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Minoan Master Builders?

A Diachronic Study of Mudbrick Architecture in the Bronze Age Palace at Malia (Crete)
Maîtres-artisans minoens ? Une étude diachronique de l’architecture en brique dans le palais de l’Âge du Bronze à Malia (Crète)
Μινωικοί αρχιτεχνίτες; Μια διαχρονική µελέτη της αρχιτεκτονικής µε πήλινες πλίνθους στο ανάκτορο των Μαλίων της εποχής του Χαλκού (Κρήτη)
Maud Devolder et Marta Lorenzon
p. 63-123

Résumés

Cet article envisage l’architecture en briques crues du palais minoen de Malia, sur la côte nord de l’île de Crète (Grèce), un édifice fouillé et étudié par l’École française d’Athènes depuis le début du 20e siècle. L’étude macroscopique des vestiges architecturaux est combinée à des analyses géochimiques (pXRF et XRD) et pétrographiques d’une sélection d’échantillons de briques afin d’explorer les tendances et variations concernant la mise en place des éléments dans la maçonnerie, la composition, les techniques de fabrication et la qualité des briques utilisées dans l’édifice au cours des périodes pré‑, proto‑ et néopalatiales (2450-1430 av. J.‑C.). La composition microscopique des briques met en évidence l’approvisionnement continu en matériaux locaux, et ce malgré des différences prononcées en ce qui concerne leur composition macroscopique, liée à des processus de fabrication variables et qui ont eu un impact direct sur la qualité des différents types de briques. Cette variété est suffisamment marquée pour avancer l’hypothèse qu’au Néopalatial le projet architectural du palais fut réalisé par différentes équipes de bâtisseurs, dont les compétences en matière de construction semblent avoir notablement varié. Si la participation au projet néopalatial de ‘maîtres’ artisans spécialisés dans la construction en briques est ainsi démontrée, il semble qu’une partie de la main‑d’œuvre fut également mobilisée parmi les habitants du site qui disposaient des connaissances suffisantes pour ériger des murs en briques certes durables, mais de moindre qualité.

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Notes de l’auteur

The authors wish to thank the French School at Athens, under the aegis and with the support of which this research was conducted. The Malia Palace Project also benefitted from the support of the Humboldt Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Onassis Foundation, the Institute for the Study of Aegean Prehistory, the Wiener Laboratory, and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. We are extremely grateful to these institutions for helping us conduct the fieldwork and analyses upon which this paper is based. We would also like to thank the Ephorates of Antiquities of Heraklion and Lasithi for granting us the research permits, as well as Gianluca Cantoro, Kelly Christophi, Sylviane Déderix, Jan Driessen, Alexandre Farnoux, Takis Karkanas, Vassilis Kilikoglou, Robert Leighton, Kyriakos Papachrysanthou, Amélie Perrier, Catriona Pickard, Hilary Tresidder and Litsa Trouki for helping with the management of the Malia Palace Project, producing some of the illustrations, commenting on early versions of the paper, and language editing. We also want to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and comments. Errors and omissions are the sole responsibility of the authors.
For the chronological phases, the usual abbreviations are used: EM for Early Minoan, MM for Middle Minoan, and LM for Late Minoan. XPL indicates cross-polarised light and PPL plane-polarised light.
Colour codes are allocated based on Munsell 1994.

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • 1 McEnroe 1982; McEnroe 1990; McEnroe 2010; Shaw 2009; Shaw 2015.
  • 2 See for instance Dollfus 1975; Goldberg 1979; Rosen 1986; Chazelles 1997; Sauvage 1998; Cammas 2015 (...)
  • 3 For contemporary ethnographic studies on earthen architecture see Fathy 1969; see Basu 1993; Jerome (...)

