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Durham e-Theses
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The Social Role of Minoan Symbols

SOULIOTI, ELENI (2016) The Social Role of Minoan Symbols. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Starting from the premise that symbols are among the most reliable and efficient representatives of a society and that, Minoan society in particular, appears as overly dependent on symbols and their ritual use for the operation of its socio-political structure, this thesis will examine the social role of six of its most emblematic symbols: the double axe, the horns of consecration, the figure-of-eight shield, the sacred knot, the triton and the shell. Based on a large amount of data and recognizing the enormous value of contextual analysis, the social role of the symbols is illustrated through the comparison of patterns of use from a number of sites in North Central and East Crete. The selection of North Central Crete and East Crete is justified by the diversity of socio-political factors offered by the two areas: North Central Crete was a geographically unified area, where the Palace Knossos, the largest and most complex palace of Minoan Crete was built, while East Crete was a geographically fragmented area with relatively isolated settlements, which developed different degrees of palatial complexity. The variation in the responses to the emergence of the palatial system in these two inherently different geographical units is here used to demonstrate the significance of the study of Minoan symbols for the understanding of past societies. The above patterns are interpreted under the scope of an interactive relation between different social groups, individuals and objects, as well as the spaces which become fields of action for the symbols. In this frame, symbols are viewed as constantly changing formations which reflect dynamic social relations.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Aegean Archaeology, Minoan Archaeology, Contextual Archaeology, Theory of Symbolism
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Dec 2017 12:00

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