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by Archaeology Newsroom

Metamorphoses in Aegean prehistory

By reading about archaeological remains, certain terms constantly appear, such as change, evolution, appearance, disappearance, reappearance, etc, which in the present article appear under the general term “metamorphosis”. It is true that the archaeological- cultural time, especially in Prehistory: is primarily perceived by us through such metamorphoses in the various manifestations of material life. As metamorphosis is most of all conceived any evolutional procedure that, so much in its short as much in its long duration -especially in the latter-, represents the main vehicle in the creation of civilization. The Aegean palatial civilizations of the 2nd millenium BC. – the Minoan and the Mycenaean -, owing to their social complexity and spectacular flourishing of all categories of arts and crafts, offer an ideal study for metamorphoses as defined and conceived here. Bypassing theoretical constructions of a generalized character, only a few aspects of the issue are approached here through some absolutely representative examples of pottery (stirrup jars, conical cups, prestige-pottery), painting (genetic correlation of the art of the wall-paintings with the Camares style), seal-engraving (mainly the evolution of shape from polymorphy to homeomorphy) and jewelry (wide use of matrix). Starting from changes that occur in the quantity and quality of the production, an effort is made to determine the factors that affect them in connection with the overal socio-economic network of the period and the improvement of know-how.