Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …
Open Access

Open Archaeology

Editor-in-Chief: Harding, Anthony


Covered by:
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index
ERIH PLUS

CiteScore 2018: 1.30

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.339
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.726

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2300-6560
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Patterns of Visibility, Intervisibility and Invisibility at Bronze Age Apesokari (Crete)

Sylviane Déderix
Published Online: 2019-09-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2019-0014

Abstract

Tholos A at Apesokari (south-central Crete, Greece) was constructed on a sloping ledge of bedrock, overlooking the Mesara Plain below. Such an inconvenient topographic setting makes Tholos A an unusual example in the corpus of Minoan circular tombs, which were more commonly built on flatter ground. The builders seem to have cared greatly about placing Tholos A precisely at this location, even at the risk of jeopardizing the stability of its circular chamber. Furthermore, due to limited space availability, the annex rooms of Tholos A had to be built at a higher level on the bedrock, resulting in an architectural configuration unparalleled in other circular tombs. This paper addresses the question of why this particular location was chosen for the construction of Tholos A. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are used to examine the possibility that concerns related to visibility, intervisibility or invisibility may have played a role in the decision to build Tholos A at this particular spot. Five potential scenarios are formulated and tested to assess whether the tomb may have been placed with the intention of maximizing its visibility and ensuring (or, to the contrary, preventing) intervisibility with specific features in the local landscape.

Keywords: Minoan Crete; circular tombs; GIS; viewshed; landscape

References

  • Anderson, E. S. K. (2016). Seals, craft and community in Bronze Age Crete. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bintliff, J. L. (1977). Natural environment and human settlement in prehistoric Greece based on original fieldwork. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.Google Scholar

  • Blackman, D. & Branigan, K. (1975). An archaeological survey of the south coast of Crete, between the Ayiofarango and Chrisostomos. Annuals of the British School at Athens, 70, 17–36.Google Scholar

  • Blackman, D. & Branigan, K. (1977). An archaeological survey of the lower catchment of the Ayiofarango valley. Annuals of the British School at Athens, 72, 13–84.Google Scholar

  • Branigan, K. (1970). The tombs of Mesara: A study of funerary architecture and ritual in southern Crete, 2800-1700 B.C. London: Gerald Duckworth.Google Scholar

  • Branigan, K. (1993). Dancing with death: Life and death in southern Crete 3000-2000 B.C. Amsterdam: A. M. Hakkert.Google Scholar

  • Branigan, K. (1994). The corbelling controversy. Another contribution. Cretan Studies, 4, 65–69.Google Scholar

  • Branigan, K. (1998). The nearness of you: Proximity and distance in Early Minoan funerary landscapes. In K. Branigan (Ed.), Cemetery and society in the Aegean Bronze Age (pp. 16–26). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Chapman, R. (1995). Ten years after. Megaliths, mortuary practices, and the territorial model. In L. Anderson Beck (Ed.), Regional approaches to mortuary analysis (pp. 29–51). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar

  • Davaras, C. (1964). Archaiotites kai mnimeia Kritis. Anaskafai. Archaiologikon Deltion, 19 B3, 436–447.Google Scholar

  • Déderix, S. (2014). The Minoan funerary landscape. A study of spatial relationships between the world of the dead and the living in Bronze Age Crete (ca. 3100-1450 BC) (PhD thesis). Louvain-la-Neuve: Université catholique de Louvain.Google Scholar

  • Déderix, S. (2015). A matter of scale. Assessing the visibility of circular tombs in the landscape of Bronze Age Crete. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 4, 525–534. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2015.10.021CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Déderix, S. (2017). Communication networks, interactions and social negotiation in Prepalatial south-central Crete. American Journal of Archaeology, 121(1), 5–37. doi:10.3764/aja.121.1.0005CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Dungan, K. A., White, D., Déderix, S., Mills, B. J., & Safi, K. (2018). A total viewshed approach to local visibility in the Chaco World. Antiquity, 92(364), 905–921. doi:10.15184/aqy.2018.135CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ferreira, C. R., Andrade, M. V. A., Magalhães, S. V. G., Franklin, W. R., & Guilherme, C. P. (2014). A parallel algorithm for viewshed computation on grid terrains. Journal of Information and Data Management, 5(2), 171–180.Google Scholar

  • Flouda, G. (2011). Reassessing the Apesokari Tholos A funerary record: Preliminary thoughts. Rivista di Archeologia, 35, 111–121.Google Scholar

