Aspects of Minoan technology, culture, and economy: The Bronze Age stone industry of Crete

Heidi M. C Dierckx, University of Pennsylvania


Until recently stone implements have been largely ignored by archaeologists working on Bronze Age sites in Crete. Both chipped stone and ground stone tools were an integral part of Minoan culture, despite the gradual appearance of metal tools. These artifacts are a valuable class of data in the archaeological record. In addition to the architectural remains and artifactual remains of pottery, ornamental stone objects and objects of metal, bone, ivory and other materials, stone implements help complete the overall picture which can be obtained from the archaeological record. Information can be obtained about some cultural aspects of a Minoan settlement as regards the economy, technology, and society. This study focuses on the examination of stone tools from the Minoan site of Pseira, an island off the northeast coast of Crete. The analysis consists of a detailed description and typology of both chipped and ground stone implements recovered from the site, including comparative material from other Minoan sites as far as was possible. It also includes an extensive discussion about the methods of manufacture used, possible functions, use wear, chronology, and sources of the raw materials. In addition, three issues are discussed: the relationship between stone tools and tools of metal and bone; the various possible uses of stone tools in daily activities on Bronze Age sites in Crete; and the archaeological contexts for the stone tools at Pseira. It has been concluded that at Pseira stone implements were extremely important both in domestic as in industrial activities. The evidence strongly suggests the existence of three LM I workshops in which the use of stone tools was important: an obsidian workshop; one stone vase workshop; and one minor stone craft workshop (for the production of quartz objects of personal use). The use of stone tools within a domestic context, in the production of food, is also indicated by the finds; an example of a kitchen in situ was discovered. This study shows that much data can be recovered from an analysis of stone implements from a Minoan site. However, it is also apparent that further studies of this kind are necessary.

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Recommended Citation

Dierckx, Heidi M. C, "Aspects of Minoan technology, culture, and economy: The Bronze Age stone industry of Crete" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9227650.