for their constant support.

To my supervisor, Professor J. D. Evans, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for his advice, help and patience with me. I have greatly profited from his guidance and comments on this thesis.

I am also indebted to him for giving me access to unpublished

material from his excavations in the West Court of the Palace of Knossos. The late Professor X. Platon was kind enough to give me permission to use in this thesis and publish the pottery assemblage

from his excavation at the Kastelli Phournis well. For the same reason, I am grateful to Dr. D. Evely for the LY material from the

1987 British School at Athens excavations in the Knossos Throne Room System. I would also like to thank Mr. S. Hood for allowing me to

study the pottery from the EX I well of Knossos, Dr. Y. Tzedakis for the neolithic pottery from the caves of Gerani and Platyvola, Dr. C. Davaras for the neolithic pottery from the cave of Lera and Dr.

Vagnetti for the neolithic pottery from Nerokourou.

I have greatly benefited from discussions with Dr. J. landris, Dr. A. BaZAAm and Dr. P. Griffiths of the Institute of Archaeology,



College, University of London, and with Professor P. Warren of the University of Bristol.

Finally, Dr. S. MacGillivray was kind enough to take the photos of the Kastelli Phournis vases in the Herakleion Museum and Dr. D. Evely those of the Knossos Throne Room System material. Very

important also was the assistance of the directors. of all Cretan Museums, Professor Y. Sakellarakis, Dr. Y. Tzedakis, Dr. C. Davaras and Dr. A. Peatfield, and of their personnel for the completion of my



Contents Volume I


Dedication Abstract


Contents of Volume I and II List of Figures

List of Plates Abbreviations

Chapter I Introduction

1. Scope and aims 2. Met1fdology

Chapter II The stratigraphic evidence on the K/ EX I transition

1. Introduction 2. Knosso

2.1., LY horizontal stratigraphy 2.2. X/ EN I transition

Pages 1 2 3 4 6 16 18 19 20 20 21 23 23 23 24 24 26 29 30 30 31 33 33 33 33 34 34 35 2.3. Knossos stratigraphy in the literature

