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Defensible Sites in Crete c. 1200 - 800 B.C.
(LM IIIB/IIIC through Early Geometric)

Authors:  Nowicki K.
Year: 2000
ISBN: 978-90-429-2420-8
Pages: 293 p. + LIV pl.
Price: 75 EURO

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Shortly before 1200 B.C. the Aegean, and soon afterwards much of the East Mediterranean, was shaken by disturbances and destructions which considerably changed the settlement patterns, as well as the political and social structures of those lands. This led to the decline of the Mycenaean world which eventually caused the so-called Dark Age in Greece. Crete, being an island located on the cross-roads between the Greek Mainland, Sicily and South Italy, and the Levant, may have been particularly affected by the problems referred to in ancient written sources under the name of "the Sea Peoples". The Dark Age in Crete is potentially better represented than in other areas of the Aegean and explorations in the mountainous hinterland of the island have shown site numbers and a density of habitation only vaguely suggested by the excavated samples of sites.

This book is based on fifteen years of field research presenting about 120 defensible sites with comprehensive descriptions, sketches, plans and illustrations of surface pottery. Archaeological evidence (in a large part hitherto unpublished) is analysed in detail to reconstruct changes in settlement patterns alongside the political, social, ethnic and economic aspects of the Dark Age society in Crete. The problem of the function of defensible and fortified sites during the Dark Age is examined against a more general background of similar sites on the island from the Neolithic through the Bronze Age. The phenomenon of defensible settlements founded c. 1200 B.C. is discussed here in a wider Mediterranean context with reference to other Aegean islands, Cyprus and the Levant. One chapter presents the historical written sources from the Near East and Egypt which contain references to events that might have caused the dramatic changes suggested in archaeological evidence towards the end of the Bronze Age.

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