  • Flouda, G. (2017). Archaeology in the war zone: August Schörgendorfer and the Kunstschutz on Crete during World War II. Annual of the British School at Athens, 112, 341–377. doi: 10.1017/S0068245417000028CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Flouda, G. (forthcoming). Tholos tomb A and the settlement at Apesokari: An archaeological palimpsest in Southern Crete. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Gillings, M. (2009). Visual affordance, landscape, and the megaliths of Alderney. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 28(4), 335–356. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.2009.00332.xCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gillings, M. (2015). Mapping invisibility: GIS approaches to the analysis of hiding and seclusion. Journal of Archaeological Science, 62, 1–14. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2015.06.015CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gillings, M. (2017). Mapping liminality: Critical frameworks for the GIS-based modelling of visibility. Journal of Archaeological Science, 84, 121–128. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2017.05.004CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Girella, L., Marini, A., & Palmieri, G. (2013). Problems of roofing of Early Minoan tholos tombs: The case of Kamilari A tholos tomb in the western Mesara plain. Creta Antica, 14, 69–103.Google Scholar

  • Glazier, J. (1984). Mbeere ancestors and the domestication of death. Man, 19, 133–147.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Goldstein, L. G. (1981). One-dimensional archaeology and multi-dimensional people: Spatial organization and mortuary analysis. In R. Chapman, I. Kinnes & K. Randsborg (Eds.), The archaeology of death (pp. 53–69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Goodison, L. & Guarita, C. (2005). A new catalogue of the Mesara-type tombs. Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici, 47, 171–212.Google Scholar

  • Haggis, D. C. (1999). Staple finance, peak sanctuaries, and economic complexity in Late Prepalatial Crete. In A. Chaniotis (Ed.), From Minoan farmers to Roman traders: Sidelights on the economy of ancient Crete (pp. 53–85). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar

  • Higuchi, T. (1988). The visual and spatial structure of landscapes. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

  • Kantner, J. & Hobgood, R. (2016). A GIS-based viewshed analysis of Chacoan tower kivas in the US Southwest: Were they for seeing or to be seen? Antiquity, 90(353), 1302–1317. doi:10.15184/aqy.2016.144CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lake, M. W. & Woodman, P. E. (2003). Visibility studies in archaeology: A review and case study. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 30, 689–707. doi:10.1068/b29122CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Legarra Herrero, B. (2012). The construction, deconstruction and non-construction of hierarchies in the funerary record of Prepalatial Crete. In I. Schoep, P. Tomkins & J. Driessen (Eds.), Back to the beginning. Reassessing social and political complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age (pp. 325–357). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar

  • Legarra Herrero, B. (2014). Mortuary behavior and social trajectories in Pre- and Protopalatial Crete. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Llobera, M. (2003). Extending GIS-based visual analysis: The concept of visualscapes. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 17(1), 25–48. doi:10.1080/713811741CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Llobera, M. (2007). Reconstructing visual landscapes. World Archaeology, 39(1), 51–69. 10.1080/00438240601136496Google Scholar

  • Llobera, M., Wheatley, D., Steele, J., Cox, S., & Parchment, O. (2010). Calculating the inherent visual structure of a landscape (inherent viewshed) using high-throughput computing. In F. Niccolucci & S. Hermon (Eds.), Beyond the artefact: Digital interpretation of the past. Proceedings of CAA2004, Prato, 13-17 April 2004 (pp. 146–151). Budapest: Archaeolingua.Google Scholar

  • Manning, S. W. (1994). The emergence of divergence: Development and decline on Bronze Age Crete and the Cyclades. In C. Mathers & S. Stoddart (Eds.), Development and decline in the Mediterranean Bronze Age (pp. 221–270). Sheffield: J. R. Collis Publications.Google Scholar

  • Manning, S. W. (2010). Chronology and terminology. In E. H. Cline (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean (ca. 3000-1000 BC) (pp. 11–28). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • McGeorge, P. J. P. (1988). Health and Diet in Minoan Times. In R. E. Jones & H. W. Catling (Eds.), New aspects of archaeological science in Greece. Proceedings of a meeting held at the British School at Athens, January 1987 (pp. 47–54). Athens: British School at Athens.Google Scholar

  • Ogburn, D. E. (2006). Assessing the level of visibility of cultural objects in past landscapes. Journal of Archaeological Science, 33, 405–413. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2005.08.005CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Papadatos, Y. (2007). Beyond cultures and ethnicity: A new look at material culture distribution and inter-regional interaction in the Early Bronze Age southern Aegean. In S. Antoniadou & A. Pace (Eds.), Mediterranean crossroads (pp. 419–451). Oxford: Pierides Foundation.Google Scholar

  • Pelon, O. (1976). Tholoi, tumuli et cercles funéraires: Recherches sur les monuments funéraires de plan circulaire dans l’Egée de l’âge du Bronze (IIIè et IIè millénaires av. J.-C.). Athens: Ecole française d’Athènes.Google Scholar

  • Pelon, O. (1994). Les tombes circulaires dans l’Egée de l’âge du Bronze : État des questions. Topoi, 4(1), 153–207.Google Scholar

  • Relaki, M. (2004). Constructing a region: The contested landscapes of Prepalatial Mesara. In J.C. Barrett & P. Halstead (Eds.), The emergence of civilisation revisited (pp. 170–188). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar

  • Relaki, M. (2009). Rethinking administration and seal use in third millennium BC Crete. Creta Antica, 10(2), 253–272.Google Scholar

