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Palaikastro Shells and Bronze Age Purple-Dye Production in the Mediterranean Basin

  • David S. Reese
Abstract

The 1963 excavation at Palaikastro-Kastri in eastern Crete produced about 150 marine shells. The species preserved are listed in Table 1, and their date and context in Table 2. Significant shells from the collection are compared with other Minoan examples in Part I. The shell evidence for purple-dye production at Palaikastro is studied along with the other evidence from the Bronze Age Mediterranean in Part II.

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Acknowledgements. I thank L. H. Sackett for allowing me to study the 1963 shells in 1980 at the Stratigraphic Museum at Knossos and for providing information on their date and context. The study was undertaken while the 1980–1 recipient of the Harriet Pomerance Fellowship of the Archaeological Institute of America, to which I extend my grateful thanks. I thank J. L. Davis, C. M. Edens, C. Pulak, R. R. Stieglitz, and I. Ziderman for comments, references, and information.

1 Shackleton, N. J. in Warren, P., Myrtos (Oxford 1972) 32–4.

2 Pendlebury, H. W., Pendlebury, J. D. S., and Money-Coutts, M. B. in BSA 36 (19351936) 126 fig. 27.

3 Evely, D. in Popham, M. R. et al., The Minoan Unexplored Mansion at Knossos (Oxford 1984) 246, 256, and personal analysis.

4 Hazzidakis, J. in Ark. Eph. (1912) 232 fig. 41 nos. 4, 12; Tylissos a l Époque Minoenne (Paris 1921) 79 fig. 41 nos 4, 12.

5 Pernier, L., Il Palazzo Minoico di Festòs I (Rome 1935) 87 fig. 27, bottom right.

6 Evans, A., The Palace of Minos at Knossos i (London 1921) 517–19 figs. 377–8; iv/i (London 1935) 110 n. 1, 118. On display in the Herakleion Museum, Room VI, Case 50.

7 Reese, D. S. in BSA 79 (1984) 237–8.

8 Evely (above n. 3) 246 pl. 222 no. 9, top right.

9 Sackett, L. H. and Popham, M. R. in BSA 60 (1965) 276 pl. 80g.

10 Currelly, C. T. in BSA 10 (19031904) 202.

11 Dawkins, R. M. in BSA 10 (19031904) 197.

12 Bosanquet, R. C. in BSA 8 ( (19011902) 296, 308.

13 Dawkins, R. M. in BSA 9 (19021903) 291.

14 MacGillavray, J. A. and Sackett, H. in BSA 79 (1984) 129 pl. IIg.

15 Reese, D. S. in Karageorghis, V., Excavations at Kition V/II (Nicosia 1985) 353–64.

16 Chevallier, H. in Etudes Crétoises xx (Paris 1975) 159 pl. xlix no. 2.

17 Evely (above n. 3) 246, 296 n. 164 pl. 222 no. 9, left.

18 Hazzidakis (above n. 4) fig. 41 nos. 8, 13.

19 Pernier (above n. 5) fig. 27, centre left and in the Neolithic here; Mosso, A., The Dawn of Mediterranean Civilization (London 1910) 71–4 fig. 36.

20 Sackett and Popham (above n. 9) 303–4 fig. 20 no. 19.

21 Reese, D. S. in BSA 77 (1982) 249.

22 On Mediterranean shell purple-dye in general see Reese, D. S. in Libyan Studies II (19791980) 7993; Bruin, F. in Mollat, M. (ed.) Sociétés et compaignes de commerce en Orient dans l' Océan Indien (Paris 1970) 7390; Jensen, L. B. in JNES 22 (1963) 104–18; Forbes, R. J., Studies in Ancient Technology iv (Leiden 1956) 112–21; Born, W. in Ciba Review 4 (1937) 106–23; Moatsou, P. G., The Porphyra (Alexandria 1932, in Greek).

23 Bosanquet, R. C. in BSA 9 (19021903) 276–7; JHS 24 (1904) 321.

24 Hood, S., The Minoans (London 1971) 94.

25 Platon, N.Zakros (New York 1971) 251.

26 Above n. 23 and Rep. Brit. Ass. (1903) 817.

27 Chapouthier, F., Demargne, P., with d'A. Dessenne, Fouilles Exécutées a Mallia (Paris 1962) 11 pl. xxxix; Pelon, O. in BCH 90 (1966) 584 fig. 32 no. 2; Chevallier (above n. 16) 157–8 pl. xlviii.