1The Minoan civilisation that flourished on the island of Crete during the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE is famous for its remarkable architectural undertakings which incorporate a wide variety of building materials and techniques. Amongst the most impressive are the ashlar walls that form the palaces and other specimens of elite architecture. But most constructions generally incorporate humbler building materials, such as rubble stones and mudbricks1. Earthen architecture has been the subject of numerous studies focusing on collecting and investigating data obtained from mudbricks in archaeological contexts in different parts of the world, especially Europe, Central America, and the Middle East. Macro‑ and microscopic analysis of mudbrick architectural remains have shed light on various social aspects of mudbrick production and construction, thus significantly improving our understanding of the social context of past building practices2. Likewise, ethnographic and architectural studies have been of utmost importance to deepening our understanding of different building techniques still common in Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Central Asia (i.e. rammed earth, mudbricks, and cob), of production and construction processes, and of modalities of earthen skill transfer mechanisms over time and between neighbouring areas3. In this academic landscape, the study of earthen architecture in Greece, and especially in Crete, has so far received limited attention.

  • 4 Although adobe is the common engineering term, the extensive use on excavations of Cretan Bronze Ag (...)
  • 5 Koulidou 1998; Friesem et al. 2014a.
  • 6 Doumas 1983; Palyvou 2005: 114.
  • 7 See for example Evans et al. 1964: 136; Evans 1972: 117‑118; Warren 1972: 256‑257; Zois 1976: 45; p (...)
  • 8 Love 2012: 153.
  • 9 Binici et al. 2005; Fernandes et al. 2010; Zhai and Previtali 2010; Gran-Aymerich and von Ungern-St (...)
  • 10 Wright 2005; Wright 2009; Minke 2006: 108, 137.
  • 11 Doat et al. 1979: 126; Tsakanika-Theohari 2006; Tsakanika-Theohari 2009.
  • 12 Binici et al. 2005; Wright 2005; Galán-Marin et al. 2013.
  • 13 Aurenche 1981; Aurenche 1993; Wright 2005.
  • 14 Minke 2006; Hadjri et al. 2007: 143; Jaquin 2010: 2; Homsher 2012: 2‑3; Llampas et al. 2014.

2Minoan mudbricks are sun‑dried4, so when a building is abandoned, they progressively dissolve into shapeless earthen debris. Only in some exceptional instances when a violent destruction by fire occurs, are substantial remains of mudbrick walls preserved. Recent investigations on the ways earthen building materials react to destruction by conflagration or abandonment, or endure post-depositional vicissitudes after such events, have had little echo in studies of earthen architecture in Minoan Crete5. In fact, due to their limited preservation, mudbricks are often dismissed from synthetic studies on Minoan architecture and are barely mentioned in excavation reports. In the Bronze Age Aegean, this research trend is enhanced by the negligible use of mudbricks at Akrotiri-Thera, the well‑named ‘Pompeii of the Cyclades’, which deprives Minoan archaeologists of invaluable in situ comparanda6. Exceptions occur7, but compared with other building materials, mudbricks are without doubt the neglected twin8 of Minoan architecture. This dismissal is also sustained by misguided prejudices regarding this building material: it is often considered structurally weak, with limited bearing capacity and low resistance to atmospheric conditions. However, such limitations are often unverified and, when they do exist, they can be easily overcome using specific earthen construction strategies. Over the past 20 years, laboratory tests on the tension and compressive strength of sun‑dried mudbricks have explored the many factors that can enhance the performance of earthen architecture9. The load‑bearing capacity of mudbricks has been verified10, and it can even be improved by the use of a wooden framework set within the wall11, or by the incorporation within the mudbricks of fibrous material that increases their tension and compressive strength12. Their limited resistance to moisture is overcome by a stone socle that prevents erosion by capillarity and protects mudbricks from potential floods. Wall erosion is also prevented by the coating of the walls with plaster and by its regular maintenance13. With such provisions, mudbricks show marked advantages in comparison with other materials: they offer better resistance to lateral shocks, their thermic performance allows the slow transmission of heat or cold, they better regulate humidity, and they can resist fire destructions which might ‘freeze’ the walls instead of provoking their collapse14.

  • 15 Based on Bietak 2003, 2014, Cherubini et al. 2014, MacGillivray 2014, Warren 2009, Warren 2010, War (...)

Table 1 — Chronology of Minoan Crete15.

