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Book: Mediterranean Resilience

Chapter: The Collapse of the Mycenaean Palaces Revisited

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.41502


For a long time, 13th century in the Aegean has been considered as a peaceful period marked by rather stable, local communities and the large-scale exchange of commodities most emblematically materialised by the Mycenaean palaces of the Argolid. In contrast to that, the 12th century seemed to be characterised not only by the end of the palaces and all connected societal institutions but also by human mobility together with a rather neglectable scale of the exchange of commodities. The year 1200 BC was considered as the peak of the crisis which has been taken as an explanation for the assumed ground-breaking shifts between the two centuries. In my contribution, I want to go beyond simplifying narratives and take a more differentiated view on what transformations took place at the end of the 13th century or already during its course. I want to show that major changes already seem to have taken place in the second half of the 13th century and continued into the 12th century and thereby relativise the year 1200 BC as a hallmark of the developments. I will demonstrate the shifts of the Mediterranean network of mobility of humans and objects during the 13th century and in the early 12th century with a strong focus on the archaeological evidence from Tiryns. This will lead to a revaluation of the historical developments in the 13th century and show that the breakdown of the palatial system is the result of socio-political transformations over ca. 50 years.

Chapter Contributors

  • Philipp Stockhammer ([email protected] - pstockhammer) 'Ludwig Maximilian University Munich'