April 24, 2008

No Mycenaean political domination of Crete following Late Minoan IB destructions

This contradicts the idea of a Mycenaean contribution into Crete following the collapse of the Minoan civilization. From the paper:
The “warrior burials”, “burials with bronzes” and the single-chamber tombs (tombs of Mainland architecture) are not necessarily associated with Mainlanders. In fact, none of the examined individuals from these LMII–IIIA1 and LMIIIA2 tombs was non-local at Knossos that would be expected based upon the tested theory.
Journal of Archaeological Science doi:10.1016/j.jas.2008.03.006

“Mycenaean” political domination of Knossos following the Late Minoan IB destructions on Crete: negative evidence from strontium isotope ratio analysis (87Sr/86Sr)

A. Nafplioti

Strontium isotope ratio analysis of human dental enamel and bone is applied to investigate a highly debated question of population movement and cultural discontinuity in Prehistoric Aegean Archaeology. The Late Minoan IB (ca. 1490/1470 BC) destructions on Crete are succeeded by cultural upheaval. The novel cultural features that appear at Knossos (Crete) in this period have forerunners in the Mainland. In Cretan context, the Linear B writing system, the funerary architecture and burial practices of the Mainland style are interpreted as evidence of an actual “Mycenaean” long-term settlement and political domination of Knossos. Human skeletal material from tombs that are associated with non-locals from the Mainland based upon the material culture is analysed to measure 87Sr/86Sr. The results of the analysis show that all the examined individuals from the Knossos tombs were born locally.

Link

15 comments:

Antigonos said...

First of all what does Nafplioti means when she says "local"?
She understands locality in terms of blood or ground?
There is no chance that Mycenaeans did not conquer Crete and Knossos!
The only question is when did that happen. Not only Knossos but the entire Western Crete i.e. Kydonia, Aptera, Apodoulou, Apokoronas, Anopoli, Maleme in the Chania prefecture and Atsipades, Lappa, Asi Gonia and others in the Rethymnon prefecture coin to the 1450-1490 BC destruction of the Minoan system and the introduction of Mycenaean individuals and authorities.
Burial customs and art along with the palatal Mycenaean system and the weaponry are not the only witnesses for the Achaean presence!
Rivernames, citynames and other lingual evidence points to that.
The river Iridanos has a clearly Arcadian origin both geographically and lingually!
Ladon in Rodhovani reflects an Arcadian origin.
The cities Gortys, Lykastos, Asea and others have also Arcadian origin since there are cities in Arcadia with the same names.
Additionally in the Cretan Doric dialect we find remnants of the Mycenaean dialect which exist in the Doric of Rodes and Achaia for example!!!
Areas which clearly were inhabited by Mycenaeans and which maintained an Achaean substratum even in Historical times!
We know that Arcadocypriotic dialect is the only direct descendant of the Mycenaean and its genetic affinity with various Doric cities' linguistic substratums points to a Mycenaean identity prior to the Doric.
Apart from that physical anthropology has shown us that new types entered Crete in the Late Helladic period and in the Iron Age as well.
Finding some individuals that were born in Knossos and were buried there only proves that the Mycenaean invasion was not a genocide of the Minoans but a mere military occupation of the island!!!
It is only reasonable that many of the Minoan palatal staff survived and were employed by Achaeans as the formation of Linear B shows and the usage of temples and standard shrines to worship the Gods A THING UNCOMMON TO MYCENAEANS AND PROTO-GREEKS AS WELL AS IT WAS TO ALL INDOEUROPEANS TOO.
It is stupid to impose that because the Knossos tombs showed isotopes which correlate the buried there with Crete that...Mycenaeans never entered Crete and that the mainland features of the Cretan world were just loans!!!
Dating Minoan remains were always problematic (see the feud among scientists about the date of the earliest of Linear B tablets) and that was not always because of mere faults or coincidence!

dienekesp said...

If the Mycenaeans took advantage of the LM IB destructions to dominate the island politically, and if the warrior burial/single-chamber tombs represent these Mycenaeans, then we would expect that at least some of them would not have been born in Crete. The fact that all of them seem to be born in Crete casts doubt to the theory of Mycenaeans taking advantage and/or causing the destructions to take over.

Dienekes said...

