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THE ARCHAEOBOTANY OF NEOLITHIC AND BRONZE AGE CRETE: SYNTHESIS AND PROSPECTS

  • Alexandra Livarda (a1) and Georgia Kotzamani (a2)
Abstract

This paper explores the full potential of archaeobotanical research in the investigation of issues such as agricultural practices and resource management and mobilisation in shaping the social dynamics of Neolithic and Bronze Age Crete, through a synthesis for the first time of all available archaeobotanical information to date. To this body of data new information is added from six sites: Kephala Petras, Pryniatikos Pyrgos, Aghia Fotia, Knossos Little Palace North, Sissi and Zominthos. A comprehensive methodology is devised using three units of analysis to allow an in-depth study, firstly of the quality of the available dataset and secondly of its content. A total of 80 archaeobotanical records, compiled in one database, are examined in the light of the methods employed for their sampling, recovery and processing. The reliability of the current dataset is assessed, highlighting shortcomings; methodological issues are addressed to improve its quality. These records are then analysed according to their temporal, spatial and contextual distribution across the island. A synthesis of the full resource base, including cereals, legumes, fruits, nuts, condiments and wild species, is conducted, providing a contextualised picture of their availability and use, and identifying lacunae and interpretational potential. On these bases a research agenda is set and future research priorities and new approaches are suggested that place archaeobotany in the core of current archaeological discourse on social models, practices and meanings for prehistoric Crete.

Η αρχαιοβοτανική της Κρήτης κατά τη Νεολιθική και την Εποχή Χαλκού: σύνθεση και προοπτικές

Το άρθρο αυτό εξετάζει τη δυναμική της αρχαιοβοτανικής έρευνας στη διερεύνηση ζητημάτων σχετικών με τη συμβολή των αγροτικών πρακτικών και της διαχείρισης και διακίνησης των φυτικών πόρων στη διαμόρφωση των κοινωνικών δομών της Κρήτης κατά τη Νεολιθική και την Εποχή Χαλκού, μέσα από τη σύνθεση, για πρώτη φορά, όλων των διαθέσιμων έως σήμερα αρχαιοβοτανικών δεδομένων. Στο πληροφοριακό αυτό σύνολο προστίθενται νέες σχετικές μαρτυρίες από έξι ακόμη αρχαιολογικές θέσεις (Κεφάλα Πετρά, Πρινιάτικος Πύργος, Αγία Φωτιά, Μικρό Ανάκτορο Κνωσσού-Βόρεια, Σίσσυ και घώμινθος). Μέσα από μια νέα, ολοκληρωμένη μεθοδολογική προσέγγιση, που χρησιμοποιεί τρεις ενότητες ανάλυσης, επιχειρείται η σε βάθος μελέτη του περιεχομένου και της ποιότητας των αρχαιοβοτανικών δεδομένων. Ένα σύνολο από 80 εγγραφές, συγκεντρωμένες σε μια κοινή βάση δεδομένων, εξετάζεται ως προς τη μεθοδολογία δειγματοληψίας, συλλογής και επεξεργασίας των αρχαιοβοτανικών δεδομένων. Παράλληλα, επιχειρείται η αποτίμηση της αξιοπιστίας του συνόλου των διαθέσιμων αρχαιοβοτανικών πληροφοριών, υπογραμμίζονται πιθανές ερευνητικές αδυναμίες και προτείνονται μεθοδολογικές διόδοι για την ποιοτική τους βελτίωση. Στη συνέχεια ακολουθεί η ανάλυση των σχετικών δεδομένων με βάση τη χρονική και χωρική τους κατανομή στο νησί λαμβάνοντας υπόψιν την αρχαιολογική τους συνάφεια. Μέσα από αυτήν την αναλυτική προσέγγιση προκύπτει μία σύνθεση ολόκληρου του φάσματος των φυτικών πόρων (δημητριακά, όσπρια, φρούτα, καρποί, αρωματικά φυτά και στοιχεία της άγριας χλωρίδας), διερευνάται η διαθεσιμότητα και οι πιθανές χρήσεις τους και αναγνωρίζονται τα κενά και η ερμηνευτική δυναμική των αρχαιοβοτανικών δεδομένων. Με βάση αυτά επιχειρείται, τέλος, η συγκρότηση ενός ερευνητικού πλαισίου και προτείνονται μελλοντικές προτεραιότητες και προσεγγίσεις της έρευνας, που τοποθετούν την αρχαιοβοτανική στον πυρήνα του σύγχρονου αρχαιολογικού διαλόγου που πραγματεύεται τις έννοιες των κοινωνικών μοντέλων, πρακτικών και νοημάτων αναφορικά με την προϊστορική Κρήτη.

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Corresponding author
Alexandra.Livarda@nottingham.ac.uk
References
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