Page 27 - SMCK Magazine #4
P. 27

On Hill II where the Minoan cemetery and the settlements of the Final Neolithic and Late Minoan III are situated the excava- tion is in progress.
SMCK: What was jewelry’s use and why was it placed in tombs with the deceased?
MT: Jewelry of many types has been produced in Crete since Neolithic times. The earliest ornaments were natural stones and animal teeth. In the early Bronze Age (3rd millennium BC), they produced beads of various shapes made of stone, clay
faience, silver, and gold, as well as pendants in the forms of humans and animals. Most of these items were not only decorative, but also served as amulets, and were depo- sited in tombs as status symbols of the deceased. Gold and silver were used for beads, pins, bracelets, rings and earrings, hair-spirals, adornments of clothes, and dia- dems. Gold sheets and wires were made by hammering, and decora-
tion consisted of repoussé and stippling. Diadems were deco- rated with geometric motifs and animal figures. Pendants had the shape of leaves and animals suspended by very fine single or double chains. The finest jewelry of this period was found in tombs, especially in at Mochlos, Petras. and the Mesara. The Proto-Palatial Period (late 3rd-early 2nd millennium BC) was the golden age of the goldsmiths working in the palace workshops and producing elaborate elite items. In this period the number of the fingerings increased significantly. New, much more elaborate techniques were introduced from Meso- potamia, such as filigree and granulation.
SMCK: Which material and which techniques did Minoan je- welers used? Are there characteristic motifs in different eras or throughout the whole period?
MT: Adornments were made of various materials, from shells or pebbles to precious metals, gold, silver, semiprecious stones, and ivory. Silver was imported from the Cyclades, gold from Egypt, bronze from Cyprus, and semi-precious stones from Syria. Geometric motifs, human and animal figures were com- mon in all periods.
SMCK: Did jewelry come from local workshops or was it im- ported – materials, findings or whole pieces – from other re- gions?
MT: Most jewelry excavated in Crete is of local production, especially produced in highly specialist, usually palatial work- shops. Most raw materials – bronze, gold, silver, ivory, semi- precious stones – are imported from the Aegean (silver), Egypt, (gold, stones), Cyprus (bronze), or Syria (hippopotamus ivory).
Aerial view of the Petras cemetery.
 Ivory seal, 2300 BC.

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