Knossos (Grèce): The Houses of the High Noon

Iro Mathioudaki

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Mathioudaki ms poster1 1 450x338House of the Fallen Blocks.

New evidence on the Houses of the Fallen Blocks and Sacrificed Oxen at the Palace of Knossos

The Houses of the Fallen Blocks and Sacrificed Oxen at the southeast corner of the Palace of Knossos demonstrate the magnitude of the earthquake at the start of the New Palace period. The houses contained large amounts of destruction debris, highly instructive for the character of the period, i.e. MM IIIA, and the Great Seismic event, which was decisive for the definition of the New Palace era initially by Evans and later by several other scholars.

Evans treated these two houses as a unit for some reasons. First, he regarded them as ‘tower houses’ due to the absence of entrances and, secondly, because the filling material of the one house corresponded in all respects with that of the neighbouring one. Another reason that Evans treated the houses as a unit is that he considered them part of the town of Knossos. In his words “their plan gave us for the first time a glimpse of the arrangement of a small section of the town of Knossos as it existed in the last MM period”. There is no sign of stratification above the floor levels. The abundance of the ceramic material and the unique repertory of the forms prompted Evans to call this deposit “a storehouse of MM III domestic pottery”. According to Mackenzie the deposit is a secondary one, since there are joins throughout the material, from the two Houses and the Corridor.

The complete study of the deposit is the project the author has conducted during the last few years and that will be presented here. The deposit yielded ca. 6000 sherds, mainly medium-sized (belonging to medium-sized jars and jugs), many small and fewer large ones. Most of the material belongs to storage/transport vessels. The second most common category is that of the tableware. The Houses contain a more varied repertory of pots than the pottery deposits of the palace proper. Our study confirmed the first impression that the bulk of the pottery belongs to the MM IIIA period, mainly its earlier part; the assemblage has great parallels deposits from the Olive Press Room, the Magazine of the Medallion Pithoi, the Vlachakis plot in the town and the Anemospilia assemblage.