Additionally in the Cretan Doric dialect we find remnants of the Mycenaean dialect which exist in the Doric of Rodes and Achaia for example!!!

What do the Dorians have to do with 1,490BC Crete? The Dorians had not even descended to the Peloponnese then, let alone Crete.

Maju said...

The fact that all of them seem to be born in Crete casts doubt to the theory of Mycenaeans taking advantage and/or causing the destructions to take over.

Casts doubt but that's about all.

Our tentaive explanations are often oversimplistic. Just if you consider that maybe there was already a mainlander ("Mycenaean") colony, maybe mercenaries or traders, in Crete, well before the change of regime, you have a valid (and likely) explanation. In this case, it would not have been so much the invaders but the local "Mycenaneans" who would have taken the seats of power.

Anyhow, how many remains were analyzed and from how many total tombs. It may well be that the sample is too small and has a random bias to it. I would expect that even if the first Mycenaean lords of Crete were immigrants/invaders, their descendants would not be anymore. So if these tombs were not just built for the first invaders but also for their descendats along the generations, most of them would necessarily have locals in them, not foreigners.

What is still clear, regardless of the details on how it happened, is that Minoan (most likely pre-Greek) culture was eventually replaced by mainland Greek one. Linear A is not Greek, whatever it may be, artistically Minoans are much closer to early Etruscans than to Mycenaeans, something that, if my memmory doesn't fail, was indirectly confirmed recently by the discovery that Cretans are (or were?) closer to Anatolians than to Greek mainlanders.

Dienekes said...

Just if you consider that maybe there was already a mainlander ("Mycenaean") colony, maybe mercenaries or traders, in Crete, well before the change of regime, you have a valid (and likely) explanation.

Such a colony is not attested archaeologically; that's why people tried to link the arrival of the Mycenaeans with the collapse of Minoan palatial civilization in the first place.

Dienekes said...

artistically Minoans are much closer to early Etruscans than to Mycenaeans

"Early Etruscans" are separated from Minoans by seven centuries.

Antigonos said...

Dienekes said:

"The fact that all of them seem to be born in Crete casts doubt to the theory of Mycenaeans taking advantage and/or causing the destructions to take over."

Since when findings in a single graveplace can speak for an entire country?
Just because Knossos tombs gave strontium isotopes ratio which doesn't SEEM to be overseas that means that the same goes for the entire island?
Some common sense could be useful you know!
Do you have anything to say about the skeletons and other archaeological findings i wrote?
How do you explain the new types?
Ask Prof. Pitsios and Dr. Merdenisianos for more if you want!!!
Additionally isotopes of strontium, uranium, etc. are not valid for archaeological evidence! Many times they give contradicting results and are easily affected by environmental conditions (see the Kanjera and Kanam fossils dating problem).
When DNA tests will be run then we can have some clues in our hands.

Dienekes said:

"What do the Dorians have to do with 1,490BC Crete? The Dorians had not even descended to the Peloponnese then, let alone Crete."

I suggest you first read my comments basically and then answer!
I said that in the Cretan Doric dialect we find remnants of the Mycenaean dialect! THAT HAPPENS ONLY TO AREAS IN WHICH THE MYCENAEANS EXISTED AND IN BIG NUMBERS!!!
You can't find a lingual substratum to a language if there was not a populace that spoke that idiom.
Places were Mycenaeans lived give examples of this substratum e.g. Achaia, Western Crete, Rodes, etc.
If there were no Achaeans in Crete who did name cities, rivers, mountains, etc. with Mycenaean names?
Not the Dorians for sure!
But before them unfortunately for you there was no other Hellenic tribe to conquer Crete apart from Achaeans.
That's why i mentioned this particular substratum in various Doric dialects.
I did it to add along with the anthropological, the cultural, the artistic and the social evidence the linguistic as well in order to show that Mycenaeans did invade Crete.
Is it crystal clear for you now?

Dienekes said...

I said that in the Cretan Doric dialect we find remnants of the Mycenaean dialect! THAT HAPPENS ONLY TO AREAS IN WHICH THE MYCENAEANS EXISTED AND IN BIG NUMBERS!!!

So what? The Dorians did not fly into Crete from outer space. They came from southern continental Greece.

