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Minoan economy

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The economy
Palace economy
The Minoan economy and civilization heavily depended on the cultivation of wheat, olives, grapes and barley Several industries within the Minoan society had been supported by the Minoan economy such as, textiles, pottery and metal work industries Minoan palaces became the centre of economic activity and life where manufacturing industries were based in palaces Produce had been collected, recorded and stored in palaces – evident through a large amount of pithoi vessels found in palace storerooms (farm produce had been recollected and redistributed for local and overseas trade) Control of overseas trade came from the palaces made evident through Linear A and Linear B tablets consisting of commodities in archive within the Palace of Knossos This suggests a highly organized bureaucracy and system of record keeping controlling all incoming and outgoing products

Trade
As leading sea traders of their time much of their economic prosperity had been built on the development and foundation of their trading wealth Egypt, the Cyclades, Cyprus, Libya, Palestine, Asia Minor and mainland Greece were all regions of overseas trade Trade during this period was based on the principle of barter (no form of coinage had been invented) Crete became extremely self sufficient in basic necessities (exports balanced imports) Permanent trading centres had been built around Melos, Keos, Rhodes, Kythera and Miletos on the Anatolian coastline

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Imports:
Copper (Sardinia)
Amber (Britain and north west Europe)
Silver (Attica)
Emery (Naxos)
Metal (Messina)
Copper ingots (Cyrpus)
Tin, ivory and lapis lazuli (Levant and Anatolia)
Gold, amethyst and cornelian – semi precious stones (Egypt) Linen, stone perfume, jars, beads (Egypt)
Exports:
Pottery
Serpentine stone lamps
Lead and bronze figurines (Southern Greece and the Aegean islands) Gold and silver vessels (Mycenae and Thera)
Cypress timber (Greece, Egypt, Aegean islands

Thucydides described the Minoans as having a thalassocracy economy in the region This view was considered incorrect in developing a bias theory, basing his theory on the Athenian system of colonization Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no thalassocracy and it is clear that Minoan settlements were trading posts only

Influence of neighboring cultures and gift exchange
Minoan kept in close contact with their neighbours particularly through gifts exchange with overseas traders Crete influenced traders through the thought of ideas i.

e. Minoans received ideas and images such as the griffin from Mesopotamia used in their art Egypt influenced the Minoans in:

The sistrum
Idea of the sphinx
Idea of linen chest used in New Kingdom Egyptian tombs (larnax used for Minoan burials) The colouring of people on their artwork – red for males and white females Papyrus plant, African lilies and riverine settings found in Aegean frescoes but are African images

Gournia
Situated on a small hill close to the sea, dominated by a palace Harriet Boyd excavated by 1901 to 1904
Evidence from the site and the nearby burial grounds suggests that it was occupied since early Minoan times. The early town appeared in Middle Minoan period and was destroyed by an earthquake (1600BC) and buried by the new town which was built on the same site in the New Palace period together with a small palace complex The main features of Gournia include:

60-70 houses built closely together
Narrow, paved streets which followed the contours of the ridge and divided the town into blocks Some houses, terraced into the hillside
A public shrine for community worship
The town was unfortified
Burial ground with house tombs close to the early town, second burial ground, further away established after the town was rebuilt Gournia could have been involved in trade, overlooking the sea where there was a small safe harbor. On a main overload route between the north and south coasts of Crete and on the east west coastal route between Malia and the towns of the eastern peninsula Fertile land around Gournia was used for cultivation and grazing animals. A river to the west and springs in the hills to the south provided fresh water Gournia may have been a centre for craft manufacture. There was a concentration of workshops in the northern area of the town. The houses of a carpenter, a potter and a smith have been identified by tools and artefacts found within them Industries in Gournia include:

Industry
Evidence
Agriculture
Grain found in houses, stone mortars and querns milling
Fishing
Bronze fishhooks, lead sinkers, stones for weighing nets
Olive oil
Vats for separating water from olive oil
Carpentry
Long and short saws, chisels, awls, nails, files and axes
Weaving
Loom weights
Bronze working
Forges, scrapes of bronze and slag, stone moulds for casting knives, nails, awls and chisels Copper smelting
Ancient furnace to smelt copper from rocks
Record keeping
Linear A tablets found
Pottery
Decorated and undercoated pots, a tripod kettle

Cite this Minoan economy

Minoan economy. (2016, May 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/minoan-economy/

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