Period

Phase

Absolute dates (ca.)

Prepalatial

Early Minoan I
Early Minoan IIA
Early Minoan IIB
Early Minoan III
Middle Minoan IA

3000-2650 BCE
2650-2450 BCE
2450-2200 BCE
2200-2050 BCE
2050-1900 BCE



Mudbrick walls of room I1

Construction of the Palace

Protopalatial

Middle Minoan IB
Middle Minoan IIA
Middle Minoan IIB

1900-1800 BCE
1800-1750 BCE
1750-1700 BCE



Destruction of the Palace

Neopalatial

Middle Minoan IIIA
Middle Minoan IIIB
Late Minoan IA
Late Minoan IB

1700-1640 BCE
1640-1600 BCE
1600-1510 BCE
1510-1430 BCE



Reconstruction of the Palace
Destruction of the Palace

  • 16 This is the case for the wall east of room VIIa, initially made of mudbricks set of a low limestone (...)

3The present paper focuses on the production and use of mudbricks throughout different phases of construction and occupation of the Bronze Age Palace at Malia (1900-1430 BCE, table 1), a Minoan settlement situated on the north coast of Crete (fig. 1 and 2). In the Malia Palace, mudbrick walls are mainly found in groups that form distinctive architectural units, but also in the form of walls added as partitions altering the master plan of the building. Only the walls that are well-preserved are considered, while those that are heavily restored and possibly reconstructed are excluded16. This study relies on macroscopic observations of the mudbrick walls and on geoarchaeological analyses of selected mudbrick samples from different areas within the building, which properly reflect the variability of earthen architecture over time. Taking this building as a starting point, we explore the transmission of mudbrick recipes throughout the Bronze Age, the strategies adopted by the builders, and the logistics of mudbrick production and construction in a monumental site. This paper also advocates the recording and analysis of mudbrick architecture as a useful tool to answer relevant archaeological questions such as skill transfer and craft specialisation. By doing so, it aims at providing data that will help and encourage the record of macroscopic information on mudbrick architecture discovered in current excavations, as well as exploring the potential of combining macro‑ and microscopic study of earthen remains.

Fig. 1 — Map of Crete, with the indication of the main Minoan sites where substantial mudbrick remains were preserved.

Fig. 1 — Map of Crete, with the indication of the main Minoan sites where substantial mudbrick remains were preserved.

S. Déderix, with data of the IMS-FORTH.

Mudbrick walls in the Palace at Malia

  • 17 O. Pelon suggests a construction during the MM IA phase (Pelon 1983: 698‑700, fig. 1, 21; Pelon 198 (...)
  • 18 Poursat 1988: 74‑75; Pelon 2005: 186‑190.
  • 19 Pelon 1984: 884; Pelon 1986a: 19, fig. 14‑15; Poursat 1988: 75.
  • 20 Pelon 2005: 191‑196; Darcque et al. 2014: 181‑182.
  • 21 Pelon 1997.
  • 22 The use of mudbricks in the building is hindered by the heaviness of some of the restorations. Cons (...)
  • 23 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 7, 36‑38; Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011; Pelon 1969: 1051‑1056; Pelon 19 (...)
  • 24 This project, directed by M. Devolder in collaboration with I. Caloi and placed under the aegis of (...)

4The ‘First’ or Protopalatial Palace at Malia is built in MM IA (ca. 2050-1900 BCE) or MM IB (ca. 1900-1800 BCE) on top of the remains of a Prepalatial occupation (EM II and III, ca. 2650‑2050 BCE), some of which are incorporated into the Protopalatial edifice17. It is destroyed in the general catastrophe that strikes the site at the end of the MM IIB phase (ca. 1700 BCE)18, and rebuilt and largely expanded during the Neopalatial period, at the transition between the MM IIIB and LM IA phases (ca. 1600 BCE)19. It is occupied until the end of the LM IB phase (ca. 1430 BCE), despite at least one intermediary destructive event perhaps connected to the eruption of the Santorini volcano some time during the LM IA phase (ca. 1525 BCE) (table 1)20 and evidence for localized LM II reoccupation in the area of the North Court (ca. 1430-1390 BCE)21. Mudbricks are used in different areas of the Malia Palace (fig. 2)22. Early and ongoing study of the architectural and occupational sequence of the Palace makes it possible to date mudbrick construction to the EM IIB phase (ca. 2450-2200 BCE; mudbrick walls in room I 1), and to the Protopalatial  (ca. 1900-1700 BCE; mudbrick walls in Area XI or ‘Eastern Magazines’) and Neopalatial (ca. 1700-1430 BCE; mudbrick walls in Areas II, IV, V, VI and XIII, in rooms C 1-C 2, IX 1‑2, XXI 1 and in the North Portico) periods (table 2)23. Current study of the stratigraphic soundings led under the latest floors of the Palace will help refine the sequence, especially regarding successive phases within each period24.

