E1 Transformations in Early Greek Societies and Landscapes

Blick über Aigeira und den Korinthischen Golf
View on Aigeira and the Corinthian GulfPhoto: T. Keßler

Academic Staff:

Project description

The project deals with the transition from Bronze to Early Iron Age (12th to 8th century BC) in the regions around the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Patras. Archaeologically, this period is commonly known as the “Greek Dark Ages” which is due to the loss of literacy and the generally less copious material evidence in comparison to the times before and after. Apart from that, it is a phase of major social transformations. hier weiterlesen

After the end of the Mycenaean palaces around 1200 BC, for about a century in some parts of Greece the local communities try to establish a follow-up on the palatial culture, e. g. at Tiryns. This undertaking is, however, condemned to last not for long. The following three centuries stand out with regard to the scarcity of the archaeological remains, which is only changing with the 8th century BC, when the gradual emergence of the Greek polis culture becomes visible. Especially this last development, as well as the phase preceding it, is the object of inquiry in the project.

Since climatic and environmental conditions seem to have changed only insignificantly (this is, what the work of the two geoscientific work packages of the project [Institute for Ecosystem Research and Institute of Geosciences at Kiel University] suggest), social factors seem to be the major reason for the transformation.

On the basis of pottery studies, the varying degree and nature of connectivity between different sites and regions is taken under scrutiny, where vessel shapes and decorations are analysed with regard to local characteristics and trans-local similarities. Contact between acting entities was a vehicle of major importance for the societal transformations that took place at the dawn of the polis culture. The diachronic observation of connectivity on different spatial levels – ranging from the local sphere of a site, to the regional area of a settlement chamber, and, finally, up to the level of inter-regional relations – is a useful indicator of change that accompanied these transformations.