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The Western String in the Late MBA and LBA I-II: Populations and Account Balances + Responses by Natalie Abell, Luca Girella, Peter Pavúk, Alex Knodell, Irene Nikolakopoulou, Todd Whitelaw

Jones, Donald W.; (2021) The Western String in the Late MBA and LBA I-II: Populations and Account Balances + Responses by Natalie Abell, Luca Girella, Peter Pavúk, Alex Knodell, Irene Nikolakopoulou, Todd Whitelaw. Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici. Nuova Serie , 7 pp. 91-186.

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Abstract

Three Aegean islands – Melos, Thera, and Kea – between Crete and the eastern mainland of Greece have been singled out as composing the Western String principal trade route during the Bronze Age (Fig. 1.). Each has a single town and at least the remains of a good harbor, and the towns have the archaeological evidence of out-of-the-ordinary wealth: fortification walls, at least one monumental building, sophisticated fresco wall paintings in some of the buildings, and high-value imports. My question is: How did such small islands with so few productive resources and populations, get so rich? My answer is that they charged for port services, earning something like monopoly profits off their natural harbor facilities. I test this hypothesis with the interruption of commercial shipping following the destruction of the middle island – Thera – by a volcanic explosion around 1630 BCE. As the shipping through the remaining two islands tapered off, partly due to reduced demand from Crete and partly due to emergence of new, work-around shipping routes, so did those two islands’ ability to sustain the monumentality of architectural structures as earthquakes required repairs that increasingly came out of savings and shipping income dwindled. Eventually the towns were abandoned.

Type: Article
Title: The Western String in the Late MBA and LBA I-II: Populations and Account Balances + Responses by Natalie Abell, Luca Girella, Peter Pavúk, Alex Knodell, Irene Nikolakopoulou, Todd Whitelaw
Publisher version: http://smea.isma.cnr.it/?post_type=portfolio&p=295...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152392
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