Fig. 2 — Plan of the Palace at Malia.

Fig. 2 — Plan of the Palace at Malia.

The room numbering system is based on the Areas (upper case Roman numerals), which are clusters of rooms (lower case Arabic numerals). Highlighted in grey, the mudbrick walls; the black dots mark the location of the geoarchaeological samples (MA1 to MA15).

By E. Andersen (Pelon 1980, plan 28).

Mudbrick wall features

  • 25 Dimou et al. 2000: 438‑439.
  • 26 Plastic earthen building material (PEM) is a building material similar to mud mortar but to which v (...)
  • 27 Devolder 2016: 144‑148, fig. 4, 5a‑c.

5Mudbrick courses are generally laid on top of a stone socle made of rubble and/or boulders of local ironstone (a hard, grey‑bluish limestone) or, more rarely, conglomerate, a stone which is also procured locally (table 2)25. Only in rare instances is the stone socle absent, in which case the mudbricks are set directly on a low foundation course (fig. 15a and 24d). Both exterior and interior walls show substantial stone socles, from 0.36 m to 0.58 m in height as visible in the interior and exterior walls of Areas II, VI, VII, IX, XI and XIII, although the stone socles tend to be lower in the interior walls of Area XIII (from 0.15 to 0.20 m‑high) (fig. 3, 4, 5, 6, 16 and 21). In some interior walls, however, mudbricks are incorporated quite low in the wall base, and are usually associated with rubble to form the socle (north walls of rooms V 3 and VI 9 and west wall of room IX 1, fig. 7, 8 and 9). Whatever its height, the socle is generally closely associated with a 4 to 12 cm‑thick levelling layer of plastic earthen building material (PEM)26, the top of which is carefully flattened in order to support the upper courses of mudbricks (north wall of room VI 10, fig. 4). In several walls multiple layers of PEM (increasing in thickness from 7 to 9 cm) function as an additional buffer, separating the top of the stone socle from the mudbricks (north wall of room XI 1, fig. 9). This levelling is somewhat reminiscent of the intermediate flattening of superimposed layers of rubble stones incorporating large quantities of soil in the Protopalatial walls of the Western Magazines of the Palace27, and it is especially noticeable in the mudbrick walls of rooms V 3, VI 10, VII 3, IX 1‑2 and XI 1‑7 (fig. 3, 4, 5 and 7a). Stones of small dimensions (5‑10 cm) are stuck into the PEM layer and form a roughly regular line within it, functioning as stone wedges and increasing the stability of the socle. Only in the walls of Area XIII are the mudbrick courses set directly on top of the stone socle, without the use of a PEM and stone wedges levelling layer.

Fig. 3 — South elevation of the north wall of room XI.

Fig. 3 — South elevation of the north wall of room XI.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 4 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 10.

Fig. 4 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 10.

mb for mudbrick; mp for mud plaster.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 5 — View of the stone socle topped with a mud mortar levelling layer in Area XI and in the south wall of room IX 2.

Fig. 5 — View of the stone socle topped with a mud mortar levelling layer in Area XI and in the south wall of room IX 2.

a. looking north-east; b. looking south-east.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 6 — General view of Area XIII, looking south-east.

Fig. 6 — General view of Area XIII, looking south-east.