You can't find a lingual substratum to a language if there was not a populace that spoke that idiom.

According to your "theory" the fact that there are a lot of Albanian linguistic elements in the Greek spoken by modern Arvanites indicates that they met with pre-existing Albanians in the Peloponnese?

Antigonos said...

Dienekes said:
"So what? The Dorians did not fly into Crete from outer space. They came from southern continental Greece."

Firstly, i can't assume that albeit your..."divine intellect" you are more suitable to distinguish between a loan Achaean word an a substratum word!
Linguists have found that in places were Mycenaeans lived and survived a holocaust by Dorians, some names and words like verbs, deities, rivers, etc. retained their Mycenaean nature unchanged!
Mycenaean was an archaic form of the arcadocypriotic (or Achaean) dialect. BUT, through out the Mycenaean territory proto-Aeoleans and proto-Ionians lived as well and not just proto-Achaeans!
Thus we have in the Peloponnese and elsewhere Mycenaean Kingdoms that they write in Linear B but that some are ruled by proto-Aeoleans (like Thebes and Corinth), others by proto-Ionians (like eastern Peloponnese and of course Attica) and the biggest majority by proto-Achaeans. That is seen in the tablets of Linear B.
Now if we take your argument that Dorians...gave Achaean names to Crete you must explain how did that happen?
Dorians who invaded Crete DID not descend from Arcadia!!!
Why Dorians who had enslaved Achaeans and created colonies to other lands did not present this substratum in their vocabulary but only in places where the Mycenaean element survived?
Second, as time passes words which have been added to a foreign language or dialect loose parts of their form and most often the suffix and acquire the foreignly lingual nature!
If Dorians who invaded Crete at the 9th or 8th century BC have maintained words of 1200 BC unaltered and in so many numbers that will enable them to baptize cities, mountains, rivers,etc. WITH PURE MYCENAEAN WORDS then that will be A WORLD LINGUISTIC PHENOMENON AND PLEASE BY YOUR GREAT WISDOM SHARE THIS EVIDENCE WITH US!!!
If you can show us that Dorians, and i repeat on purpose, Dorians did this thing in Crete please write an essay on this AND I WILL FUND IT!!!
Third and last, in order to save you from the bother, Linear B tablets from Crete show the Mycenaean rivernames, citynames, mountain names, etc. that i referred to you in my first comment and that alone verifies their existence in Crete long before the invasion of Dorians!!!
The Dorian substratum is only another proof for their existence there.


P.S. The Arvanite language is a mingling of Greek and Albanian words. This idiom was created when Albanians entered continental Greece.
The grammar, syntax and general formation of the Arvanite though is fully Albanian!!!
Thus my "omniscient" friend you got it ALL WRONG DELIBERATELY ONCE AGAIN!!!
Arvanite is not a Greek idiom with Albanian elements but an Albanian idiom with Greek elements!
Hence, HELL YES it shows my...."theory"!
It proves that Greek is a substratum at which Albanian is bestowed upon!

Dienekes said...

I did not speak about the Arvanitika but about the GREEK spoken by modern Arvanites.

Maju said...

@Dienekes:

Such a colony is not attested archaeologically; that's why people tried to link the arrival of the Mycenaeans with the collapse of Minoan palatial civilization in the first place.

Well, I was just trying to put forward some reasonable possibilities. Never meant that they are necesarily correct, just to state that too simplistic explanations may fall short of the actual reality, whichever it was.

While such mercenary colonies may not be attested archaeologically, and even may be just product of my imagination, it is attested that Minoans had an influence on the mainland, that both cultures, even if quite distinct, were not just ignoring each other.

"Early Etruscans" are separated from Minoans by seven centuries.

Not really. That's only true if you mean finished Etruscan civilization. But their roots are at the Vilanova culture that dates precise from c. 1300 BCE, coincident with the many and rather sudden changes that shattered Europe and, specially, the Mediterranean in the late 2nd milennium BCE: Urnfields expansion, fall of Iberian civilizations (El Argar and Zambujal), Sardinian nuraghi, Sea peoples, fall of Troy and Ugarit, of the Hittite Empire... and eventually even fall of Mycenaean Greece as well.

