Atkinson, Thomas [Mitarb.]
Excavations at Phylakopi in Melos — London, 1904

Seite: 224
Zitierlink: 
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/atkinson1904/0244
Lizenz: Creative Commons - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen Nutzung / Bestellung
0.5
1 cm
facsimile
224

lt. C. BOSANQUET

Sir John Evans has made a similar Suggestion to account for the fragments
of flint which have been noticed on Romano-British sites.]

The threshing-sledge of modern Greece, called by various names
{uXcovLarpa, ßoSXoavpot;, vTovyevi, hovüici), corresponds in all respects with
the tribulum described by Varro—'fit e tabula lapidibus aut ferro exasperata,
qicac imposito auriga aut pondere grandi trahitur jumentis junctis ut discutidt
c spica grana.' In the Peloponnese it is shod with iron ' razors ' (gvpdcfua),
in Crete with long splinters of grey flint, tons of which are imported every
year from a Black Sea port and sold by weight in the village shops.

In view of the scarcity of flint in the Aegean, well illustrated by this
modern instance, it seems possible that obsidian was once used for this pur-
pose. Being more brittle than flint it might require more frequent renewal,
but this would matter little if the one were cheap and plentiful, the other
scarce and dear.

It is curious that in Melos, where there is a choice between obsidian and
flint, the tribulum is unknown and the corn is trodden out by mules and
donkeys freshly shod for the purpose ; but before the days of iron shoes this
alternative would have been less efficient. Much of the Melian flint is better
suited for striking fire than for the manufacturc of implements ; it may have
been exported in antiquity for either purpose, but this has yet to be proved.
Mr. Mackenzie observed flint of good quality and signs of quarrying near
Tria Pigadia on the east coast.

It is also possible that obsidian to some extent supplied the place of
flint in the armature of sickles,2 constructed perhaps like the Aztec swords,
which were made of wood edged with obsidian flakes. The finding of flint
sickle-teeth in the Third City at Phylakopi shows that even in the mature
Mycenaean period bronze sickles were not in universal use 3; at an earlier
period there must have been many places where flint itself was more costly
or less easily obtainable than obsidian ; it is certainly far less abundant on
ancient sites.

5; 6.—The Finlay Coüection and its Sources.

Before discu.ssing the ränge of the trade in obsidian it is necessary to
clear the way by discussing the value of certain evidence which has hitherto
been accepted without question.

Long before our excavations the obsidian-deposit of Phylakopi had been
discovered by the natives. Dümmler in 1885 saw hundreds of knives and
cores4, and when wo came there in 189G somc of them still lay on the surface

1 Ancient Störie Implements of GrecU Britain
(1807), p. 284.

- For flint sickles see the referenees given
on p. 194 above, and important papers by
F. C. J. Spurrell in Archaeological Journal,
xlix. p. 53, and by Blankenberg in Mim. dt
la Soc. des Antiquaires du Nord. 189(5-1901,

p. 183.

3 A saw-edged copper sickle was found in
the prehistoric village on Thera which
corresponds in date with the Second City at
Phylakopi. See B.O.B. 1870, p. 201, and
Perrot and Chipiez, vi. p. 149.

4 Alh. Mitth. xi. 188(5, p. 28.
loading ...