Collapse of the Mycenean Palaces and the Survival of the Periphery


Marina Thomatos


Adjunct Professor of Classics
Hunter College-CUNY
Montclair State University


Over the last few decades, scholars of Greek prehistory have paid close attention to the period following the collapse of the great Mycenaean palaces trying to understand the transition between the Greek Bronze Age and Iron Age. According to V. R. D'A. Desborough in his monumental work The Last Mycenaeans and the Successors, the civilization that “depended on the system of monarchical rule for the whole and parts of its world [...] was now finished with.” Archaeologically speaking, there is much evidence that the “system” was in fact finished with, as the multiple destructions at all the major palaces demonstrate.  However, can we actually say that the “civilization” was finished with? What happened to the areas in the periphery of the Mycenaean palaces? What happened for example to the sites that were once under the control of the palaces such as Lefkandi-Xeropolis on Euboea? This talk will explore the nature of the survival of these peripheral sites in an attempt to understand why some sites seem to show recovery and a reasonable degree of increased prosperity during the post-palatial period known to archaeologists as Late Helladic IIIC.

Marina Thomatos holds a B.A. in Fine Arts and Classics from NYU and a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Edinburgh. She is the author of The Final ‘Revival’ of the Aegean Bronze Age (Oxford, ArchaeoPress, 2006), has written several journal articles on the end of the Bronze Age, and has extensive archaeological field experience in Greece, including currently the Xeropolis-Lefkandi Project on Euboea.

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