Home Region:  Southeastern Europe (Europe)

Prepalatial Crete

EQ 2020  gr_crete_pre_palace / GrCrPre

The Cretan Prepalatial era is divided in Early Minoan I (3000-2700 BCE), Early Minoan IIA (2700-2400 BCE), Early Minoan IIB (2400-2200 BCE), Early Minoan III (2200-2000 BCE) and Middle Minoan IA (2000-1900 BCE) periods. [1]
Population and political organization
Population estimates for the entire island at this time do not appear to be available in the literature. However, Whitelaw has estimated the population of Knossos, Crete’s largest centre, at 2,600 to 11,000 inhabitants, that of Phaistos at 1,660 to 5,400, and that of Malia at 1,500 to 3,190. [2]

[1]: (Shelmerdine 2008, 4) Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. 2008. ’Background, sources, and methods’ in The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, edited by Cynthia W. Shelmerdine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[2]: (Whitelaw 2012, 156) Todd Whitelaw. 2012. ’The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation’, in Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, edited by I. Schope, P. Tomkins and J. Driessen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
35 S  
Original Name:
Prepalatial Crete  
Capital:
none  
Alternative Name:
Early Bronze Age Crete  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[2,300 BCE ➜ 1,900 BCE]  
Duration:
[3,000 BCE ➜ 1,900 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Supracultural Entity:
Cretan Broze Age Civilization  
Succeeding Entity:
Protopalatial Crete  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Neolithic Crete  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Language:
suspected unknown  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[2,600 to 11,100] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[1 to 2] 3000 BCE 2200 BCE
[1 to 3] 2200 BCE 1900 BCE
Religious Level:
1  
Administrative Level:
[1 to 2]  
Professions
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
inferred present 2400 BCE 1900 BCE
Merit Promotion:
absent  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
absent  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
absent  
Irrigation System:
unknown  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
unknown  
Port:
present  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
unknown  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
absent  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
unknown  
Mnemonic Device:
unknown  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
inferred present  
Precious Metal:
inferred present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
inferred present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
absent  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
present  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
absent  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
absent  
  Copper:
unknown  
  Bronze:
unknown  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
unknown  
  Self Bow:
unknown  
  Javelin:
unknown  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
unknown  
  Atlatl:
unknown  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
unknown  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
unknown  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
unknown  
  Dog:
unknown  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
unknown  
  Shield:
unknown  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
absent  
  Leather Cloth:
unknown  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
unknown  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
unknown  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
unknown  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Prepalatial Crete (gr_crete_pre_palace) was in:
 (3000 BCE 1901 BCE)   Crete
Home NGA: Crete

General Variables
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[2,300 BCE ➜ 1,900 BCE]



Duration:
[3,000 BCE ➜ 1,900 BCE]

The era is divided in Early Minoan I (3000-2700 BCE), Early Minoan IIA (2700-2400 BCE), Early Minoan IIB (2400-2200 BCE), Early Minoan III (2200-2000 BCE) and Middle Minoan IA (2000-1900 BCE) periods. [1]

[1]: Shelmerdine, C. W. "Background, sources, and methods," in Shelmerdine, C. W. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, Cambridge, 4.


Political and Cultural Relations
Supracultural Entity:
Cretan Broze Age Civilization

Succeeding Entity:
Protopalatial Crete



Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

It is generally argue that during 2200-1900 BCE, the major communities acted as political, economic and ritual centers for their surrounding hinterland. [1]

[1]: e.g. Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 114-76.


Language

Language:
suspected unknown

Information of the spoken and written language of Bronze Age Cretans during the Prepalatial period do not exist.


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[2,600 to 11,100] people

inhabitants. Knossos is the largest site of Prepalatial Crete. The estimated site size is about 20-37 hectares making Knossos the largest urban centre of the period. [1] Whitelaw estimated the Knossian population to 2,600 to 11,100 people (EM I-EM II: 2,600; EM III-MM IA: 6,000-11,100). The population of Phaistos, for the same period, is estimated to 1,660-5,400 souls and that of Malia to 1,500-3,190 souls. [2]

[1]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 150.

