Pietro Militello


This article presents a review of surviving fixed installations in the two nearby sites of Phaistos and Ayia Triada from MM I to LM IB, in order to clarify some issues concerning centralization (physical concentration of activities in proximity to a central place) or decentralization (dislocation of activities in the territory, controlled via officials) of production in Minoan palatial Crete. In contrast to other kinds of evidence, such as tools, fixed installations permit the identification of working areas without any doubt. When they are close to a major building, such as a palace or a villa, they can indicate centralization of production. Following on from previous work by Alberti, 12 installations have been identified in the two sites, which were involved in pottery production (Phaistos: kiln from the western area, kilns in Court 90; Ayia Triada: kiln), liquid processing, sometimes dying activities (Phaistos: Room XX, Vasca XXX (?), Vano LX/101; Chalara: Room Alfa; Ayia Triada: Vano del Pistrinum, Casa del LebeteVano 9 (?), weaving (AyiaTriada: Casa delle Sfere Fittili) and some unspecified activities (Phaistos, Vano CV; AyiaTriada, Villa, Vano 45). The chronology spans from MM II (Phaistos, Room XX, Vasca XXX, Vano CV) to MM IIB (Phaistos, kiln to the west), to MM III (VanoLX/101), and LM IB (all the evidence from Ayia Triada). The chronology of the kilns of court 90 at Phaistos is unfortunately uncertain (MM III or LM I or LM IB or LM II). A general trend can be detected: the central building does not seem to be interested in direct control of production, with the exception of some specific kinds of textiles, and the manufacture of many items seems to be performed well outside palatial control. Only in some periods (as at the very end of MM IIB and the beginning of MM IIIA) do the elites seem to make an attempt to gain a stronger control, but the LM IB kiln from Ayia Triada seems more likely to be the product of a strategy aimed at reinforcing cohesion and consensus through the building of a state sponsored facility than the result of an interest in exerting a strict control over pottery manufacture.

Parole chiave

Phaistos; Festòs; Aghia Triada; Working installations; Pottery production

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