Joseph MacGillivray

Joseph MacGillivray

Palaikastro Excavations, Crete
2003 Grant Recipient

The Minoan Kouros Shrine at Palaikastro, Crete, Greece

Minoan religion remains as mysterious to us as it was to Sir Arthur Evans, who proposed the first interpretations of the representational scenes in Aegean art over a century ago. These two buildings at Palaikastro, both directly associated with the unique and undeniably sacred Palaikastro Kouros, have shed a very great deal of light on what the town shrines in Neopalatial Minoan Crete contained and how their assemblages differed from other urban complexes. They have also prompted us to explore this urban shrine's possible relationship to the nearby `peak sanctuary' on Mt. Petsophas. Outside of the palaces, there are no other urban shrines or temple identified as such in Neopalatial Crete. The undisturbed destruction deposits in Building 5 enable us to study the two phases of the LM IB period, first identified at Palaikastro, for even greater chronological accuracy into this important time period, contemporary with the Egyptian eighteenth dynasty.

This grant is to support J. A. MacGillivray's participation in the preparation of two final reports on the excavations in the Bronze Age city beneath the Greek and Roman Diktaion at Palaikastro, Crete. The first, Palaikastro Building 1. Sacred Space in Transition, outlines the complex and turbulent history of this unique building at the northern edge of the Minoan city. The presence of a terracotta figurine of a woman with upraised arms, together with a stone `horns of consecration', and the building's alignment to the Summer solstice (New Year's Day in neighbouring Egypt) lead us to believe that Building 1 may have been sacred, perhaps a temple, which makes it the only one, outside of the palaces, in a Minoan urban context. The second final publication, Palaikastro Building 5. The Kouros Shrine, presents the building adjacent to Building 1 which, we believe, served as the temporary shrine with underground repository in the LM IB period (15th c. BC) for the chryselephantine statuette dubbed the Palaikastro Kouros.

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