I have not really a good explanation for all those changes (we can speculate but better not) but the fact is that it looks that that period was one of socio-political chaos and many migrations all around.

Etruscans (known now to be of Anatolian or Aegean origin, at least their elites) surely migrated to Italy in that period, after the Hellenization of Crete but before other (possibly related) changes, like the destruction of Troy. Their hairstyles as depicted in later art (long, braided) were similar to those of Minoan Crete (and very distinct from those of classical Greeks or Romans) and their social customs (markedly less hyper-patriarchal than classical Greek or Roman ones) also seem to connect well with the pre-Indoeuropean Eastern Med.

That's the kind of connection I make. Nothing more but nothing less either.

Antigonos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Antigonos said...

Dienekes the Greek language was bestowed upon Arvanites after the arrival of Greeks from Aetolia/Acarnania and Thessaly during the Ottoman captivity of our Nation.
This new inflow of Greeks is attested by cities that were build in the Peloponnese and that have equivalents in the above mentioned areas and they were not existing in the Peloponnese prior to that period e.g. Trikala, Yantes,Lychnos, Makrinoros.
The idiom that Stereoelladites and Peloponnesians speak is striking similar and that is because of that inflow.

Dienekes said...

The point is that the Albanian element in the Peloponese is not a substratum.

In any case, the existence of Achaeans in Crete is not in doubt, since Homer himself mentions their existence. What _is_ in doubt is that they had anything to do with the time period in question.

Antigonos said...

I believe that it is a substratum because these populations (Vlachs, Arvanites, Sarakatsanoi) did not acquire Greek language as their former before 1922.
That is after the destruction in Minor Asia and the inflow of Greek immigrants from Ionia, Pontos, Cappadocia, etc.
Then it was that the Greek element became extremely more numerous through out the country and bestowed its tongue (along with the various incoming dialects e.g. Pontiaka, Kappadokika, etc.)
In the Peloponnese though this sovereignty of the Greek tongue was bestowed upon Arvanites long way before that.

Homer was just a poet and not a historian.
He wrote a saga in order to entertain the Lords of his time.
That's why his work contains many anachronistic elements concerning rituals of the Iron Age not existing back in the time of the Troyan War, battle formations of the infantry of the Iron Age and not of the Bronze one. He also introduces habits and names of peoples or cities that did not exist back then.
Generally Homer mixed the Oral Tradition of the Epic Poetry which came directly from the Mycenaean Age and that was saved mostly by Aeolians who migrated to Anatolia and that's why his poem has many Aeolian features and some things from his time in order to make his story more fascinating and interesting.
That's why Homer reflects many things of his time that we also verify archaeologically.
For example he describes the palaces of some Kings as been exactly like the cities of the Iron Age and not the Cyclopean Walled cities of the Bronze Age.
Anyway there is an interesting and very plain book about the case of the Troyan War called "The Troyans and their neighbors" by Trevor Bryce.
I believe that the tablets of Linear B alone can verify us the existence of Achaean cities and populations and Archeology with its researches supports the whole issue.
My problem as i have told you before is that some scientists are trying by presenting "pretty bubbles in the air" to support gigantic arguments like in the case of Nafplioti!!!
How can any reasonable scientist from only one sort of dating (which to be honest is not a very reliable method as far as human remnants are concerned) and from only one archaeological location e.g. the Knossian tombs, to jump to such a risky and enormous conclusion that Mycenaeans did not rule Crete.

P.S. Recently in the Sfakia area of Western Crete deep in the southern mountains a Mycenaean fortress was fully excavated. Many archaeological artifacts came to the light and many of them are surprisingly similar to the Argolid artifacts!!!
It came as a surprise to me that Homer in his works clearly mentions the family relations between the Atreides and the Western Cretan "anaktes"!!!
Don't forget that when Helen was kidnapped by Paris, Menelaos was in his relatives in Crete!!!
Anopolis, the city that gave these artifacts, is exactly in the core of the Sfakia area!!!
Apart from that many Sfakiotes still reflect the physical type of the first Hellenic intruders as Coon and others have highlighted.
Their faces are very similar with some reconstructions of the Mycenaean Lords' faces from the "Burial Circle A" of Mycenae and with the faces that appear in the seals of the Mycenaean period.
Skeletically they are very similar too.