3. phaistos

3.1. FN stratigraphy

3.2. X/ EN I transition

3.3. Phaistos stratieraDhv in the literature

4. FI/ EX I sites

4.1. Levena-Yerokampos II 5. 1/ EN sites

5.1. Eileithyia cave 5.2. Miamou cave

5.3. Xachlos

5.4. Trapeza cave

5.5. Kastellos open settlement and rock-shelters

5.6. Lera cave

5.7. Koumarospilio cave

5.8. Ellenes Amariou rock-shelter 5.9. Platyvola cave

6. LY sites

6.1. MitropoYis Gortinas

6.2. Xagassas rock-shelter and house 6.3. Gerani cave

7. FN site

7.1. Partira rock-shelter

7.2. Ayios likolaos rock-shelter 7.3. Grymani rock-shelter

7.4. Skaphidia cave

7.5. Acropolis Gortinas settlement 7.6. Kaloi Limenes house

7.7. Nerokourou settlement

7.8. Kastelli Phournis well



Chapter 11 8. EM I sites 40

(cont. ) 8.1 Debla settlement 40

9. The N/ EX I transition 40

Chapter III Mechanism of pottery change and continuity

at Neolithic Knossos 42

1. Introduction 42

2. EX I to MN Knossos pottery 42

2.1. Quantitative changes 42

2.2. Stylistic changes 43

2.3. New types 45

3. LY Knossos Pottery 46

3.1. Central Court stratum 11 46

3.1.1. Quantitative changes 47

3.1.2. Stylistic changes 47

3.1.3. New types 49

3.2. Central Court stratum 1 49

3.2.1. Quantitative changes 49

3.2.2. Stylistic changes 50

3.2.3. New types 51

3.3. LY Vest Court 51

3.3.1. The earlier LY Vest Court sequence 52 3.3.2. The later LY West Court sequence 54

4. General Conclusions 55

Chapter IV LN Knossos pottery sequence 56

1. Introduction 56

2. Reconstruction of the LY Knossos

sequence 56

2.1. Putting the evidence together 56 2.1.1. Central Court stratum b 57 2.1.2. LY Vest Court and sounding FF 57

3. The LY Knossos sequence 59

Chapter V LN Knossos pottery technology 60

1. Introduction 60

2. Description of pottery 60

2.1. Clay, biscuit and ware categories 60

2.2. Firing techniques 61

2.3. Surface treatments 62

2.4. Decoration 63

3. Pottery technology and typology

interaction 64

3.1. Surface treatment 64

3.2. Decoration 66

4. Conclusions 66

Chapter VI LY Knossos pottery typology 67,

1. Introduction 67

2. The process of LY Knossos evolution 67

2.1. LN I Knossos 67

2.1.1. Vare and typology interaction 68 2.1.2. Ripple burnished decoration 68

2.1.3. Decoration 69

2.1.4. Signs of mass production 69

2.1.5. Kew types 70

2.2. LY II Knossos 70



Chapter VI 2.2.2. Decoration 71

(cont. ) 2.2.3. Signs of mass production 72

2.2.4. New types 73

2.3. FY Knossos 75

2.3.1. Decoration 75

2.3.2. Signs of mass production 75 2.3.3. New concepts in decoration 76

2.3.4. New types 77

3. General Conclusions 78

Chapter VII Fff Phaistos and LY Knossos pottery typology 79

1. Introduction 79

2. Shapes 79

2.1. Bowls/ Jars 80

2.2. Necked Jars 82

3. Rims 83

4. Rarer shapes 84

5. Miniature vases 85

6. Size 85

7. Handles/ lugs and ears 85

8. Spouts 88

9. Bases and feet 88

10. Wares and surface treatment 89

ii. Decoration 90

12. General Conclusions 93

Chapter VIII Phaistos and Knossos relative chronology 96

1. Introduction 96

2. Common background 96

3. Relative chronology 97

4. The character of the FY phase 98

4.1. Yew types 99

5. Conclusions 102

Chapter IX The LY/ FN pottery of Crete 103

1. Introduction 103

2. Methodology 103

3. Groups of sites 106

3.1. LY sites 106

3.2. FY sites 107

Chapter X FN pottery typology and relative chronology 109

1. Introduction 109

2. North-Central Crete 109

2.1. Eileithyia cave Group A 109

2.1-1. Differences and similarities 110

3. South Crete 110

3.1. Acropolis Gortinas settlement 110

3.2. Kaloi Limenes house ill

3.2.1. Differences and similarities ill

3.3. Miamou cave 112

3.3.1. Differences and similarities 112

4. East Crete 113

4.1. Trapeza and Skaphidia caves and

Kastellos Tzermiadan 113

4.1.1. Differences and similarities 114

4.2. Kastelli Phournis well 116


Chapter X


West Crete


(cont. ) 5.1. Gerani cave 118

5.1.1. Differences and similarities 119

5.2. Lera cave 120

5.2.1. Differences and similarities 121

5.3. Koumarospilio cave 122

5.3.1. Differences and similarities 123

5.4. Ellenes Amariou cave 124

5.5. Platyvola cave 124

5.5.1. Differences and similarities 125

5.6. Werokourou settlement 126

5.6.1. Differences and similarities 126

6. Relative chronology 129

6.1. North-Central, South and East Crete 129

6.2. West Crete 130

6.2.1. FN Vest Crete types and decoration 132

6.3. New types 134

6.3.1. EX I-like types of Crete 135 6.3.2. New types outside Knossos and

Phaistos 136

7. Conclusions 137

Chapter XI F1 typology and function interaction 139

1. Introduction 139

2. Function of sites 139

2.1. Shapes 140

2.2. Wares and surface treatment 142

3. Interpretation of evidence 144

Chapter XII The FY "Partira" group 146

1. Introduction 146

2. Typology 146

2.1. Shapes 146

2.1.1. Mochlos 149

2.2. Surface treatment and decoration 149 3. Typology and function interaction 151

4. Relative chronology 151

4.1. The typological character of the

"Partira" group 151

4.1.1. Decoration 153

4.2. Definition of chronology 154

5. Conclusions 156

Chapter XIII Neolithic cultural affinities and chronology 157

1. Introduction 157

2. Ell I to MN background 157

3. LY/ FN Crete and the Aegean 161 4. LY/ FN chronology and interpretation 168

4.1 Absolute chronology 173

Chapter XIV The EX I pottery from Crete 176

1. Introduction 176

2. EM I Crete 176

2.1. Pyrgos ware 176

2.2. Painted ware 178

2.3. Monochrome ware 179

2.4. Scored ware 180



Chapter XIV 3.1. Patterns of continuity 182

(cont. ) 3.2. Aegean affinities 186

Chapter XV The N1 EBA transition in Crete 188


Volume II


Title 1

Contents 2

List of Appendices 7

List of Figures 8

List of Plates 10

Appendix I EN I, Ell II MIT Knossos open settlement 11 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 11

B. Neolithic stratigraphy 12

C. EN I, EN II and MN pottery 14

Appendix II LN Knossos open settlement 24

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 24

B. LN stratigraphy 26

B1. Central Court stratum Il 26

B2. Central Court stratum 1 27

B3. Throne Room System 27

B4. Central Court stratum a Houses A and B 28

B5. Central Court stratum b 29

B6. LN West Court 29

B7. LY topography and Minoan levelling

operations at Knossos 32

B8. Reconstruction of the LY stratigraphy

of Knossos 34

C. LY pottery 35

Cl. Central Court stratum 11 36

C2. Central Court stratum 1 41

C3. Throne Room System 45

C4. Central Court stratum a 48

C5. Central Court stratum b 49

C6. LY Vest Court 50

C7. West Court sounding FF 59

Appendix III FY Phaistos open settlement 60 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 60

