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American Journal of Archaeology





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Subminoan is a term used variously and often inconsistently to refer to a chronological period and a style of pottery. Scholars have typically blurred the distinction between style and chronology from the end of the Bronze Age and throughout the Early Iron Age. The situation on Crete at the transition from Bronze Age to Early Iron Age is particularly difficult to explicate because, with the exception of the Kastro, the few excavated settlements, including Knossos and Phaistos, lack complete or stratigraphically continuous habitation records. Much of the relevant pottery has come from graves, notoriously unreliable sources for chronological information. The Knossian classifications are frequently applied throughout the island and are themselves derived from tomb groups, such as those from the North Cemetery, Fortetsa, Ayios Ioannis, and Gypsades. A reassessment of both the contexts identified as Subminoan in date and the definitions applied to the Subminoan ceramic style demonstrates that little consensus has been reached on the meaning and application of this term. I argue here that "Subminoan" should be used only to refer to a ceramic style, one taxonomically distinct from the styles of Late Minoan IIIC and (early) Protogeometric pottery but produced simultaneously with it. Although Subminoan pottery may assist in generally identifying the transition from Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age, it does not specifically define it. Subminoan pottery had little popularity in eastern Crete, where this style of pottery is more prevalent in grave offerings. In habitation areas it may be completely absent.


This is an abstract from American Journal of Archaeology 104 (2000): 368. Posted with permission.

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Archaeological Institute of America



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