Note that the stone socle of the northernmost mudbrick wall is heavily restored, incorporating small limestone and sandstone rubble collected in the area during excavations.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 7 — South elevation of the north wall of room V 3.

Fig. 7 — South elevation of the north wall of room V 3.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 8 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 9.

Fig. 8 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 9.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 9 — Mudbrick wall between corridor C’ and room IX 1.

Fig. 9 — Mudbrick wall between corridor C’ and room IX 1.

mb for mudbrick.

M. Devolder.

6In all the earthen walls of the Palace, the mudbricks are laid in superimposed courses separated horizontally by a 1 to 3 cm‑thick mud mortar joint and vertically by thinner joints of 1 to 1.5 cm. In several instances where the walls are preserved on a sufficient height, thicker layers of PEM measuring from 6 to 16 cm are set as intermediary layers often incorporating stone wedges of small dimensions (5‑10 cm) (rooms II 1b, VI 9 and 10, IX 1 and V 3, fig. 4, 7, 8, 9 and 21f). The function of such intermediary layers of PEM and stones is identical to the levelling layer topping the stone socle, namely to level the masonry before additional mudbrick courses are set.

7In most cases the mudbricks are laid in header bond, although running bond is common in the partition walls altering the initial plan of the building, and one example of English bond (successive headers and stretchers) in two superimposed courses is visible in the north wall of room I 1 (fig. 10 and 12). However, the builders regularly set bricks in a different position from the most common bricklaying to better fit the dimensions of the wall, so that it is not uncommon to find mudbrick specimens set upright in the wall. In the Protopalatial walls of Area XI, the bricks are laid in header bond, but the specimens are offset horizontally within the same course. The gaps thus created are filled with small stones (5 to 10 cm) set in PEM together with mudbrick fragments (fig. 11). This irregular bricklaying created a wall wider than the bricks’ length and at the same time the plastic nature of the PEM provided a cohesive link between the components within each course. Similarly, in the south wall of room IX 2 and in the north wall of room I 1 the gap created between the mudbricks and the wall façade is filled with PEM, alongside small stones (10-15 cm) and mudbrick fragments (fig. 12).

Fig. 10 — Schematic illustration of bricklaying in the Palace at Malia: header, running and English bond.

Fig. 10 — Schematic illustration of bricklaying in the Palace at Malia: header, running and English bond.

M. Lorenzon.

Fig. 11 — Detailed plans of the mudbrick masonry in Protopalatial Area XI.

Fig. 11 — Detailed plans of the mudbrick masonry in Protopalatial Area XI.

Mudbrick wall between rooms X 2a and XI 1 (a) and mudbrick wall between rooms XI 5 and XI 6 (b) (mb for mudbrick; st for stones).

M. Devolder.

Fig. 12 — Detailed view of English bond in the north wall of Prepalatial room I 1.

Fig. 12 — Detailed view of English bond in the north wall of Prepalatial room I 1.

Looking north-west.

M. Devolder.

  • 28 Tsakanika-Theohari 2006; Tsakanika-Theohari 2009; Tsakanika-Theohari 2017; Shaw 2009: 91‑109; Devol (...)
  • 29 Chapouthier and Joly 1936: 9‑10; Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 9; Pelon 1980: 205.
  • 30 Poursat 1992: 28.
  • 31 Schmid and Treuil 2017: fig. 232 (0.45 m high), 235 (0.89 m high), 238 (0.97 m high), 239 (0.90 m h (...)

8The incorporation of wood as a structural element in Minoan walls has been stressed in several studies, but surprisingly little indication of its use appears in the mudbrick walls of the Palace at Malia28. Three gaps in the North wall of rooms XIII 1 and 2 – 0.40, 0.16 and 0.45 m‑wide, respectively – may have accommodated vertical supports for a wooden structure, perhaps framing the mudbrick wall in the south-eastern entrance of the Palace (fig. 6)29. Impressions of vertical wooden supports are also visible in the mudbrick walls of rooms IV 9 and V 3, but the examples are quite rare when compared to the large number of preserved mudbrick walls in the building (fig. 13). The scarcity of indications of the mudbrick-wood association in the Palace may be due to the fact that a wooden framework was set higher up on the wall, while mudbrick walls in the edifice are rarely preserved above 0.80 m‑high. In this case, a parallel should be drawn with Quartier Mu, where the wooden framework is set high (at mid‑level30) in the mudbrick walls31. However, it is perhaps worth stressing that even the 1.93 m‑high standing Prepalatial mudbrick walls of room I 1 in the Palace show no indication of the use of wooden elements (fig. 16).