B. FN stratigraphy 61

B1. Reconstruction of the F1 stratigraphy 66

C. FY pottery 67

Appendix IV Neol ithic Eileithyia cave 78

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 78

B. Stratigraphy 79

C. Neolithic pottery 79

Cl. Group A 79

Cla. Comparative study 81

C2. Group B 82

C2a, Comparative study 84




Appendix V F1 Partira rock-shelter 86

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 86

B. Stratigraphy 86

C. Pottery 86

D. Comparative study 90

E. Conclusions and Chronology 90 Appendix VI MNI LY Mitropolis Gortinas open settlement 91

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 91

B. Stratigraphy 91

C. Neolithic pottery 91

D. Comparative study 93

E. "Partirall bowl 95

F. Conclusions 95

Appendix VII Fy Acropolis Gortinas open settlement 96 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 96

B. Stratigraphy 96

C. Neolithic pottery 97

D. Comparative study 99

E. Conclusions 100

Appendix VIII FN house at Kaloi Limenes 101 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 101

B. Stratigraphy 101

C. Pottery 101

D. Comparative study 103

E. Conclusions 104

Appendix IX Neolithic and EX Miamou cave 105 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 105

B. Neolithic and EX stratigraphy 105

C. Neolithic pottery 106

D. Comparative study 108

E. "Ayios Nikolaos" suspension pots 109

F. EX pottery 109

G. Comparative study 110

H. Conclusions 110

Appendix X Fy and EX I Levena-Yerokampos II cemetery ill A. The site, history of publications

and excavations ill

B. Stratigraphy 112

C. F1 pottery 112

D. Comparative study 115

E. EX I pottery 116

F. Comparative study 119

G. Conclusions 119

Appendix XI LN Xagassas rock-shelter and house 120 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 120

B. Stratigraphy 120




Appendix XI


Comparative study


(cont. )




Appendix XII

F1 Ayios Nikolaos rock-shelter



The site, history

of publications

and excavations










Comparative study





Appendix XIII

FY and EX Xochlos settlement and cemetery



The site,


of publications

and excavations






FN pottery



Comparative study



EX pottery



Comparative study





Appendix XIV

FY and EX I Trapeza cave



The site,


of publications

and excavations









C1. "Neolithic



C2. "Trapeza ware"



Comparative study






D2. "Trapeza ware"



EX I pottery


F. Conclusions 139

Appendix XV F1 Grymani rock-shelter 140

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 140

B. Stratigraphy 140

C. Neolithic pottery 140

Appendix XVI Fy Skaphidia cave 141

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 141

B. Stratigraphy 141

C. Pottery 142

D. Comparative study 143

E. Conclusions 144

Appendix XVII F1 Kastellos Tzermiadon 145

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 145

B. Stratigraphy 145

C. Pottery 146

D. Comparative study 148

E. Conclusions 149

Appendix XVIII FY Kastelli Phournis well 150 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 150




Appendix XVIII C. Pottery 151

(cant. ) D. Comparative study 155

E. Conclusions 157

Appendix XIX Neolithic Gerani cave 158

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 158

B. Stratigraphy 158

C. Pottery 160

D. Comparative study 163

E. Chronology and Conclusions 167

Appendix XX Neolithic Lera cave 169

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 169

B. Stratigraphy 169

C. Pottery 170

D. Comparative study 173

E. Chronology and Conclusions 175 Appendix XII Neolithic Koumarospilio cave 177

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 177

B. Stratigraphy 178

C. Pottery 178

D. Comparative study 181

E. Chronology and Conclusions 182 Appendix XXII. F1 Ellenes Amariou rock-shelter 184

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 184

B. Stratigraphy 184

C. Neolithic pottery 185

D. Comparative study 186

E. Conclusions 186

Appendix XXIII Fif Werokourou settlement 187

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 187

B. Stratigraphy 188

C. Pottery 189

D. Comparative study 194

E. Conclusions 197

Appendix XXIV Neolithic and EX Platyvola cave 198 A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 198

B. Stratigraphy 198

C. Neolithic pottery 199

D. Comparative study 201

E. EX I and EX II pottery 202

El. EX I pottery 202

E2. EX II pottery 203

F. Comparative study 204

G. Conclusions 205

Appendix XXV EX Debla open settlement 206

A. The site, history of publications

and excavations 206



Appendix XXV C. EX pottery C1. Phase I

C2. Phase II C3. Phase III

D. Comparative study E. Conclusions

Appendix XXVI Concordance of figures in the literature

and their references

Pages 209

209 210 211 211 212 213 Figures



List of Figures 1. Map of Crete

2. Plan of the Palace of Knossos Throne Room System UN deposits) 3. Neolithic Knossos Central Court Area AC stratigraphy

4. LN Knossos Central Court strata II and I shapes

5. LN Knossos Central Court strata II and I rarer shapes, miniature vases and spouts

6. LN Knossos Central Court strata II and I handles, lugs and ears 7. LI Knossos Central Court strata II and I decoration

8. LY Knossos Throne Room System pottery 9. LIT Knossos Throne Room System pottery

10. LN Knossos West Court shapes and rarer shapes

11. LN Knossos Vest Court miniature vases and handles, lugs and ears 12. LN Knossos Vest Court spouts, bases and feet, and decoration

