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Michael Cosmopoulos, Missouri-St. Louis

This lecture will take place online via Zoom. Booking is essential.

Although in some parts of the world, such as Mesoamerica or Mesopotamia, the study of state formation employs multi-dimensional approaches, this has not been the case in the Aegean. Here, the rise of Minoan and Mycenaean states has been subjected to rigid neo-evolutionary chiefdom-to-state models and biased by over-reliance on the evidence from a few major palaces.

In the present lecture, the issue of the formation the Mycenaean states is examined under the light of new datasets produced by the systematic excavations of the Athens Archaeological Society at Iklaina, one of the district capitals of the Mycenaean state of Pylos. After a discussion of the relevant theoretical models and a review of the history of research, the findings from Iklaina are presented and used for an assessment of the character of the site and its relationship to the “Palace of Nestor”. Placed within a multi-dimensional theoretical framework, these findings make possible the development of more nuanced theoretical models that can be used to explain the emergence of Mycenaean states.