Trade at Minoan Kommos

“A World of Goods”

Peter S. Day discusses trade at Minoan Kommos

In their Downloadable paper, A WORLD OF GOODS; Transport Jars and Commodity Exchange at the Late Bronze Age Harbor of Kommos, Crete by Peter M. Day, et. al. analyzed 88 samples from four types of ceramic containers found at Kommos.

Ceramic Jar Types (after Day et.al. "A World Of Goods"

Ceramic Jar Types after Day et.al. “A World Of Goods”

They analyzed each one by petrography and neutron activation to determine its composition and area of origin. They grouped their findings by fabric types and chemical similarities. The combined analyses characterized the groups of samples more definitively than would be possible with either one alone.

A listing of the Kommos pottery types can be downloaded here as introduced under our web site’s tab for documents.

 

The combined analyses indicate that approximately half of the samples come from three areas within Crete, while the rest are from Egypt, from modern day Israel, from coastal Lebanon, and in two instances very possibly from Cyprus.

 

The paper includes their petrographic and  chemical data and it illustrates how the samples were sorted into distinctive groups. An appendix by P.S. Quinn presents the detailed petrographic description . Color thin-section micrographs help even the non-specialist to appreciate the physical differences in the ceramics and very useful maps illustrate the probable origin of the ceramics.

From my personal perspective, the paper’s most interesting finding is confirmation that Kommos, far from being a minor out-of-the-way port, seems to have been thoroughly involved in both local and international trade in the Late Minoan period. Despite its location on a south-west facing coast of Crete, Kommos had an active trade with Egypt and the Levant. It isn’t obvious that such trade would have occurred, but this, and earlier work, clearly show it did.

A WORLD OF GOODS; Transport Jars and Commodity Exchange at the Late Bronze Age Harbor of Kommos, Crete by Peter M. Day, Jeremy B Rutter, Patrick S. Quinn, and Vassilis Kilikoglou was originally published in Hesperia, Vol 80. and is reposted here by permission.


 

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One comment on “Trade at Minoan Kommos
  1. R.C.Bigelow says:

    Underwater archaeology is adding to our knowledge of Bronze Age Trade. A very fine video presentation on uncovering wrecks near Fournoi, (islands near Samos), was published in the online newspaper EKATHIMERINI.COM as a special report.

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