Stylistic Diversity and Diacritical Feasting at Protopalatial Petras: A Preliminary Analysis of the Lakkos Deposit
This paper presents an overview of an assemblage of Middle Minoan (MM) IB pottery from a closed deposit called the "Lakkos" at the Minoan palace of Petras in eastern Crete. The various ware groups are discussed with the aim of improving our understanding of the Protopalatial ceramic sequence in this part of Crete and the function of stylistic variation in a palatial context. Recent studies of the earliest palaces in Crete have shifted discussion away from the traditional view of the palace as an economic center by emphasizing evidence for regionally diverse sociopolitical configurations during the period. The MM IB–IIB palace is viewed not as a monolithic institution controlling contiguous territories but as a venue for the articulation of dominant ideologies in contexts suggesting a wide range of sociopolitical interactions within and outside of the palace. Current approaches consider various forms of data, including elite or distinctly palatial styles of pottery, which are taken as symbolic referents in public rituals. My analysis of the Petras Lakkos pottery is informed by this paradigm shift: I argue that styles of pottery and stylistic relationships between pottery, seals, hieroglyphic documents, and peak sanctuary figurines are related to the visual expression of the identities of competing corporate groups. Drinking sets in different ware groups identify distinct social units or ritual roles in a phase immediately prior to the foundation of the palace.