[2]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 156.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[1 to 2]
3000 BCE 2200 BCE

levels. 3100-2200 BCE: Small nucleated villages and isolated hamlets coexisted throughout the island, especially in lowland and coastal areas. [1] The size of these sites is about 2 ha aside Knossos where a settlement of 5 ha already existed since the Final Neolithic period. [2] [3] This settled scape is characterized by a considerable degree of regionalism which is expressed in material culture and social practices. [4] [3] From the Early Minoan II onwards (2700-2200 BCE), the importance of coastal sites considerably increased while many inland sites seems to be abandoned. Monumental constructions appeared for the first time at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, Tylissos, and Palaikastro. Many sites were destroyed or burned at the end of the period and this has been interpreted as the outcome of conflict between different social groups aspiring to political and economic power. [5] 2200-1900 BCE: Settlement hierarchy change: nucleated villages seems less important and there is a new emphasis on mountain zones. Knossos, Malia and Phaistos increased considerably and become centers of a significant importance. The central monumental construction suggest the presence of a authority controlling the surrounding hinterland. [6] These large centers and their supporting surrounding regions each form complex social, political and economic landscapes, in which larger regional-scale integrations could occur. [7]

[1]: e.g. Driessen, J. and Frankel, D. 2012."Minds and mines: settlement networks and the diachronic use of space on Cyprus and Crete," in Cadogan, G.,Iacovou, M., Kopaka, K. and Whitley, J. (eds) Parallel Lives: Ancient Island Societies in Crete and Cyprus (BSA Studies 20), London, 70-2.

[2]: Tomkins, P. 2008. "Time, space and the reinvention of the Cretan Neolithic," in Isaakidou, V. and Tomkins, P. D. (eds), Escaping the Labyrinth. The Cretan Neolithic in Context, Sheffiled, 35

[3]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 150.

[4]: Driessen, J. and Frankel, D. 2012."Minds and mines: settlement networks and the diachronic use of space on Cyprus and Crete," in Cadogan, G.,Iacovou, M., Kopaka, K. and Whitley, J. (eds) Parallel Lives: Ancient Island Societies in Crete and Cyprus (BSA Studies 20), London, 70

[5]: Warren, P. M. 1987. "The genesis of the Minoan palace," in Hägg, R. and Marinatos, N. (eds), The Function of the Minoan Palaces. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, 10-16 June 1984 (SkrAth 4o, 35), Stockholm, 245-248.

[6]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 114-76.

[7]: Manning, S. W. 2008. "5: Protopalatial Crete. 5A: Formation of the palaces," in Shelmerdine, C. W. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, Cambridge, 108.

Settlement Hierarchy:
[1 to 3]
2200 BCE 1900 BCE

levels. 3100-2200 BCE: Small nucleated villages and isolated hamlets coexisted throughout the island, especially in lowland and coastal areas. [1] The size of these sites is about 2 ha aside Knossos where a settlement of 5 ha already existed since the Final Neolithic period. [2] [3] This settled scape is characterized by a considerable degree of regionalism which is expressed in material culture and social practices. [4] [3] From the Early Minoan II onwards (2700-2200 BCE), the importance of coastal sites considerably increased while many inland sites seems to be abandoned. Monumental constructions appeared for the first time at Knossos, Malia, Phaistos, Tylissos, and Palaikastro. Many sites were destroyed or burned at the end of the period and this has been interpreted as the outcome of conflict between different social groups aspiring to political and economic power. [5] 2200-1900 BCE: Settlement hierarchy change: nucleated villages seems less important and there is a new emphasis on mountain zones. Knossos, Malia and Phaistos increased considerably and become centers of a significant importance. The central monumental construction suggest the presence of a authority controlling the surrounding hinterland. [6] These large centers and their supporting surrounding regions each form complex social, political and economic landscapes, in which larger regional-scale integrations could occur. [7]

[1]: e.g. Driessen, J. and Frankel, D. 2012."Minds and mines: settlement networks and the diachronic use of space on Cyprus and Crete," in Cadogan, G.,Iacovou, M., Kopaka, K. and Whitley, J. (eds) Parallel Lives: Ancient Island Societies in Crete and Cyprus (BSA Studies 20), London, 70-2.

[2]: Tomkins, P. 2008. "Time, space and the reinvention of the Cretan Neolithic," in Isaakidou, V. and Tomkins, P. D. (eds), Escaping the Labyrinth. The Cretan Neolithic in Context, Sheffiled, 35

[3]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 150.

[4]: Driessen, J. and Frankel, D. 2012."Minds and mines: settlement networks and the diachronic use of space on Cyprus and Crete," in Cadogan, G.,Iacovou, M., Kopaka, K. and Whitley, J. (eds) Parallel Lives: Ancient Island Societies in Crete and Cyprus (BSA Studies 20), London, 70

[5]: Warren, P. M. 1987. "The genesis of the Minoan palace," in Hägg, R. and Marinatos, N. (eds), The Function of the Minoan Palaces. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens, 10-16 June 1984 (SkrAth 4o, 35), Stockholm, 245-248.

[6]: Whitelaw, T. 2012. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in n Schope, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning: Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Oxford, 114-76.

[7]: Manning, S. W. 2008. "5: Protopalatial Crete. 5A: Formation of the palaces," in Shelmerdine, C. W. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age, Cambridge, 108.