Fig. 13 — Views of the western walls of rooms IV 9 (restored) (a) and V 3 (b), showing wooden imprints left by decomposed vertical supports.

Fig. 13 — Views of the western walls of rooms IV 9 (restored) (a) and V 3 (b), showing wooden imprints left by decomposed vertical supports.

a. looking south-west; b. looking west.

M. Devolder.

  • 32 For the size of the inclusions, see Krumbein 1938.

Table 2 — Description of mudbrick walls components and features in the Palace at Malia32.

Room I 1 Chronology: Prepalatial (EM IIB); Low stone foundation; Bricklaying: Header and English bond; In the north wall, the gap between the mudbricks and the face of the wall is filled with small cobbles (7 to 15 cm) and mud mortar; Mud mortar: Composition and colour identical to the bricks, also incorporates large amounts of seagrasses; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA1); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.54 by 0.29 m; 0.63 by 0.41 m; Mudbrick composition: Light to dark red fabric (2.5 YR 3/6, 4/8, 5/8 and 6/8); Large quantities of seagrasses, as well as coarse sand to coarse gravel, small sherds, and small fragments of lime coating (inclusions 5 to 30 mm).
Area XI Chronology: Protopalatial; Stone socle: 0.42 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond with an offset; The gaps between the bricks and the faces of the wall are filled with small cobbles (5 to 10 cm) and PEM incorporating large amounts of seagrasses, as well as fragments of mudbricks; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 4/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA11 and MA12); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.60 by 0.40 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/); Large quantities of seagrasses, as well as coarse sand to coarse gravel (max. 8 mm); Mud plaster: Light red mud plaster (2.5 YR 6/8); Incorporates straw and, to a lesser extent, chaff, as well as fine to medium gravel (max. 15 mm). No seagrasses.
Area II/VI Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: up to 0.58 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond; Intermediary levelling layer of mud mortar and small cobbles; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5 YR 5/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks, but with fewer seagrasses; Macro-fabric: Coarse (MA3, MA6 and MA7); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.62 by 0.42 m; Mudbrick composition: Red to yellowish red fabric (2.5 YR 4/8 and 5/85YR 5/8 and 6/8) incorporating large quantities of seagrasses, coarse sand to coarse gravel, and sherds, bones and lime plaster fragments of various dimensions (max. 5 cm); Mud plaster: Red mud plaster (2.5 YR 5/8); Incorporates large amounts of straw (stalks 2 to 3 cm‑long but up to 5‑cm); No seagrasses.
Room IV 10 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Not visible; Bricklaying: Running bond and standing; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA8); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.51 by 0.27 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5 YR 5/6) incorporating large amounts of seagrasses with few other inclusions; Mud plaster: Red mud plaster (2.5 YR 5/8); Incorporates large amounts of straw (stalks up to 6 cm‑long); No seagrasses.
North wall of room VII 3 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.36 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5 YR 4/6) similar in composition to the bricks; Macro-fabric: Coarse; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.59 by 0.43 m; Mudbrick composition: Red and yellowish red fabric (5YR 5/6, 6/6, 5/8); Incorporates large quantities of seagrasses, very coarse gravel (3 to 7 cm), coarse sand to fine gravel, small sherds and fragments of lime plaster (7 cm); Mud plaster: Red mud plaster (2.5 YR 4/6); Incorporates large amounts of straw, little chaff is visible.
South wall of room VII 3 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.52 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5 YR 4/6) similar in composition to the mudbricks, but with finer inclusions (gravel max. 12 mm); Macro-fabric: Coarse; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.57 by 0.37 m; Mudbrick composition: Red and yellowish red fabric (5YR 5/6, 6/6, 5/8); Incorporates large quantities of seagrasses, very coarse gravel (3 to 7 cm), coarse sand to fine gravel, sherds and fragments of lime plaster (7 cm); Mud plaster: Red mud plaster (2.5 YR 4/8); Incorporates large amounts of straw; Little chaff is visible.
West wall of room IX 1 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.45 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond; Intermediary levelling layer of mud mortar and small cobbles; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 4/6) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.37 m‑wide; Length of one specimen visible: 0.53 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/8) incorporating large quantities of seagrasses, coarse sand to coarse gravel, and sherds (1‑30 mm).
