Article: « From chaff to seagrass: The unique quality of Minoan mudbricks. A geoarchaeological approach to the study of architectural craft specialization in Bronze Age Crete » (2021)

Lorenzon M. (2019), « From chaff to seagrass: The unique quality of Minoan mudbricks. A geoarchaeological approach to the study of architectural craft specialization in Bronze Age Crete », in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, vol. 40 (A), article n. 103122.

Abstract

This article illustrates how changes in the use of vegetal temper in Bronze Age earthen architecture in Crete are a key line of evidence for investigating the appearance of architectural craft specialization. The macroscopic study of sundried mudbricks is combined with geoarchaeological analyses (SEM and thin section petrography) to explore patterns and variations in the use of vegetal temper throughout the Pre-, Proto-, and Neopalatial periods (3650–1425 BCE).

This diversity in the selection of vegetal temper is an important aspect of the chaîne opératoire, which points not only to opportunistic but also technological motivations in the selection of raw source material and also the development of earthen architecture. The seagrass species Posidonia oceanica is employed across the island, indicating a standardization of recipes between sites by manufacturers and builders.

Keywords: Earthen architecture, Vegetal temper, Geoarchaeology, Quantitative stereometry, Posidonia oceanica, SEM, Petrography, Experimental analysis.


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