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Crafts, Specialists, and Markets in Mycenaean Greece. Exchanging the Mycenaean Economy


This article examines the palatial and nonpalatial organization of craft production and exchange in the Late Bronze Age Argolid. The Late Bronze Age elites controlled markers of status and prestige, which were institutionalized in palatial control of the production and consumption of prestige goods. At Mycenae, the existence of attached ceramic workshops is evidence for palatial interest in the production and distribution of a wider range of ceramics than existed at the palace at Pylos, which was interested only in kylikes. Communities in Mycenae's territory, such as Tsoungiza, used ceramic assemblages nearly identical to those of the palatial elites. Given the quantities of ceramic vessels needed annually to supply the entire polity, it is unlikely that these were allocated via mechanisms of palatial control. Instead, we must consider multiple mechanisms of distribution in addition to redistribution, including market exchange. Likewise, we must consider one individual to be engaged in transactions both with the palace (redistribution, tax payments) and with the surrounding communities (reciprocity and market exchange). Markets serve to horizontally integrate households in a community or region and to vertically integrate those households with the center. Other evidence for market exchange, such as weights and measures and the road network, is explored.

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Crafts, Specialists, and Markets in Mycenaean Greece. Exchanging the Mycenaean Economy

By Daniel J. Pullen

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 117, No. 3 (July 2013), pp. 437–445

DOI: 10.3764/aja.117.3.0437

© 2013 Archaeological Institute of America