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Knossos: area of South-west Houses, early Hellenic occupation

  • H. W. Catling, J. Nicolas Coldstream (a1) and Colin F. Macdonald (a2)

Abstract

In 1992–93 excavations were conducted in central Knossos, among the Minoan houses south-west of the Palace. This article describes the unexpectedly large amount of post-Minoan occupation there, casting new light on the extent to which the Hellenic town encroached upon the allegedly deserted Palace area. One Minoan house, much ruined, proved to have been reoccupied in the tenth century BC and again in the seventh. Nearby, a well-preserved pottery kiln of the early seventh century was discovered, and also a paved road of the fifth century which apparently ran across the ruins of the Minoan houses.

The pottery and other finds are presented in fourteen stratified deposits, mainly of the Early Protogeometric, Early Orientalizing, Late Archaic, and Classical periods. These are supplemented by important unpublished pieces from Evans's soundings in the immediate neighbourhood, confirming the extensive seventh-century reoccupation of the site.

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1 CFM was director in all seasons and JNC joined the team in 1993 to supervise the excavation of some of the more important Early Hellenic deposits. His presence kept post-Minoan confusion at bay. Stuart Thorne was the first to uncover post-Minoan remains in Trench 2 (EO Deposit J). Eleni Hatzaki and Ilse Schoep were chiefly responsible for Trenches 1, 3, and 7 (Deposits C, F, G, and H). Jan Driessen uncovered E-MPG Deposit E as well as the great Pit X or Deposit K in Trench 6. JNC recovered Deposits J and L–O in Trench 5. CFM was responsible for Deposits A and B from Trench 8. Assistants were Sara Jansson, Hilary Meyrick, David Fell, and Jonathan Tomlinson. Graham George untangled site plans and surveyed the excavation after it had taken place. CFM drew all the period/individual trench plans (Figs. 2–5). Jan Verstraete ran the potshed with Ann Aertsen, who was also invaluable in later study seasons. Most of the pot drawings are by Nicola Coldstream with a few from ‘Deposit’ X having been drawn by Ann Thomas. Inkings are by William Worsley and Stephania Chlouveraki. Abbreviations:

D = diameter; H. height; L. = length; PL = preserved length; PH = preserved height; DB = diameter of base; DR = diameter of rim.

Abbreviations for ceramic periods are those used in AR.

BPK = Hood, M. S. F. and Taylor, W., The Bronze Age Palace at Knossos: Plan and Sections (BSA supp. vol. 13, 1981).

DPK = Popham, M. R., The Destruction of the Palace at Knossos (Göteborg, 1970).

F = Brock, J. K., Fortetsa, , Early Greek Tombs near Knossos (Cambridge, 1957).

GGP = Coldstream, J. N., Greek Geometric Pottery (London, 1968).

KNC = Coldstream, J.N. and Catling, H. W. (eds), Knossos, the North Cemetery: Early Greek Tombs (4 vols.) (BSA supp. vol. 28, 1996).

KS 3 = Hood, M. S. F. and Smyth, D., Archaeological Survey of the Knossos Area (2nd edn; BSA supp. vol. 14, 1981).

PGP = Desborough, V. R. d'A., Protogeometric Pottery, (Oxford, 1952).

Strat. Guide = Pendlebury, J. D. S., Pendlebury, H. W., Eccles, E., and Money-Coutts, M., Guide to the Stratigraphical Museum in the Palace at Knossos, 3 parts (London, 19331935).

UM II = Sackett, L. H. et al. , Knossos: From Greek City to Roman Colony. Excavations at the Unexplored Mansion. (BSA supp. vol. 21, 1992).

2 PM ii, 390; ‘in all seven good houses … have sprung up close round or actually within the borders of the South-West Palace Angle in the period immediately succeeding the great Earthquake, none of which seems to have remained inhabited after the middle of the First Late Minoan Period’.

3 Strat. Guide.

4 BPK.

5 DPK, pl.5 b from N–W House.

6 It is of interest to note that amongst the vast amount of debris in Hellenistic pits were fragments of moulds for ‘Megarian’ bowls. In addition, the ashy levels of Deposit B had at one time seemed to resemble kiln debris and we imagined that, with the EO kiln, a traditional potters’ quarter had been discovered. The Euboean and Attic PG in Deposit B (Euboean B 41, Attic B42–7) argue against this theory, although the Hellenistic moulds remain good evidence for later ceramic production in the general area. It is not possible to argue for any continuity based on the small area excavated, and the chronological gaps in occupation must be noted. However, the idea of a traditional Iron Age potters’ quarter may be worth recording in a footnote, to be dismissed or confirmed by future discoveries.

7 A comment on the analysis of kiln sherds through NAA by Jonathan Tomlinson at the Dimokratos laboratory in Athens will appear elsewhere.

