Small things considered : the finds from LH IIIB Pylos in context

Hofstra, Susanne Ursula, 1968-
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The Late Bronze Age center of Pylos on the Ano Englianos ridge in southwestern Messenia provides an excellent subject for the study of texts, artifacts, architecture and decorative program in conjunction with one another. A reexamination of the small finds from the original excavations by Blegen provides the basis for setting objects of bronze, ivory, bone and stone in their context and allows these materials to be more successfully evaluated as evidence for production, consumption, and use of space in the palace buildings. They also provide new means for assessing the importance of the upper story of the Main Building and its relationship to ground floor areas. Distinct deposits of ivory and bronze can now be isolated as fallen from the upper floor, and along with known motifs from the frescoes, reveal the high status of the upper floor and its possible special functions in the use of the building by different groups. On the ground floor among space for storage of commodities --- which over the course of the LH 1118 period increased until it began to encroach upon rooms formerly designed for human-centered activity --- the areas between the megaron and main propylon served as a place for the public and elite to interact, with the intended use of the space reinforced by a decorative program emphasizing communal feasting and symbols of elite power. The upper floor, on the other hand, held large quantities of imported items with high status associations, and was decorated with scenes linked to elite hunting ethos. The Northeastern Building appears to be an additional space for commodity storage, as well as a repair and work facility also closely connected to elite concerns and the immediate needs of the palace complex. There is little evidence to support its significance as a major industrial and economic contributor in the greater sphere of the Pylian polity. Its placement on the acropolis with the rest of the palace complex, topographically dominating over and isolated from the surrounding settlement, reinforces its status as a palatial installation concerned with the center's own production and storage needs. The palace complex at the end of the LH 1118 period used such symbolic barriers in architecture and space, as well as by control of specific iconographic motifs and material goods, to emphasize its supreme placement at the head of the Messenian polity