13. LN Knossos Vest Court decoration

14. LN Knossos Vest Court sounding FF pottery 15. Fy Phaistos shapes

16. FN Phaistos shapes 17. FY Phaistos shapes 18. Fy Phaistas shapes

19. FY Phaistos shapes and rarer shapes

20. FT Phaistas rarer shapes, minaiture vases and handles 21. FN Phaistas handles and lugs

22. FY Phaistos lugs

23. FY Phaistos lugs and ears, spouts, lids, bases and feet 24. FN Phaistos decoration

25. FY Phaistas decoration 26. FE Phaistos decoration

27. Fy Eileithyia cave Group A pottery 28. FN Eileithyia cave Group A pottery 29. Fy Eileithyia. cave Group B pottery 30. F1 Eileithyia cave Group B pottery

31. F1 Partira rock-shelter pottery 32. FN Partira rock-shelter pottery 33. F1 Partira rock-shelter pottery 34. FIr Partira rock-shelter pottery 35. FN Partira rock-shelter pottery 36. F'I Partira. rock-shelter pottery

37. MN/ LY Mitropolis Gortinas open settlement pottery 38. MY/ LI Mitropolis Gorninas open settlement pottery

39. FY Acropolis Gortinas open settlement pottery 40. FIF Acropolis Gortinas open settlement pottery 41. F1 Kaloi Limenes house pottery

42. FY Kaloi Limenes house pottery

43. Neolithic and EX Mianou cave pottery

44. Fy and EX I Levena-Yerokampos II tomb pottery

45. LIT Xagassas, FN Ayios Hikolaos and FY Xochlas pottery 46. F1 Trapeza cave pottery

47. F1 Trapeza cave pottery 48. FN Trapeza cave pottery

49. F1 Trapeza. cave, FN Grymani. rock-shelter and FIT Skaphidia cave pottery


51, F19 Kastelli Phournis well high-necked jar 52, FE Kastelli Phournis well high-necked Jar

53. FE Kastelli Phournis well high-necked Jar 54. FE Kastelli Phournis well high-necked jar 55. F1 Kastelli Phournis well amphora

56. FY Kastelli Phournis well amphora

57. FY Kastelli Phournis well cylindrical Jar

58. FIT Kastelli Phournis well narrow-necked jar 59. FN Kastelli Phournis well wide-necked jars 60. FN Kastelli Phournis well jugs

61. FE Kastelli Phournis well jugs

62. FY Kastelli Phournis well mug, pyxis, bowl 63. Neolithic Gerani cave pottery

64. Neolithic Gerani cave pottery 65. Neolithic Gerani cave pottery 66. Neolithic Gerani cave pottery 67. Neolithic Gerani cave pottery

68. Neolithic Lera cave pottery 69. Neolithic Lera cave pottery 70. Neolithic Lera cave pottery 71. Neolithic Lera cave pottery

72. Neolithic Koumarospilio cave pottery 73. Neolithic Koumarospilio cave pottery 74. Neolithic Koumarospilio cave pottery

75. Fy Ellenes Amariou rock-shelter pottery 76. FY Nerokourou open settlement pottery

77. FY Nerokourou open settlement pottery 78. FIT Yerokourou open settlement pottery 79. FIr Nerokourou open settlement pottery 80. FIT Nerokourou open settlement pottery 81. F1 Nerokourou open settlement pottery 82. EX Platyvola cave pottery

83. EX Platyvola cave pottery 84. EM Platyvola cave pottery


List of Plates

1k. LN handle/ lug sherds from the Knossos Throne Room System 1B. LY fragments from the Knossos Throne Room System

2A. LN lugs from the Knossos Throne Room System

2B. LN handles from the Knossos Throne Room System 3A. LN handles from the Knossos Throne Room System 3B. LY handles from the Knossos Throne Room System 4A. LY handles from the Knossos Throne Room System

4B. LN vase with ring base from the Knossos Throne Room System 5A. LN coarse ware from the Knossos Throne Room System

5B. LY LY white washed sherds from the Knossos Throne Room System 6A. LY impressed decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System

6B. LY impressed decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System 7A. LI incised decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System

7B. LY incised decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System BA. LY stamped decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System 8B. LN incised decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System 9A. LI incised decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System 9B. LY grooved decoration from the Knossos Throne Room System

10A. LY pattern burnished sherds from the Knossos Throne Room System 10B. LY scribble burnished sherds from the Knossos Throne Roan System 11A. F1 Kastelli Phournis shaft

11B. A view of the modern water reservoir at Kastelli Phournis 12A. FN Kastelli Phournis high-necked Jar, HM no. 14069

12B. FE Kastelli Phournis high-necked Jar, HX no. 14069 13A. Fy Kastelli Phournis high-necked Jar, HM no. 14078 13B. Fy Kastelli Phournis high-necked Jar, HM no. 14085 14A. F1 Kastelli Phournis amphora, HX no. 14086