8 F 146, no. 205; cf. BSA 55 (1960) 129–30, I. 1; 145.

9 KNC 302–3 (SM), 331–2 (PG).

10 Cf. KNC pl. 94, T. 18.18; pl. 98, T. 24.4.

11 Desborough, , PGP 245; KNC 332–3.

12 Cf. KNC pl. 179, T. 175.36.

13 Boardman, , BSA 55 (1960), 142, vase B, pl. 32.

14 Cf. especially F, no. 224, from the MPG Tomb V.

15 For origins in LM IIIC: BSA 67 (1972), 66. For SM: Popham, , UM II, 64, pl. 47 d 1.

16 SM: BSA 67 (1972), 68, A.l, fig. 1. EPG: BSA 55 (1960), 142, VIII. 15, pl. 33.

17 KNC 312, class B (ii). For our B 11 cf. BSA 67 (1972) 72, B. 20, pl. 16.

18 KNC 368–9.

19 For E7 cf. BSA 67 (1972), 71, B. 16, pl. 16.

20 Cf. F, pl. 11 no. 168 (spirals); BSA 29 (1927–8) 232, no. 4, and 270, fig. 32 no. 25 (circles).

21 F. 160–1; KNC 370.

22 KNC 374, class c (i).

23 KNC pl. 184, T. 207.7; here B 43.

24 KNC 373–4, class B (iii).

25 Cf. KNC 385, fig. 65,J.37.

26 Sznycer, M., Kadmos, 18 (1979), 8993; KNC, fig. 157.

27 Earliest evidence, so far, is a graffito on a coarse pithos from Phaistos, c. 700 BC: Levi, D., KCh 21 (1969), 153; Jeffery, L. H., Local Scripts of Archaic Greece, ed. Johnston, A. W. (Oxford, 1990) 468, 8 a.

28 e.g. BSA 55 (1960), pl. 34, V.2; BSA 67 (1972), pl. 14, A. 12; AR 29 (1983), 65, fig. 62.

29 BSA 67 (1972), 67.

30 Popham, , UM II, 6061, pl. 43.1–6: KNC 385, class A.

31 SM: Popham, , UM II, 61 (‘other cups’), pl. 43.7–8. SM-EPG: BSA 67 (1972), 69, A26, pl. 15. On the development of the shape, not easily apparent in our fragments, see KNC 385, class B.

32 KNC 391, class A.

33 UM II, 65, 86.

34 KNC 400.

35 PGP 80, Type IV a; 86–7, contexts.

36 PGP 88; cf. Wells, B., Asine II. 2. 49, Type 1 a.

37 PGP 37–40, pl 6, top; for another import to Knossos, KNC 396, pl. 65,J.23.

38 PGP 9–11, class A 1.

39 Desborough, , Lefkandi I, 335–6. Lefkandian MPG amphorae still have full circles on the shoulder: Catling, R. W. V. in Lefkandi II. 1, 3740.

40 Lefkandi I, pl. 177, T. 18.1; pl. 152, P. Pyre 11.1 (smaller).

41 F, pl. 7, no. 59: KNC 376–7, class B (Q110, 207.36).

42 UM II, 63, pls. 42.2, 47 a. 13.

43 SM: AR 29 (1983) 67, fig. 66. EPG: F,. pl. 4, no. 45.

44 Catling, H. W., Cypriot Bronzework in the Mycenaean World (Oxford, 1964), 215, pl. 39.

45 E.g. F, no. 188, pl. 13, from Tomb XI.

46 BSA 67 (1972), 64.

47 Popham, , UM II, 65. Small and deep-bell skyphoi like pl. 43.10 could well be EPG.

48 Warren, , AR 29 (1983), 7683. EPG: perhaps p. 83, fig. 65, R.

49 Here A 21, A 25. RR: BSA 67 (1972), 68–9, ff., nos. 1, 10, 12, 14, 18, 27.

50 Here A 31. RR: BSA 67 (1972) 70, A 30, pl. 15.

51 BSA 67 (1972), 71ff. nos. 1, 8, 18, 20.

52 Brock, F. 214; cf. KNC 409–12.

53 KNC 394–6, (amphorae), 398–9, (kraters).

54 GGP 98, pl. 183; Orlandini, P., Atti e Memorie della Società Magna Grecia n. s. 15–17 (19741976) 177–86, with references.

55 GGP 180. Other imports of Parian: KNC 405.

56 Cf. Lefkandi I, pl. 36.2, 5, 10. Another Euboean LG skyphos, of a slightly later type, occurs in the North Cemetery: KNC T. 60.2, fig. 93.