28 Shackleton, N. J. in BSA 63 (1968) 266 and personal analysis.

29 Evans (above n. 6, 1935) 111 n. 3.

30 Hutchinson, R. W., Prehistoric Crete (Harmondsworth 1962) 239.

31 Ibid.; Jenson (above n. 22) 106; Bruin (above n. 23) 75; Milgrom, J. in BAR 9/3 (1983) 62.

32 Ventris, M. G. F. and Chadwick, J., Documents in Mycenaean Greek (Cambridge 1956) 321, 405.

33 Hazzidakis (above n. 4) fig. 41 nos. 2, 19.

34 The Minoan deposits have not produced evidence for purple-dye production, but there is good evidence for the use of trunculus to produce the dye in the late seventh century BC.

35 Zois, A., Anaskaphe Vryson Kydonias i 1974 (Athens 1976) pl. 40a, top right (in Greek).

36 Marinates, Sp. in Proc. Brit. Acad. 57 (1971) 361; Vermeule, E. in AJA 85/1 (1981) 94; Doumas, C., Thera (London 1983) 117.

37 Huxley, in Coldstreara, J. N. and Huxley, G., Kythera (London 1972) 36–7, 282 fig. 3e.

38 Walter, H. and Felten, F., Alt-Ägina iii/1 (Mainz am Rhein 1981) 179 pl. 128 no. 529,X (eight trunculus).

39 Mylonas, G., Aghios Kosmas (Princeton 1959) 58, 10, 148 fig. 37nos. 1–3, 4–9.

40 Schliemann, H., Ilios (London 1880) 115, 318. See also van Martens, in Zeitschrift fur Ethnologic 22 (1890) 470.

41 Blegen, C. W. in AJA 41 (1937) 582; Gejvall, N. G. in Bulletin de la Societe Royale des Lettres de Lund 1937–38, ii (1938) 54; Blegen, G. W., Caskey, J. L., and Rawson, M., Troy iii The Sixth Settlement (Princeton 1953) 268.

42 Rapp, G. and Gifford, J. (eds.), Troy Supp. vol. 4 (Princeton 198?).

43 Demetropoulos, A. in Hala Sultan Tekke 5 (Göteborg 1979) 137–8; Olofsson, M. S. in HST 3 (Goteborg 1977) 63, 65; Hult, G. in HST 4 (Göteborg 1978) 45 fig. 19.

44 Hult, G. in HST 7 (Göteborg 1981) 3, 5, 8–10 fig. 43.

45 Schaeffer, C. F. A. in Syria 10 (1929) 290, 12 (1931)?, Les Annales Archeologiques de Syria 1 (1951) 188–92, Palais royale de Ugarit ii (Paris 1957) xxvi; Thureau-Dangin, F. in Syria 15 (1934) 3746.

46 Reinhold, M., History of Purple as a Status Symbol in Antiquity (Brussels 1970) 912.

47 Pritchard, J. B., Recovering Sarepta (Princeton 1978) 126–7 figs. 121–2; and personal analysis.

48 McGovern, P. E. and Michel, R. H. in MASCA Journal 3/3 (1984) 6770 and in Analytical Chemistry 57/4 (1985) 1514A–22A.

49 Wilde, W. R. in Proc. Roy. Irish Acad. 1 (1839) 293–4 and Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira, Tenerife, and along the shores of the Mediterranean (Dublin 1844) 379–80; Lenormant, F., La Grande-Grèce i (Paris 1881) 107; Tristam, H. B. in Wilson, C., Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt ii (New York 1883) 61; Lortet, L., La Syrie d'aujourd'hui (Paris 1884) 102, 105; Jidejian, N., Tyre through the Ages (Beirut 1969) 142–59 pls. 136–42.

50 Gaillardot, C. in Bull. Soc. d'Anthropologie, Paris 2ième serie v. 8 (1873) 750–9; de Saulcy, L. in Revue Archéologique (NS) 9 (1864) 216–18 and Voyage en Terre Sainte 2 (1865) 283–6; Anonymous in Globus 26 (1874) 237–8; Cooke, A. H. in Proc. Malax. Soc. Land. 8 (1909) 341–2; Contenau, G. in Syria 4 (1923) 275–6.

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Annual of the British School at Athens
  • ISSN: 0068-2454
  • EISSN: 2045-2403
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