14B. FN Kastelli Phournis cylindrical Jar, HX no. 14087

15A. FN Kastelli Phournis narrow-necked Jar, HX no. 14090

15B. FN Kastelli Phournis wide-necked jars, HX nos. 14091,14089 16A. Fy Kastelli Phournis jug, HM no. 14095

16B. Py Kastelli Phournis Jug, HX no. 14094 17A. F1 Kastelli Phournis Jug, HX no. 14093 17B. FIr Kastelli Phournis jug, HX-no. 14084

18A. FY Kastelli Phournis ribbon h&ndles, HX sherd box

18B. FN Kastelli Phournis scribble burnished pottery, HX sherd box



Abbreviations EBA Early Bronze Age

EC Early Cycladic

EH Early Helladic

EX Early Minoan

EN Early Neolithic FN Final Neolithic

HX Herakeion Museum

LK Late Minoan

LN Late Neolithic

xM Middle Minoan

MN Middle Neolithic X or Neo Neolithic

App. Appendix

Ch. Chapter

Fig. Figure

Pl. Plate

Str. Stratum

T Type

Vol. Volume

Abbreviations of periodicals AA Archaeologische Anzeitung

AAA Archeologika Analecta ex Athinon ADeltion Archeologikon Deltion

AJA American Journal of Archeology

AnnuariO Annuario della Scuola Archeologica di Atene BAR British Archaeological Reports

BCH Bulletin de Correspondence Hellenique Bol d' Arte Bolletino d' Arte

BSA Annual of the British School at Athens JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies

Xon. Ant. Monumenti Antici

PPS Proceedings of the Phehistoric Society


- As




This thesis deals with the transition from the Neolithic to the EBA in Crete. This topic has been widely discussed in the literature,

but it has never been studied in a systematic way. Various suggestions have been put forward about the process of the

transition, namely, invasion theories or long pace of internal evolution (Treuil, 1983,516-519; Tzedakis, 1984), while several terms have been proposed for the transitional period, such as "sub-

neolithic" and "chalcolithic" (Evans A., 1921,32; Levi, 1964,5).

However, this subject remains still obscure. The main reason is that most reconstructions are based on pottery typology and the usual attitude is to extrapolate evidence from one site or region and then

formulate a theory of general applicability. In some cases, an effort is made to equate the Anatolian sequence and especially its chalcolithic horizon with FN and EX I Crete.

1. Scope and aimý

The aim of this thesis is to study in detail the totality of pottery evidence from the island and document the process of

transition. In this way, - the accuracy of the reflection of cultural

change on pottery' typology will be evaluated and the validity of previous reconstructions will be tested against a corpus of specific

evidence. As chronological framework we use the F1 horizon, established on a hypothetical level -by Renfrew (1972,71). Its main advantage is that it views, the transitional period as an indepedent

chronological unit. The overall aim is to establish the degree of continuity from the earlier phases of Neolithic to the F1 and then to


special emphasis is put on the technological

aspect of pottery,


is related

to craft


and production

demands. As a


we hope to bring forward a vatiety

of internal















on the transition.


we intend



a firm


framework for

the last

phases of


and the transitional


2. Nethodology

The first problem that emerges is the lack of systematic

publications, the uneven amount of information one can get from the existing ones as well as the different terminologies used for the

description of pottery in them. Another major problem is the relative

obscurity about the pottery typology from FIF Knossos. To overcome these difficulties, we devoted the second volume to a detailed

presentation, in the form of appendices, of twenty-five, published or unpublished, FY and EX I pottery assemblages and their


The main criterion

used for their


is whether

the site

is excavated,

because we consider as less safe for the

purpose of this


the results

of surface


A uniform


is used for the description

of each pottery


and special


is made to give as many as possible quantitative


Of course, due to the nature of evidence, there are still


The f irst volume deals with the discussion and interpretation of evidence. In chapter II, we discuss the I/ EX I stratigraphy and after that follow twelve chapters on pottery typology. Chapters III to VI deal with the neolithic pottery typology and technology from

Knossos and establish the occurrence of a FT phase there. A firm LY to FY sequence is also established from the same site, on the basis of a quantitative and stylistic analysis of pottery. Chapter VII presents a detailed comparative analysis of LIF/ FIF Knossos and FT Phaistos pottery. The following chapter MID gives a synthesis of



comparison. Chapters IX and X deal with the LI/ FY pottery evidence from the rest of the island and its relation to Knossos and Phaistos,

in terms of relative chronology. Chapter XI examines the interaction of pottery function and typology and comes to very interesting

conclusions about how the former determines the latter. Chapter XII deals with a specialised group of FY pottery (the "Partirall group),

which has a strong transitional character. Chapter XIII Presents a thorough survey of the Aegean affinities of F1 Crete and their

implications for relative and absolute chronology. Finally, Chapter XIV gives a detailed description of EX I pottery typology and studies






1. Introduction

This chapter deals with the reconstruction and evaluation of all stratigraphic data available on the X/ EX I transition in Crete. Evidence comes from the twenty-four sites with LI/ FY and/ or EM I deposits which are used as sample in this thesis. Their stratigraphies are presented in detail in the relevant appendices of

volume II. Reconstruction of the evidence is impeded by the almost total lack of undisturbed N/ EX I stratigraphies. Knossos and Phaistos are the main sources of information, since they are the only sites on the island, where big LY/ FY open settlements were succeeded by EX I ones. The first two sections are devoted to these sites,

then, follows a review of the stratigraphies of the remaining ones, which are grouped into f ive categories: FW/ EX I, IF/ EX, LY, FY and EX I sites. The last section has a conclusive character.

