Hagia Triada IV. The Protopalatial Levels (Excavations 1977-2012)

The goal of this project is the full publication in a monograph of the Protopalatial pottery and its related contexts (19th-18th c. BC; Middle Minoan [=MM] IB-IIB), as uncovered at the site of Hagia Triada (Crete) by the Italian Archaeological School at Athens from 1977 to 2012.

The site is located 35° 3’ 33.792’’ North, 24° 47’ 35.943” East in the western Mesara, a large and fertile plain in south-central Crete. Hagia Triada is one of the most important Minoan sites and represents one of the points in the so-called ‘great Minoan triangle of the Mesara’ – the other two being the palatial centre of Phaistos and the harbour town of Kommos (fig. 1). The settlement of Hagia Triada was founded during the 4th millennium, at the beginning of the Early Minoan, and then permanently inhabited from the first phases of the Protopalatial period. The site developed monumental architecture only later, during the Neopalatial and Postpalatial periods (19th-13th c. BC.; MM III-Late Minoan IIIB), with the building first of the impressive ‘Villa’ and then of the ‘stoà and agorà’ complex (fig. 2). Hagia Triada is the only one of the three components of the ‘triangle’ which encompasses a necropolis too, dating from EM II (3rd millennium) on.

The relative paucity of the MM architectural remains, when compared to the impressive buildings of the Neopalatial and Postpalatial periods, led to this phase being almost completely neglected by the first excavators of Hagia Triada at the beginning of the 20th century. Realization of this prompted a new cycle of excavations, directed by V. La Rosa (1977-2012), which dramatically increased the MM ceramic material available (figs. 3, 4). This material, which has remained unpublished, was the subject of her PhD dissertation (2013). The contextual study carried out in her dissertation, which will be fully developed into a monoghraph by the present project, led to: (A) a chronological, topographical and functional definition and appreciation of the Protopalatial deposits, (B) a study of the production, distribution and consumption of MM pottery in the wider context of the western Mesara and (C) a global re-evaluation of the role of the site during the MM phases.

The publication project is directed by Dr. Giorgia Baldacci.