Aphrodite’s Kephali: An Early Minoan I Defensive Site in Eastern Crete


By Philip P. Betancourt
Contributions by Kostas Chalikias, Heidi M.C. Dierckx, Andrew J. Koh, Evi Margaritis, Floyd W. McCoy, Eleni Nodarou, and David S. Reese

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The small site of Aphrodite’s Kephali, among several other Minoan and later sites, took advantage of the valley topography in the Isthmus of Ierapetra in eastern Crete by establishing themselves along the nearby hills, resulting in easy access to the natural trade route between the Aegean and the Libyan Seas. A discussion of the architecture, artifacts, and ecofacts are presented from the excavation of this Early Minoan I watchtower. The conclusions challenge some of the commonly held views about Crete in the third millennium B.C. It is suggested that rather than being a precursor to a socially complex state that would arise later, early polities involving several communities probably already existed in the isthmus during the EM I period. Social and economic differentiation existed on a regional, not just a local level, and decisions for mutual defense could involve collaboration by groups of workers, including the building of the watchtower that is the focus of this volume.

Contents: 1. Introduction, Philip P. Betancourt; 2. The Isthmus of Ierapetra, Philip P. Betancourt; 3. Geology and Geologic History, Floyd W. McCoy; 4. The FN/EM I Settlement Patterns in the Northern Part of the Isthmus of Ierapetra, Philip P. Betancourt; 5. The FN/EM I Settlement Patterns in the Southern Part of the Isthmus of Ierapetra, Kostas Chalikias; 6. The Excavation of the Site, Philip P. Betancourt; 7. The Architecture, Philip P. Betancourt; 8. The Pottery, Philip P. Betancourt; 9. The Ground and Chipped Stone Tools, Heidi M.C. Dierckx; 10. The Faunal Remains, David S. Reese, 11. Arboriculture at Aphrodite’s Kephali, Evi Margaritis; 12. Hillforts and Watchtowers, Philip P. Betancourt; 13. The Place of Aphrodite’s Kephali in the Early Development of Fortifications, Philip P. Betancourt; 14. The Significance of Aphrodite’s Kephali, Philip P. Betancourt; Appendix A. The Ceramic Petrography, Eleni Nodarou; Appendix B. Gas Chromatography Analysis, Andrew Koh and Philip P. Betancourt; References; Index.

Hardback: 270 pp., 30 tables, 97 B/W figs.
(Prehistory Monographs 41, INSTAP Academic Press, Spring 2013)

ISBN 978-1-931534-71-0