2. Knossos

The Neolithic settlement of Knossos lies an the low hill of Kephala, in the Kairatos river valley, in North-Central Crete (Vol.

II, App. I, A; fig. 1). A large Minoan Palace was built right on top of the neolithic settlement. A. Evans and J. D. Evans were the main excavators of the site, but the neolithic evidence has not been put together as yet nor is fully published. The most important neolithic

remains were revealed below the Central and Vest Court of the Palace. More precisely, a full undisturbed Aceramic to LIT sequence was

excavated in Central Court area AC by J. D. Evans (1964, fig. 4; 1964a). This sequence was c. 8 m. deep and included ten strata (X-D




2.1. LI horizontal stratigraphy

Apart from LN Central Court strata II and I, other LY deposits come from the Throne Room System, which lies to the west of the

Central Court, from the 1923-24 A. Evans' strata a (Houses A and B) and b, in the SW corner of Central Court, and from the Vest Court.

Vest Court evidence includes four 1969-70 J. D. Evans' soundings (AA/ BB, EE and FF) and all A. Evans' test-pits with LN material (Vol. II, App. II, Bl-B6). -

The relation of these LY Knossos units, in terms of horizontal

stratigraphy, has already been examined in a different context (Val. II, App. II, B8). There iLbecomes obvious that the LY Throne Room System deposits and Central Court stratum a (Houses A and B) belong

to the stratigraphic horizon of the LY Central Court stratum I. They all lie on a yellow kouskouras spread, which has been followed up by

means of a trench joining stratum I to stratum a. Only A. Evans' stratum b cannot be associated with any other Central Court unit. However, as it becomes obvious in the excavation daybooks Mackenzie,

1923), this stratum has been preserved only over the WE sector of stratum a (Vol. II, App. II, B5). Finally, there is no direct

stratigraphic link between the Central and Vest Court 1,11 deposits.

This gap can be partly bridged with the help of local topography and pottery evidence.

2.2.1/ El I transition

The top LN levels and the EX I deposits have been disturbed by large-scale levelling operations, which preceded the erection of the Minoan Palace of Knossos. The effect of these activities on neolithic

and EX I sequences of all stratigraphic units, referred to aboveg has already been evaluated in a different context (Vol. II, App. II, B7). There tbecomes evident that the effects of levelling were thorough, extensive, and varied according to the topographic position of each



paving of the court. As a result, all EX deposits as well as the top LY levels of stratum I were erased. Moreover, what survived of stratum b was preserved only because it was at a little lower level

that the rest of the deposit. In general, all Central Court LN deposits lay directly below the Minoan paving and, in the case of the Throne Room System, below Minoan floor-, deposits.

Vest Court LY and EX deposits, an the other hand, by lying on a slope, were affected in a somewhat different way. The purpose, there, was to create a terrain for the paving of the court by filling the slope, and EN II debris was brought in to level up the area. As a

result, EN I and EM II deposits, mixed during the process of levelling, appeared under the court pavement. Vest Court LK deposits were-disturbed by smaller-scale levelling operations, preceding the

foundations of EX II houses, which did not go as deep as those for the Palace in the Central Court, but, nonSheless, explain the

occurrence of mixed LN/ EM deposits in the top neolithic levels of the Vest Court soundings and test-pits. Only in sounding FF. which

lies a little further down the slope, the LY deposit was preserved at

a somewhat higher level.

All in all, Minoan levelling resulted in the removal of the top LY levels of stratum I and of all EN deposits from the Central Court

and in the mixing of the EX I/ EX II and LN/ EM deposits in the Vest Court. There are only two areas in the Vest Court, where pure, but

not "in situ" EX deposits appear above LK ones. The first one is a small cutting into the top LN levels of sounding FF with EN IB

material and the second one is an EX III fill stratified above the LY levels of test-pit K 115 (Vol. II, App. II, B6, B8).

It is obvious that, with the exception of the EX IB fill from Vest Court sounding FF, there is no stratified EX I evidence from Knossos. Levelling operations are again responsible for the disturbance of this part of the Knossos sequence. Such activities


case of the EX IIA house from West Court sounding AA/ BB has shown that smaller-scale levelling took place prior to the construction of

this house and disturbed the underlying EX I levels (App. II, B6, pp. 29-30). The total lack of stratified deposits or architectural

remains could indicate a discontinuation of habitation in -EX I. However, the amount and quality of EX I pottery recovered from the

site speak for an occupation in this period. As Wilson (1984,29-30)

points out, the absence of f irm EX I evidence may be due to the extensive and successive levelling operations or to some decline in

occupation in this period.

