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

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THE STJCCESSIVE SETTLEMENTS AT PHYLAKOPI. 247

remove, with Thessaly. And Thessaly with its great outlook inland of
expansive piain and fertile valley must in those days have formed the great
mainland end-station on the high trade-route between the Aegean and
Central Europe.1

In the present state of the early evidence it is not as yet possible to
say whether the rudiments of the great Aegean League, of which the hege-
mony was later in the hands of Crete, had at this early period attained to
such consistency as could have already enabled Crete to play any leading
rule of mediation in the trade-intercourse between the Cyclades and the
mainland of Greece. The fact, however, that from a very early period Crete
is in command of the trade of the Libyan sea, especially in its relation to
Egypt, involves by implication an extension of this influence into the Aegean.

Obsidian worked into beads occurs in Egypt in the mature prehistoric
age answering with some probability to the mature neolithic period of Crete
(sequence-date 50-(jO). Obsidian fiake apparently occurs already in the middle
prehistoric period (sequence-date 40-50), and it is not likely, in view especially
of the neolithic data from Crete, that we shall ever get further back than
this with the Egyptian evidence.2

With the early Dynastie Period we find the working of obsidian at a
stage of development to which, so far as we know, there is nothing to corre-
spond in the Aegean itself. Thus obsidian vases occur in Egypt in tombs of
the early Dynasties at Abydos and up to the Sixth Dynasty at Dendereh.3
If, as is probable, the obsidian of Egypt is the Aegean variety found in
Melos, then it is likely that Crete acted as intermediary in the traffic, just as
she seems to have done in the case of the liparite from the Aeolian islands
which formed the raw material for the liparite vases likewise found in early
Dynastie tombs.4

This intermediary röle of Crete in the trade between the Aegean and
Africa would explain the fact that, while the fine black obsidian found in
prehistoric and early Dynastie Egypt is probably Melian, we have no
evidence of direct intercourse between the Cyclades and the Nileland
answering to that which is so noticeable between Crete itself and Egypt.5
That this intercourse, so important for the internal development of the
Aegean, went back to a remote prehistoric past, is jn'oved by the recent finds,
not only in Crete but in Egypt, to which reference has just been made.

We have already seen that the obsidian industry, started apparently

1 In Thessaly, very early pottery with
geometric design in lustroua glaze has recently
been found which has the closest analogy with
the' earliest painted geometric wäre of the
Cyclades and of Crete. In the present state
of the evidence it is more likely that this
glaze technique was derived from the Aegean
than that the Aegean people acquired their
knowledge of lustrous glaze from Thessaly.

- Petrie, Diospolia Parva, 23, PI. iv. 1.
For these sequenoe-dates, see ib. Ch. I.

:1 Petrie, Dendereh 8, PI. xxi. 3 (the two
oups below).

4 See in this eonnection ß.S.A. viii. 1902,
121-4. A lump of liparite several pounds
in weight of rough pyramidal shape admir-
ably adapted for conversion into a vase-form
was found in the excavations at Cnossos in
1903.

s But see p. 228, for a possible African
ßource.
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