Mycenaean society outside the palaces: A study of Late Helladic IIB-IIIB1 Corridor Buildings
Pantou, Panagiota A.
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This dissertation explores aspects of ideological and sociopolitical organization and change in Late Bronze Age Greece through the study of Mycenaean architecture. Ten buildings dated to the Late Helladic IIB–IIIB1 period (1550–1250 BC) are examined from six regions of Mycenaean Greece (Laconia, the Cyclades, Crete, the Argolid, Thessaly, and Messenia). The structures share the same basic plan consisting of a megaron unit flanked on one side by a corridor and a series of smaller rooms and are classified as "Corridor Buildings." By taking an approach that integrates theoretical perspectives and empirical data, this study demonstrates that the Late Helladic IIB–IIIB1 Corridor Buildings were material resources used to create individual and group identities, social order, and asymmetrical relations of power. The analysis of the Corridor Buildings on various levels (architectural, artifactual, contextual) revealed that their significance revolved around, variously, the community, the ruler(s), or the elite, and their architecture symbolically expressed unity, identity, or power. The examination of the Mycenaean Corridor Buildings in different contexts and over time exposed patterns of architectural behavior, which were related to episodes of social, political and ideological change. In this study, Mycenaean culture emerges as regionally and socially diverse. Ideological, economic and political power at both settlement and regional level was not concentrated in one source, as the conventional "palatial" model proposes, but was shared across different groups and sectors of society. It is argued that in order to comprehend this diversity and explore social change, it is necessary to move beyond the traditional notions of hierarchy and centralization and expand the current analytical and interpretative methods by incorporating in the examination of the empirical evidence aspects of different theoretical approaches such as heterarchy, power sharing strategies, and factionalism.