Although it has not been possible to establish an undisturbed LN/ EX I sequence from Knossos, several important conclusions can be drawn in relation to the X/ EX I transition. First, levelling is a

crucial factor for the understanding of the NI EX I stratigraphy,

since it was a standard foundation procedure at Knossos. The more detailed a reconstruction of its mechanism and effects, the better

and clearer the picture of the pre-levelling Stratigraphy. Second, one should not expect to find traces of the I/ EX I transition in the Central Court. Finally, the LIF Vest Court evidence and sounding FF in

particular, must preserve a bigger part of the LY sequence than#%f- Central Court, because of the topography in this part of the hill.

2.3. Knossos stratigraphy in the literature

Several reconstructions

of the IF/ EX I Knossos stratigraphy


been attempted

in the archaeological



A. Evans

(1904, ' fig.

7; 1921, fig.

4) presented an undisturbed I/ EX sequence

from the Vest Court,

where above the Neolithic

came a thin




succeeded by an EX I, EN II and EM III


7his sequence was later


by Varren (1965,17,24-25)

and by



who reconstructed,

ln the place of the usub-


mixed Ir/ EX levels.


2 7'

31). There, it is established that A. Evans' reconstruction is an "idealised" stratigraphic sequence, which was put together by combining data from eight separate Vest Court test-pits. It seems,

then, reasonable to suppose that A. Evans put forward a schematic sequence of all pottery phases he was able to identify among the material excavated from Vest Court, without paying attention to strictly stratigraphic data. However, he does not seem to have a clear picture of the character of the "sub-neolithic" pottery and period. In one case (Evans A., 1904,22-24), he includes in it various LY and EX types of ware and fabric, while in a later study

he characterises it as a homogeneous period of "decadence

... and transition to new methods" (Evans A., 1921,38,56).

A more general remark on Knossos stratigraphy is made by Renfrew (1972,71), who attributes the LN Central Court stratum I to a hypothetical FR horizon. He does not put forward any stratigraphic or pottery typology arguments to support his suggestion. He Just

includes Knossos stratum 1 11 a short list of sites he considers as FR. According to him, the term "Fl" should replace "sub-neolithic* in the characterisation of the latest phase of the Neolithic. His Knossos choice of data, though, is not very successful, since stratum I pottery does not belong to the latest neolithic phase of

Knossos, but is very closely related to strat. um II (Vol. II, App. II* C2). Moreover, there are stratigraphic reasons (1.2), which indicate

that such a phase should be looked for in the Vest and not in the Central Court where the top LY levels were removed.

Latert Vagnetti (and Belli, 1978,132,157) adopts Renfrew's FN horizon for Crete, but she does not agree with him about a FY date

for Knossos stratum I. She makes the point that the pottery typology of this stratum is too close to that of LY stratum II and, therefore,

should belong to the same period. She also makes clear that stratum I should be earlier than FN Phaistos. On the other hand, Warren (1980, 489) assigns Knossos -stratum I to the FN and CaJogan (1983,508) to



Central Court A. Evans' 1923- , 24 successive strata a (Houses A and B) and b have been also discussed in the literature. First, A. Evans

(1921,38) dated stratum b to the "sub-nealithic" period, but later he viewed it as similar to the LY stratum a (Evans A., 1928,8-12).

Warren (1965,30, note 11; 1969,109, note 1) attributed stratum b to the EX I period, based on pottery illustrations published by A. Evans

(1928, fig. 3). However, as it has been demonstrated in a different

context (Val. II, App. II, C4, p. 48), stratum b evidence is not valid, because all pottery from it was nixed with that of stratum a. Moreover, most of the EN I shapes identified by Warren are not

mentioned in the daybooks of the excavation, where only "pedestalled chalices" of a possible EX I date are reported (Ch. IV, 2.1.1).

Finally, stratum b is too poorly preserved to be considered as an undisturbed piece of evidence (Vol. II, App. II, B5).


(and Belli,






and the LK date of stratum a Houses A and B. She agrees with

J. D. Evans (1964,184,

-188; 1971,113)

that stratum a lies,

in terms

of horizontal


above stratum


but she argues that


only means that


is later

than stratum II.

She uses this

argument to support a F1 date for strata a and b. However, J. D. Evans makes clear, in the same publications she quotes, that stratum a belongs to the stratigraphic horizon of stratum I, since the same

yellow kouskouras layer, which seals stratum II, underlies LI strata I and a (Vol. II, App. II, B8).

