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The Political Landscape of Mycenaean States: A-pu₂ and the Hither Province of Pylos

Michael B. Cosmopoulos
American Journal of Archaeology
Vol. 110, No. 2 (Apr., 2006), pp. 205-228
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40027152
Page Count: 24
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The Political Landscape of Mycenaean States: A-pu₂ and the Hither Province of Pylos
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Abstract

Our knowledge of the political landscape of the Mycenaean state of Pylos has been shaped largely by the evidence from the palatial center at Ano Englianos and also by the shortage of systematic and fully published archaeological fieldwork in nonpalatial sites. In the present article an effort is made to shift our perspective from the palatial center to one of the administrative districts of the Pylian state. The study draws on the results of a current archaeological project investigating Iklaina, which has been plausibly identified as "a-pu₂," one of the district capitals of the Hither province of Pylos. After a review of the existing textual and archaeological evidence on the location, hierarchy, and patterns of settlements in the Pylian state, the discussion is narrowed to Iklaina and "a-pu₂" in an effort to produce a detailed picture of the political landscape in this district and to reconstruct its settlement pattern and hierarchy in the LH IIIB. The results of the project suggest a four-tier hierarchy consisting of (1) the Palace of Ano Englianos; (2) the site of Iklaina:Traghanes, which most likely was the district capital; (3) smaller habitation sites, which presumably were villages engaged in agriculture, and one site, Katsimigas, which may have served as an industrial center; and (4) a number of small concentrations of surface finds, which were probably farm installations or remains of limited rural activities. The analysis of the political landscape of Mycenaean states has the potential to produce new and exciting information about the structure of these states. Furthermore, it may allow detailed comparisons among these complex and diverse polities and a better understanding of the differences and similarities in their organizational structures and evolutionary courses.

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