  • Saxe, A. A. (1970). Social dimensions of mortuary practices (PhD thesis). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar

  • Sbonias, K. (2010). Diversity and transformation. Looking for meanings in the Prepalatial seal consumption and use. In W. Müller (Ed.), Die Bedeutung der minoischen und mykenischen Glyptik. VI. Internationales Siegel-Symposium aus Anlass des 50 jährigen Bestehens des CMS, Marburg, 9-12 Oktober 2008 (pp. 311–324). Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern.Google Scholar

  • Sbonias, K. (2012). Regional elite-groups and the production and consumption of seals in the Prepalatial Period. A case-study of the Asterousia region. In I. Schoep, P. Tomkins & J. Driessen (Eds.), Back to the beginning. Reassessing social and political complexity on Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age (pp. 273–289). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar

  • Schoep, I. (2006). Looking beyond the First Palaces: Elites and the agency of power in EM III-MM II Crete. American Journal of Archaeology, 110, 37–64.Google Scholar

  • Schoep, I. (2018). The house tomb in context: Assessing mortuary behaviour in north-east Crete. In M. Relaki & Y. Papadatos (Eds.), From the foundations to the legacy of Minoan archaeology. Studies in honour of Professor Keith Branigan (pp. 167–189). Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar

  • Schörgendorfer, A. (1951a). Ein mittelminoisches Tholosgrab bei Apesokari. In F. Matz (Ed.), Forschungen auf Kreta 1942 (pp. 13–22). Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Schörgendorfer, A. (1951b). Die minoische Siedlung von Apesokari. Vorläufiger Grabungsbericht. In F. Matz (Ed.), Forschungen auf Kreta 1942 (pp. 23–26). Berlin: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Sevenant, M. & Antrop, M. (2007). Settlement models, land use and visibility in rural landscapes: Two case studies in Greece. Landscape and Urban Planning, 80, 362–374. doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2006.09.004CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Triantaphyllou, S. (2012). Kephala Petras: The human remains and the burial practices in the rock shelter. In M. Tsipopoulou (Ed.), Petras, Siteia. 25 years of excavations and studies (pp. 161–170). Athens: The Danish Institute at Athens.Google Scholar

  • Vasilakis, A. & Branigan, K. (2010). Moni Odigitria. A Prepalatial cemetery and its environs in the Asterousia, southern Crete. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Vavouranakis, G. (2012). Tholos tomb B at the site of Apesokari, Mesara. In M. Andrianakis, P. Varthalitou & I. Tzachili (Eds.), Archaeological work in Crete 2. Proceedings of the 2nd meeting, Rethymno, 26-28 November 2010 (pp. 144–154). Rethymnon: Faculty of Letters Publications, University of Crete. [In Greek]Google Scholar

  • Vavouranakis, G. (2016). A posthumanocentric approach to funerary ritual and its sociohistorical significance: The Early and Middle Bronze Age tholos tombs at Apesokari, Crete. In A. Dakouri-Hild & M. Boyd (Eds.), Staging death. Funerary performance, architecture and landscape in the Aegean (pp. 253–273). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Warren, P. M. (1973). The mitata of Nidha and Early Minoan tholos tombs. Athens Annals of Archaeology, 6, 449–456.Google Scholar

  • Warren, P. M. (2007). The roofing of Early Minoan round tombs: The evidence of Lebena Tomb II (Gerokampos) and of Cretan mitata. In P. P. Betancourt, M. C. Nelson & H. Williams (Eds.), Krinoi kai limenes. Studies in honor of Joseph and Maria Shaw (pp. 9–16). Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Wheatley, D. (1995). Cumulative viewshed analysis: A GIS-based method for investigating intervisibility, and its archaeological application. In G. Lock and Z. Stančič (Eds.), Archaeology and geographic information systems: A European perspective (pp. 171–185). London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar

  • Wheatley, D. W., García Sanjuán, L, Murrieta Flores, P. A., & Márquez Pérez, J. (2010). Approaching the landscape dimension of the megalithic phenomenon in southern Spain. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 29, 387–405. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0092.2010.00354.xCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Winter-Livneh, R., Svoray, T., & Gilead, I. (2012). Secondary burial cemeteries, visibility and land tenure: A view from the Southern Levant Chalcolithic period. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 31, 423–438. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2012.03.002CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Xanthoudides, S. (1924). The vaulted tombs of the Mesarà. An account of some early cemeteries of southern Crete. London: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar

  • Zhao, Y., Padmanabhan, A., & Wang, S. (2013). A parallel computing approach to viewshed analysis of large terrain data using graphics processing units. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 27(2), 363–384. doi:10.1080/13658816.2012.692372CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Received: 2018-01-27

Accepted: 2019-05-23

Published Online: 2019-09-26

Published in Print: 2019-01-01


Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 187–203, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2019-0014.

Export Citation

© 2019 Sylviane Déderix, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in