57 RDAC 1984, 127 ff., 12–15, 16–37; KNC 406–7.

58 KNC 376, class C (iii) of kraters; class D of neck-handled amphorae.

59 Cf. n. 16 above.

60 KNC 318–19, class B(i), the Horse workshop.

61 Cf. UM II, 82.

62 KNC 327 ff; for Z 4, of class A (i); for X 3–4, class A (iii); for X 5 and Y 4, class B (ii).

63 Cf. KNC 354, class C (iv).

64 For this feature in mainland LG schools see GGP 206 n. 1.

65 Close to F, motif 16ar, mainly EO (p. 184).

66 KNC 422–3, class I c, Circle pithoi.

67 Cf. BSA 73 (1978), 48, pl. 10.4.

68 For LG, cf. KNC 330, class B (iii), especially pl. 175, T. 134.56; for EO, cf. KNC 427, class I A, especially fig. 140, T. 285.73.

69 KNC 428, class B (i), where cf. pl. 253, T. 294.27 (EO).

70 BSA 73 (1978), 45, nos. 1–2, pl. 10.

71 Cf. BSA 68 (1973), 35, fig. 1, H 11, 24–5, rims; BSA 73 (1978) 46, no. 5, pl. 10 and UM II 84, GF 1, pl. 66, bracket with circles.

72 Cf. BSA 73 (1978), 51, no. 14, fig. 7, pl. 11.

73 F. 159, class J, pl. 72.

74 Cf. BSA 73 (1978), 51, no. 26, fig. 8, pl. 12 for shape.

75 BSA 73 (1978), 59, nos. 17, 25, pl. 12.

76 Cf. BSA 55 (1960), 163–4, nos 39 (LG) and 40 (EO) figs. 6–7; BSA 68 (1973), 35, H 31, J 20; UM II, 84, GF 8–13.

77 In two contexts of LO, both in rubbish deposits in wells, cf. BSA 73 (1978), 56, no. 39, fig. 9, pl. 13; UM II, 84, GG 6, pl. 67.

78 KNC 453–4.

79 Cf. BSA 73 (1978), 46, no. 8, fig. 1 (EO).

80 F. 166, class B(iii); KNC 387–8, class D (iii), LG; 457, class A, LO.

81 e.g. KNC fig. 139, T. 285.35, with a slightly higher lip.

82 BSA 73 (1978), 47, no. 14, fig. 1.

83 Cf. KNC 457.

84 F. 167, class E(ii), where cf. pl. 102, nos. 1236 and 1245.

85 Here the dipping of G 33 is a rare exception.

86 LG/EO: BSA 55 (1960), 169–70, nos. 108–10, fig. 14, pl. 47 b; BSA 67 (1972), 78 (on fabric); 7, F 20–2, fig. 8, pl. 23. EO: BSA 73 (1978), 47, nos. 16–19, fig. 1.

87 PAE 1971, 278, no. 29, pl. 294a (Mastamba); KNC 459, under G, T. 292.17, pl. 234.

88 BSA 68 (1973), 36; UM II, 84

89 For the rim profile of H 18 cf. three decorated LO pieces, BSA 68 (1973), 39, fig. 2, J 28, and K. 16–17.

90 For the intervening phases see UM II, pl. 52, GC 13 (PGB–EG); pl. 55, GD 34 (MG) and GE 26 (LG). For EO, cf. BSA 73 (1978), 47, no. 22, fig. 2.

91 On changes in fabric and shape see UM II, 86. For our F 23 cf. UM II, pl. 57, GF 24.

92 On Euboean SOS amphorae see Johnston, A. W., BSA 73 (1978), 111–12, 133.

93 In particular, all three of these deposits show close correspondence with the Telegraph Pole pit dug in 1968, containing many complete EO shapes: BSA 73 (1978), 45–9.

94 Amphora (?), H 2; aryballos, H 9; pyxides, H 10–11; tall cups, H 30–31.

95 See, most recently, KNC 722, n. 1644.

96 BSA 68 (1973), 45–60, pls. 18–25 (Deposit L); UM II, 89–93, pls. 74–6 (Deposits H 1–4); BSA 73 (1978), 6–15, nos. 10–41, pls. 2–4. References to these sources of comparable pottery will be abbreviated here as RR/H, UM II, and Glaukos, followed by the catalogue numbers in the publications.

97 e.g. BSA 53–4 (1958–9), pl. 4c, Old Smyrna; Tarsus III, 326–7, fig. 150. Exports to Athens: Agora XII, 200, pl. 70, nos. 1579–85.

98 Cf. UM II, H 4.7 (c. 500–475). Perhaps the petals were introduced as early as LO (our H 4).

99 AR 31 (1985), 127, fig. 61, c.450; BSA 45 (1950). 172–3, no. 4, pl. 12 D–E, c. 400; BSA 52 (1957), 228, fig. 2, 4th cent.

