Cupellation At Kea: Investigating Potential Applications Of The Minoan Conical Cup
For several decades, a full understanding of the Minoan Conical cup, its uses, and the social environment in which it was used has remained largely a mystery. Appearing first in the Early Minoan Period (EM; 31002100/2050 BCE), the conical cup seems to have been a vessel which was prevalent in the daily life of those living in the Bronze Age Aegean. It is not until the Late Minoan Period (LM; 1700/16751075/1050 BCE), that the conical cup production standardizes and vessels are found in large concentrations across the Aegean from Crete, Kea, Kythera, and Melos, to Thera, Mainland Greece, and portions of Western Anatolia (Gillis 1990b, 1). Yet over the past thirty years, physical descriptions and discussions of production of the conical cups have outnumbered explanations of their use and influence. Studies of standardization (Davis 1985; Gillis 1990b; Gillis 1990c; Berg 2004; Hilditch 2014), transmission (Gillis 1990a; Gillis 1990c; Knappett 1999) and regional distribution (Wiener 1984; Gillis 1991a; Gillis 1990b; Wiener 2011) are more numerous than those which address questions surrounding their use (Schofield 1990b) . This thesis seeks to understand the spatial distribution and application of the handleless cup/conical cup in daily social practices taking place in the context of House A at Ayia Irini, Kea during the Period VI occupation (LM IA, LH I, LC I)1 . These materials from Ayia Irini may reveal something of what it meant to be a part of an increasingly 'Minoan' or at the very least 'Minoanizing' world. This thesis will address how patterns in the distribution of handleless cups at House A and their association with other finds therein can inform the intended uses of and the social practices for which these ceramics were reserved and the degree to which these daily routines conformed to, or deviated from, social practices known from contemporary sites elsewhere in the Aegean. These questions are important because they can contribute to wider debates on what constituted shared experience in what has come to be called a 'Minoan' or 'Minoanizing' world and may finally provide a compelling (albeit partial) explanation for 1 See Table 1. the prevalence of the Minoan conical cup. In pursuing the answer(s) to these questions I propose that, in addition to other possible of uses, the handleless cup at Ayia Irini was a vessel wellsuited to 1) use in the process of silver cupellation and 2) use as a receptacle for various dyes used in textile production. These claims will be supported by artifact distribution and density maps of the Period VI structure that reveal the spatial relationships between objects and features.
Minoan; Conical Cups; Ayia Irini
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis