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Crafts, Specialists, and Markets in Mycenaean Greece. The New Political Economy of Nichoria: Using Intrasite Distributional Data to Investigate Regional Institutions


Regional authority in Mycenaean Greece should be reconstructed using excavation data from both palatial centers and hinterland communities. Economic information is the first line of inquiry into this subject because of the presence of the Linear B tablets and the tangible quality of material production in the archaeological record. To this end, this article presents a starting point for reconsidering the use of intrasite artifact distribution in the nonpalatial community of Nichoria in Messenia as a means of detecting the economic relationship between the palatial center at Pylos and one of its regional dependencies. The results of this study indicate that the institutions that structured the hierarchical relationship between Pylos and Nichoria were not based on creating an economic system of staple redistribution to equalize access to resources across the region. Instead, the construction of symbolic hierarchies of value in some resources and the use of those materials in political institutions, such as feasting and the distribution of exotic goods, likely played a significantly greater role in creating regional integration than did economic control.

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