100 e.g. Knossos: Sanctuary of Demeter (BSA supp. vol. 8, 1972), 56, FF 33–4. Pl. 18.

101 e.g. UM II, H 2.8 (c.500–475); BSA 45 (1950), 172 no. 2, pl. 13 A d (c.400).

102 Cf. RR/H 23, with discussion there.

103 BSA 73 (1978), 11–12, Type I, fig. 8; cf. Catling, , BSA 72 (1977) 99, P 5–7, fig. 6, pl. 23d–f; also UM II, H 1A.1.

104 Hesperia 7 (1938), 601–4, nos. 176–83 figs. 24–6.

105 On Attic counterparts see Agora XII, 213; BSA 68 (1973). 47.

106 Indeed, a similar profile occurs even in the early 4th-cent. context of the Classical kiln deposit: cf. BSA 45 (1950), 173, no. 6, fig. 9 b.

107 Callaghan, , UM II, 92. We do not yet know how far the two types of foot overlapped in time. For a possible occurrence of the smeared foot in a 6th cent, context, cf. UM II, 86, GG 15, pl. 57.

108 Callaghan, , BSA 73 (1978), 68, fig. 5.

109 Ibid, 9–10, fig. 6.

110 Athens: Agora IV, type 21A, cf. nos. 156–7. Corinth IV. 2, type IV, cf. fig. 14 nos. 17, 18.

111 Cf. Hesperia 15 (1946), 310, no. 192, pl. 58 = Agora XXIII, 23, no. 479 (P 2571), pl. 46; also Samothrace IV. 2, 180, no. 77, and another import to Knossos, , BSA 68 (1973), M 15, pl. 26.

112 Moore, and Philippides, , Agora XXIII, 150, no. 391 (P 12561), ‘Antimenean’; pl. 38.

113 Cf. Hesperia 15 (1946), 315, no. 221, pl. 62; Gjerstad, E., Greek Geometric and Archaic Pottery Found in Cyprus (Stockholm, 1977), 49, nos. 458–64, pls. 45–6; RR/H 85–9.

114 Sparkes, and Talcott, , Agora XII, 84; cf. nos. 336–40, pl. 16, 500–470 BC.

115 Ibid. 82–3, cf. nos. 315–16, pl. 14.

116 Cf. Ibid. nos. 342–3, pl. 16.

117 Cf. Ibid. 109–10, nos. 573–8, pl. 25.

118 Young, R. S., Corinth XIII, 124, group (i), possibly with a rayed or reserved lower body; cf. especially 214, grave 259–2, pl. 34, 500–480 BC.

119 Fouilles de Delphes V, pl. 16.

120 Spiteris, , The Art of Cyprus (London, 1970), col. pl. on p. 193.

121 Babelon, E. and Blanchet, J. A., Bronzes antiques de la Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris, 1895), 478–9, no. 1157.

122 The Technique of Greek Bronze Statuary (Mainz, 1992), 25.

123 ‘Bronze-joining: a study in ancient technology’, in Doeringer, S., Mitten, D. G., and Steinberg, A., Art and Technology: A Symposium on Classical Bronzes (Cambridge, Mass, 1970), 535, especially 7–9, ‘Mechanical Joins’.

124 Haynes (n. 122), 93–4, and 102–3, with fig. 8.

125 Die Bronzegefäße von Olympia, Olympische Forschungen, xx (1991). 243–8.

126 PM, 432.

127 Pendlebury, J.D.S., Archaeology of Crete (London, 1939), 305.

128 PM ii, 5–7. For later discussions of material from the Sanctuary cf. Hartley, in BSA 31 (19301931), 92 and Popham, in BSA 73 (1978), 185–7, where the earliest amphoriskos is placed by Callaghan in the first half of the 5th cent. BC. Note, however, that Hartley appears to have removed ‘Geometric’ material, perhaps implying that the sacred nature of the area could be older. Evans was clearly taken with the idea of the site of the Palace being used, in post-Minoan times, for the House of Rhea and a grove of cypresses as mentioned in Diodorus Siculus v. 66.

129 KS 2, nos. 186, 188, 213–14.

130 BSA 67 (1972), 68–73.

131 UM II, 59–66.

132 Warren, P. M., ‘stratigraphical Museum Excavations, 1978–82, Part II’, AR 29 (1983), 76–87.

133 BSA 67 (1972), 85–6; KS 2 no. 206.

134 Listed in UM II, 87, first six entries.

135 BSA 68 (1973) 60, nos. 117–18, pl. 25.

Knossos: area of South-west Houses, early Hellenic occupation

  • H. W. Catling, J. Nicolas Coldstream (a1) and Colin F. Macdonald (a2)

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