Abstract: The Evolution of the Greek City: Evidence from the Kavousi Area of Eastern Crete

Excavations on the Kastro in eastern Crete have recovered an upland settlement with continuous habitation throughout the Early Iron Age and into the Archaic period.  For more than four centuries the settlement on the Kastro expanded in size and was associated with regular rebuilding.  The pattern of change in the settlement, evident in the depositional and architectural history of the site, clearly involved functional changes and eventually disuse of parts of houses from the Late Geometric period onward.  An on-going process of abandonment in the 7th century culminated in a final movement of population down to nearby Azoria, a site also founded at the beginning of the Early Iron Age.  The rare state of preservation of Early Iron Age occupation on the Kastro provides the opportunity to explore the site's foundation and development, but also the historical causes of its ultimate abandonment: an apparent response to changes in the region and beyond. 

Unlike the Kastro in the 7th century, where the inhabitants appear to have embraced old traditions in the last phase of occupation—architecturally, in their ceramic assemblages, and apparently socially, politically and economically—the settlement at Azoria was expanding in size, importing pottery from the broader Aegean world, and early in the 6th century underwent a complete architectural transformation.  The rebuilding at Azoria represents a new phase of urbanization resulting in the destruction of the Early Iron Age buildings and a wholesale severing of past links with the physical architecture of the settlement to accommodate the new civic identity of its inhabitants, that is, as citizens of the nascent polis.  The evidence from the Kastro and Azoria presents a rare opportunity to explore archaeologically the origins and evolution of the Greek city.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

For Azoria, interim reports, bibliography, and other information available at www.azoria.org

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