'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Investigating the Role of Religious Specialists in the Early Minoan Tholos Cemeteries of South-Central Crete

Gaynor, J
(2019) 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Investigating the Role of Religious Specialists in the Early Minoan Tholos Cemeteries of South-Central Crete. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The primary objective of this thesis is to investigate evidence for religious specialists in the Early Minoan period using a theoretical and methodological approach grounded in landscape archaeology, to reinvestigate the tholos cemeteries of south-central Crete. The dominance of Arthur Evans’s ‘Minoan’ project has ensured that religious specialists are rarely if ever considered outside of the narrow confines of the ‘priests’ and ‘priestesses’ of the later ‘palatial’ eras, but this study argues that they should instead be considered as craft specialists, and the tholos tomb cemeteries should be treated as centres of craft production, or as craftspheres as they will be referred to here. In the early-EM I period, a newly emerging belief system in south-central Crete is represented in the archaeological record by the construction of purpose-built spaces – the island’s first form of monumental architecture – where these communities buried their dead and gathered to practise a religion based around mortuary practices. Over time, the evolution of this belief system is reflected in architectural developments at these cemeteries, which incorporated outdoor spaces to include larger crowds. Specialists were needed to translate the religious ideologies of these communities into built spaces, and to mediate the activities that these spaces facilitated. This thesis analyses how religious architectures in south-central Crete – their conceptualisation, construction, and development over time – embodies the ambitions and objectives of those who built and used them. Landscape archaeology is used to reconsider the material remains of built spaces. The creation of space is analysed through the use of architectural energetics to better understand the resources expended on tholos cemeteries as centres of craft production. In communal cemeteries like these, the labour costs afforded to their construction confirms that coordination was needed in the construction of built spaces. A multi-sensory approach is also used to navigate how space was used and experienced. This considers how architecture was used to guide (or manipulate) the sensory experiences of religious celebrants at tholos cemeteries. By understanding how space was built and used we can begin to understand the influence of religious specialists in this early period.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 15:44
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:44
DOI: 10.17638/03041786
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3041786