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Book: Critical Approaches to Cypriot and Wider Mediterranean Archaeology

Chapter: 10. Reinventing Persistent Memory Landscapes: The Late Minoan III Interventions in the Pre- and Proto-palatial Cemetery at Petras – Kephala (Siteia, Crete)

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.42486


The Petras Kephala (Siteia, Crete) plateau was the focus in the Post-Palatial period of two geographically separate and functionally different complexes. Nevertheless, they were intimately related and contemporary. The southern complex was oriented around an ancestor veneration cult at an altar and a cenotaph and in the conspicuous drinking rituals held inside an imposing rectangular building. In the northern sector commemorative ceremonies were celebrated in an expansive rectangular sunken area with a theatrical backdrop on two sides. The open-air ceremonies and rituals held here included token communal feasting by the participants. The Rectangular Platform could have served as the dais for the community’s leader and close associates to view the activities and processions. The architectural adornment of these structures and spaces using various mnemonic devices was designed to send integrated, dominant messages of legitimacy, authority and group identity.
Crucial to the acceptance of these messages in the two complexes was the invention of a new memory landscape starting in LM IIIA2 for the community’s mixed Cretan and mainland population. This was crafted using the ideological foundations of the long- standing central authority of the Middle Minoan IIA - Late Minoan IB palace at Petras and the incorporation of specific value laden architectural forms and materials, commemorative ceremonies, ancestor veneration, ritual activities and feasting taken from the palace and the Neopalatial settlement. By imposing this upon the visible remnants of the Pre- and Protopalatial house tomb cemetery it revived key aspects of a persistent memory landscape there where the elites of Petras had vied for sociopolitical supremacy for a 1000 years.

Chapter Contributors

  • David W. Rupp ( - dwrupp) 'Brock University'
  • Metaxia Tsipopoulou ( - mtsipopoulou) 'Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport, Athens'