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Keos XI: Wall Paintings and Social Context. The Northeast Bastion at Ayia Irini


Lyvia Morgan

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Keos XI Wins 2024 Wiseman Book Award

Congratulations to Lyvia Morgan for being honored by the Archaeological Institute of America with the 2024 James R. Wiseman Book Award for Keos XI: Wall Paintings and Social Context. The Northeast Bastion at Ayia Irini (INSTAP Academic Press, 2020, 648 pp., including 74 col. ills.). This monumental book constitutes the primary publication of prehistoric wall paintings from Ayia Irini, Kea (contemporary with those of Akrotiri, Thera), set within the extraordinary context of a fortification wall. It is groundbreaking both in its presentation of methodology and in its scholarship. The central precept is the symbiotic relationship between wall paintings, architecture, and human action and response. Through their structure and context, images play a role in sociocultural memory. In situating the paintings within the wider context of the times, the author explores the social implications of the iconography, deepening our understanding of the life and environment of the Aegean Bronze Age with far-reaching implications for intercultural relations.
The paintings had collapsed into thousands of fragments, which are meticulously reconstructed in a series of scenes, convincingly visualizing the past. Fragoula Georma (The Classical Review, 2022) highlights the unique contributions of this monograph: “[the] recovery of fresco fragments in substantial enough quantities to become the exclusive subject of a monograph is rare. . . . [It] is extremely valuable for the study of prehistoric iconography and contributes immensely to our understanding of the period, the prevailing practices and ideology. It constitutes a reference point for scholars specialising in the iconography and art of the period.” Oliver Dickinson (Journal of Greek Archaeology, 2022) concurs: “This massive volume by one of the leading experts on Aegean Bronze Age fresco painting represents the fruition of many years of work. . . . It contains within it an enormous amount of information and discussion concerning artistic themes and methods of representation on other Aegean frescoes and on different forms of Aegean Bronze Age art such as seals and precious vessels in metal and ivory, with references to contemporary Egyptian and Near Eastern artwork where this has relevance. . . . Overall, this book is a very valuable contribution not just to the study of Aegean fresco-painting, but to Aegean archaeology in general. . . .” This magnum opus sets a high standard for the publication and illustration of prehistoric wall paintings and provides a methodological framework for reconstructing and interpreting fragmentary iconography. It will be very influential.

The iconography of Late Bronze Age wall paintings is presented in their social context within the Cycladic island of Kea and the wider Aegean world. Town, land, and seascapes illustrate the community of this harbor. This book is lavishly illustrated with many color drawings, visualizations, and photographs.

Contents: Prologue. Perception and Interpretation: The Process. PART I: THE PLACE. Chapter 1. Ayia Irini and the Northeast Bastion. PART IIA: MINIATURE FRIEZE. Chapter 2. Human Figures: Body and Society. Chapter 3. Vehicles: Ships and Chariot. Chapter 4. Buildings: Urban Space. Chapter 5. Animals: Hunting and Herding. Chapter 6. Landscape, Seascape, and The Sky. Chapter 7. Visualizing the Past: The Composition of the Miniature Frieze. PART IIB: PLANT PANELS. Chapter 8. Plant Panels. PART III: TECHNIQUE AND COLOR. Chapter 9. Materials, Techniques, and Pigments. Chapter 10. Color and Artistic Performance: The Process of Painting. PART IV: PAINTINGS AS CULTURAL SIGNIFIERs. Chapter 11. Intercultural Connections: The Aegean World. Chapter 12. Feasts, Festivals, and Social Context. Epilogue. Wall Paintings and Memory. Appendix A. Appendix B. Concordance A. Fragments of the Miniature Frieze by Context. Concordance B. Concordance C.

Hardback: 644 pp., 3 tables, 98 figs, 74 color plates.
(INSTAP Academic Press, 2020)

ISBN 978-1-931534-97-0

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