Religious Level:
1

levels. Local priest


Administrative Level:
[1 to 2]

levels. 1: village heads and 2: town heads. It is generally argued that administration and writing were directly connected with the emergence of the first political institutions in 1900 BCE. [1] The direct object sealing from Myrtos Phournou Korifi and the discovery of dealings at Khania (2400-2200 BCE or 2200-2000 BCE), Khamalevri (2200-1900 BCE), Trypiti (2400-2200 BCE or 2200-2000 BCE), Malia (2400-2200 BCE), Psathi (2400-2200 or 2200-1900 BCE) and Mochlos shows that some kind of accounting system existed on Crete since the 2400-2200 BCE period. [2] [3] [4] Administrative systems, however, were less sophisticated that these adopted in Mainland Greece during the Early Helladic period (2700-2000 BCE). [5] Administration should be of a relatively low-level and locally relevant nature. [6]

[1]: e.g. Weingarten, J. 1990. "Three upheavals in Minoan sealing administration," in Palaima, T. (ed.), Aegean Seals and Sealings (Aegaeum 5), Liège, 105-20.

[2]: Vlasaki, M. and Hallager, E. 1995. "Evidence for seal-use in pre palatial western Crete," in Poursat, J.-C. and Müller, W. (eds), Sceaux Minoenes et Mycéniens: chronology, function et interprétation (CMS 5), Berlin, 251-70

[3]: Pelon, O. 1993."La sale a pillars de Malia," BCH 117, 523-46

[4]: Soles, J. and Davaras, K. 1992. "Excavation at Mochlos" Hesperia 61, 413-45.

[5]: For Early Helladic administration see Krzyszkowska, O. 2005. Aegean Seals. An Introduction, London, 36-56.

[6]: Sbonias, K. "Social development, management of production, and symbolic representation in Prepalatial Crete," in Chaniotis, A. (ed.), From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders. Sidelights on the Economy of Ancient Crete, Stuttgart, 25-51.


Professions
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present
2400 BCE 1900 BCE

The large-scale complex built at the core of the "towns" of the Prepalatial period (Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Petras)was probably the seat of the political group/s controlling each region. [1] [2] [3]

[1]: Tomkins, P. 2012. "Behind the horizon: reconsidering the genesis and function of the "First Palace" at Knossos (Final Neolithic IV-Middle Minoan IB)," in Schoep, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning. Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete During the Early and Middle Bronze Age," Oxford and Oakville, 32-80

[2]: Todaro, S. 2010. "Craft production and social practices at Prepalatial Phaistos: the background to the First "Palace,"" in Schoep, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning. Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete During the Early and Middle Bronze Age," Oxford and Oakville, 195-235

[3]: Whitelaw, T. 2010. "The urbanization of prehistoric Crete: settlement perspectives on Minoan state formation," in Schoep, I., Tomkins, P. and Driessen, J. (eds), Back to the Beginning. Reassessing Social and Political Complexity on Crete During the Early and Middle Bronze Age," Oxford and Oakville, 115-76.



Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

Evidence for administrative activities dated 2400-1900 BCE might indirectly imply the existence of "bureaucrats". [1]

[1]: e.g. Sbonias, K. "Social development, management of production, and symbolic representation in Prepalatial Crete," in Chaniotis, A. (ed.), From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders. Sidelights on the Economy of Ancient Crete, Stuttgart, 25-51.



Special-purpose Sites

Information / Writing System





Information / Kinds of Written Documents









Information / Money
Token:
present

It has been generally argued that in ancient societies economic transactions were also based on fruitful barter. [1] [2]

[1]: Garrraty, C. P. 2010. "Investigating market exchange in ancient societies: a theoretical review," in Garraty, C. P. and Stark, B. L. (eds), Archaeological Approaches to Market Exchange in Ancient Societies, Colorado, 3-32

[2]: Chadwick, J. 1976. The Mycenaean World, Cambridge, 78.


Precious Metal:
present

It has been generally argued that in ancient societies economic transactions were also based on fruitful barter. [1] [2]

[1]: Garrraty, C. P. 2010. "Investigating market exchange in ancient societies: a theoretical review," in Garraty, C. P. and Stark, B. L. (eds), Archaeological Approaches to Market Exchange in Ancient Societies, Colorado, 3-32

[2]: Chadwick, J. 1976. The Mycenaean World, Cambridge, 78.





Article:
present

It has been generally argued that in ancient societies economic transactions were also based on fruitful barter. [1] [2]

[1]: Garrraty, C. P. 2010. "Investigating market exchange in ancient societies: a theoretical review," in Garraty, C. P. and Stark, B. L. (eds), Archaeological Approaches to Market Exchange in Ancient Societies, Colorado, 3-32

[2]: Chadwick, J. 1976. The Mycenaean World, Cambridge, 78.


Information / Postal System



Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)

Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.