The role of metals in Bronze Age palatial societies on Crete investigated by a new dispassionate scientific approach applied to 80-90% of the metal finds from LBA Crete. Can they be characterized as prime movers for the economic development or as a means for generating status and power for a small elite?
The present volume, the dissertation of the author at the University of Helsinki, is a long overdue study of an important almost neglected subject. Several Aegean scholars have stressed the dependence of the palatial Bronze Age civilizations on metals for their very existence, and as none was to be found in the Aegean they developed extensive commercial networks to import copper and tin from Cyprus and the Near East. In this book, however, for the first time someone looks on the topic in a systematic, comprehensive manner. For the work the author has devised a database containing an impressive number of metal finds and metallurgical ceramics, without doubt the most comprehensive set of data regarding metal use on LBA Crete. With a new, innovative, scientific approach she investigates what the use and distribution of the total metal amount found on LBA Crete, might reflect about the nature of these periods. The method is new in three ways; the metal-centered focus for studying Aegean societies, the holistic view comprising copper and bronze in all forms and the quantification of the metal by weight instead of number of finds. By creating the metal cycles for each period and region the differences in the importance of metals in the Minoan and Mycenaean world are clearly illustrated.
Prominent Aegean scholars have expressed very positive opinions regarding the book and stressed that it makes an important contribution to the on-going discussion about the nature of theses periods. The authors new innovative approach to the subject is much welcomed, and the volume comprise a valuable useful means for everybody involved in Aegean metallurgy.