“Why” Building: The Layers of Architecture and Iconography and their Sociological Relevance for Minoan Society

By Vander Beken Noach.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The nature and possible function(s) of Minoan palaces became in the past few years a matter of lively debate. This paper tries to make an attempt to move away from the traditional dichotomy whether or not the Minoan palace did serve as an elite residence or functioned solely as the ceremonial centre of the community, as both can exist perfectly parallel next to each other. By the application of performative theory, this paper focuses on the role of the Minoan Palace as a backdrop for large-scale ritual events, whereby the layers of architecture and iconography are used as major media for expression. It seems that the fundamental concept behind the construction of the Palaces was to restrain and structure peoples’ movements and interactions, with a focus on making transitions from the public outside towards the more private inner world of the Palaces’ proper. The Central Court with its highly sophisticated façades was accessible only to members of the elite. Such an area of restricted access, which was certainly invested with profound symbolic meanings, should not be downgraded to a simple place of assembly for any social group.

Keywords: Aegean Architecture, Minoan Palaces, Performance, Social Interaction

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.203-222. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 5.212MB).

Vander Beken Noach

PhD Student at the University of Heidelberg, Research Project: Raumordnung, Norm und Recht in historischen Kulturen Europas und Asiens., Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg, Germany

As a student I finished my masters at the University of Leuven (Belgium). From 2008 onwards, I work on my dissertation at the University of Heidelberg in the field of Minoan Archaeology. The innovative in my dissertation is the introduction of a wide range of sociological concepts to the discipline in order to place the role of architecture and iconography in the reconstruction of social meanings (for example the expression of norms and values).Given the absence of written sources as a form of visual communication media, the aim is to make images and built spaces available for their interpretation as main representatives of Minoan concepts of reality.

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