Late Early Bronze Age (EB IIB–III, 2500–2000 bc ) evidence from the northeast Peloponnese and central Crete present two coeval sequences of events with very different societal outcomes. By drawing on resilience theory and the model of adaptive cycles, this article explores when and why the paths of mainland Greece and Crete diverged around 2200 bc , leading to an eventually destabilizing change on the mainland and a more sustainable one on Crete. It is argued that the two EB II societal structures were more similar than current discourse generally allows. However, during some hundred years leading up to the end of the EB II period, an increased societal uniformity and a decrease of social arenas on northeast Peloponnese may in the end have circumscribed the Early Helladic communities’ room to manoeuvre. Conversely, through strong regionalism and greater multiplicity of social arenas, Early Minoan societies seem to have retained a greater level of socio-economic variability that enabled proactiveness and sustained expansion through ideological change.
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