Greek Towers and Slaves: An Archaeology of Exploitation

Tower complex at Agia Triada, Amorgos.
Tower complex at Agia Triada, Amorgos.

This article reviews the archaeological and documentary evidence for stone towers built in rural and urban Greece in classical and Hellenistic times. The history of scholarship reveals how prevailing agendas have unduly influenced interpretation. A new contextual and transregional approach situates these structures more securely within the exploitation of the Greek landscape through extractive and productive technologies, and emphasizes their relations to the forms of dependent labor that enabled them. In particular, towers may have confined unfree labor under circumstances of absentee farming and mining by wealthy owners and tenants.


DOI: 10.3764/aja.109.2.155