All studies, referred to, up to now, are general and tend to put forward various reconstructions of the I/ EX I Knossos sequences without discussion or documentation. In this sense they all are hypothetical. Only Vagnetti offers supporting arguments for her suggestions, but yet again her documentation is not careful or detailed. What is apparent in all of them, is that they try to

identify a NI EX I transitional phase in the Central Court. For this reason, they choose the latest stratigraphic units from this court, namely stratum I and strata a and b, and propose different dates,



attributing stratum b to EX I, is somewhat different, because he tries to locate a stratified EX I deposit and not the latest phase of the Keolithic UP, but he makes an unfortunate choice of data, from

the stratigraphic point of view.

As it has been demonstrated in the previous section (2-2), Central Court is not the place to look for traces of the I/ EX I

transition, since, as a result of levelling, the top LY levels of stratum I as well as all EX evidence has been erased. It is in the Vest Court where such traces may survive, because this part was less deeply affected by Xinoan levelling. This was first realised by the

main excavator of the neolithic settlement of Knossos, J. D. Evans fAe

(1971,97). His excavation into the neolithic levels of West Court (soundings AA/ BB, EE, FF), although it did not reveal EX I deposits

stratified above LY or FN ones, brought to light evidence of the F1 occupation in sounding FF (Vol. II, ' App. II, CM Vilson (1984,22-

27) agrees with J. D. Evans and reaches the same conclusion about the effects of levelling on the LY and EX deposits of the Central Court.

He also recognises the importance of Vest Court and sounding FF for the understanding of the Fl/ EX I transition at Knossos.

3. Phaistos

The neolithic settlement of Phaistos lies on a rocky hill close to the Yerokampos river in the plain of Xessara (Vol. II, App. III# A; fig. 1). As at Knossos, a large XX-LM Palace was built right on

top of it. Pernier and Levi were the main excavators of the site, while Vagnetti (1972) published in detail the neolithic settlement.

Neolithic remains came to light everywhere beneath the Palace -and belong to a single period, the FR. EX I material was mainly found in



3.1. FIr stratigraphy

The FN stratigraphy of Phaistas is presented in detail in a different context (Vol. II, App. III, B). Data from all sixteen

soundings Q-XVI) sampled by Vagnetti (1972) are put together and their stratigraphies are summarised on three tables (Vol. II, App.

III, Tables 1-3). Soundings are spret around the Central Court, the South Sector and the Vest Court of the Palace and one of them (XVI)

lies in the area of Chalara, A the foot of the Phaistos hill. The emerging picture is that of purely FN deposits stratified below mixed FNI EM ones or sealed below Minoan floor deposits. Although the stratigraphies of the sixteen soundings differ among them, it was possible to reconstruct two general FN strata at Phaistos (Vol. II,

App. III, Bl).

3.2.1/ EX I transition

There is no concrete evidence f or a smooth undisturbed Fl/ EX I transition from Phaistos. The occurrence of mixed Fl/ EX deposits or Minoan floors above the top FY strata indicates that levelling

operations caused the same type of disturbance at Phaistos as at Knossos. The scale of the Minoan edifice itself dictated large-scale

levelling for the creation of flat building platforms by filling in sloping ground and truncating higher points. As a result, no pure EM

I deposit was found at Phaistos, with the exception of an EM stratum above the FN deposit in Central Court sounding V (Vol. II, App. III, Table 1). The pottery from this stratum may belong to the EX I period

(Varren, 1965,17; Vilson, 1984,254). Finally, the same question arises here, as at Knossos (2.2), about the validity of the evidence

on the existence of an EX I settlement at Phaistos, since no architectural remains have been found. The answer is the same. Minoan

levelling must

-be responsible



3.3. Phaistos stratigraphy In the literature

, The F1 stratigraphy of Phaistos has not been the subJect of long discussions in the literature.

-Right from the beginning it was realised that the site was occupied during a single period and was universally accepted that this was the latest phase of Cretan Neolithic. At this point problems start and concern different

interpretations of the co-occurrence of neolithic and EM I pottery in mixed deposits beneath the Minoan Palace. Mosso (1908) in his review

of pottery styles of the two periods presents them as a single unit. Pernier (1935,85-106), an the contrary, draws a firm dividing- line between the two and considers then as belonging to two successive

periods. However, none of then discusses the disturbance caused by Minoan levelling operations.

Levi 1 (1964,4)

was f irst

to speak of the removal of deep and




from the top of the hill

and the use of

the material

swept away for


other areas further

down the






the Palace.

The problem is



he aknowledges the disturbance

thus caused to the



he seens to ignore its possible effects on the EX I


of the site.


by the "beauty"

and variety

of the

Phaistos neolithic


he characterises

it as "chalcolithic"


views it as belonging to a flourishing

period of creativy

and opening

up to new influences

from the Aegean and Anatolia.

According to him,


Minoan Palace



from this






the duration

and independence of this


he uses the occurrence of undisturbed neolithic


in the

Central Court area (Vol. II, App. III,

Table 1).

Vhen he comes to the discussion of the EX I period at Phaistos (Levi, 1964,5), though, he views it as a short transitional phase between the latest phase of Neolithic (his "chalcolithic") and the XX Palace era. He uses as stratigraphic evidence, this time, the presence of' small numbers of EX I sherds among the purely neolithic




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