Making Minoan Society. The formation and interaction of group identities in Crete during the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (c. 2100-1470 BC).
Traditionally Bronze Age Cretan (Minoan) society has been treated as a homogenous, islandwide entity, characterised by the interaction of similarly organised settlements and explained in relation to generalised social models. In this narrative the principal actors are settlements and the ‘elites’ assumed to have controlled them. However, recent work has noted considerable temporal and regional diversity in how society was constructed and has stressed the need to develop new methodologies that get closer to the actual identities/agencies involved. Drawing on recent theoretical advances, this project will transcend the state of the art in Minoan research and contribute to archaeological methodology by means of an innovative, bottom-up study of the formation and interaction of (group) identities in Crete in the Bronze Age (c. 3100-1470 BC). Through a reconceptualisation of identity as a nexus of relationships it will explore how multiple identities were potentially negotiated and materialised in the archaeological record. In this way, the project will shed new light on the actual associations, identities and relations that lie behind much used but ill-defined terms such as ‘society’, ‘community’ and ‘elite’, and do more justice to the complexity of identities in the Cretan Bronze Age.