South wall of room IX 2 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.55 m‑high; Levelling layer with stones and mud mortar on the stone socle; Bricklaying: Header bond; The gap between the mudbricks and the north face of the wall is filled with mud mortar and cobbles (10 by 15 and 15 by 20 cm);
Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 4/6) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA9); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.37 m‑wide; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/8) incorporating large quantities of seagrasses and little amounts of coarse sand to coarse gravel and small sherds (1‑30 mm).
Niche in South wall of room IX 2 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Irrelevant; Bricklaying: Headers, stretchers, standing; Mud mortar: Yellowish red mud mortar (5YR 5/8) identical in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Coarse (MA10); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.45 by 0.34 m; Mudbrick composition: Yellowish red fabric (5YR 5/8); Incorporates coarse sand to medium gravel (1‑15 mm), straw, chaff, sherds and lime plaster fragments (max. 6 cm); No seagrasses.
Area XIII Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.45‑0.50 m‑high in the north, exterior, wall (heavily restored), 0.15‑0.20 m‑high in the interior walls; Bricklaying: Header bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 4/6) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA13 and MA14); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.50 by 0.37 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/6); Incorporates large quantities of seagrasses and coarse sand to medium gravel (1‑15 mm).
Room V 3 (north wall) Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Not visible; Bricklaying: Running bond; Intermediary levelling layer of mud mortar and small cobbles; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 5/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA5); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.60 by 0.36 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/6); Incorporates large quantities of seagrasses, coarse sand to coarse gravel (1‑30 mm) and occasional sherds.
Room V 3 (north‑west wall) Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: 0.70 m‑high; Bricklaying: Running bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 5/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Coarse (MA4); Mudbrick dimensions: undetermined; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 5/8); Incorporates seagrasses, coarse sand to very coarse gravel (1 mm to 9 cm), shells and sherds.
Wall between C 1 and C 2 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Not visible; Bricklaying: Running bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 5/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks, though the vegetal temper is barely visible; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA2); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.47 by 0.36 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/6 and 4/8); Incorporates large amount of seagrasses and coarse sand to medium gravel (1-15 mm); Mud plaster: On the north face of the wall: 3.5 cm‑thick layer of red mud plaster (2.5YR 4/8) with straw (max. 10 cm), sherds and gravel (max. 30 mm); No seagrasses; On the south face of the wall: 6 mm‑thick layer of fine, reddish yellow mud plaster (7.5YR 7/6) with finely chopped and thin straw, and chaff.
Wall above lintel south of C 2 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Irrelevant; Bricklaying: Header bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 4/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Fine (MA15); Mudbrick dimensions: 0.29 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 4/8) incorporating large quantities of seagrasses.
Wall between room V 3 and North Portico Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Not visible; Bricklaying: Running bond; Mud mortar: Reddish yellow mud mortar (5YR 6/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks, but small amounts of chaff are visible; Macro-fabric: Coarse; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.50 by 0.35 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 5/6); Incorporates seagrasses, gravel
(up to 4 cm) and sherds.
Wall between North Portico and room X 1a Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Low sandstone foundation block; Bricklaying: Running bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 5/8) identical in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Coarse; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.54 m by 0.31 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 5/8); Incorporates coarse sand to very coarse gravel (max. 8 cm), sherds, obsidian, bones and fragments of lime plaster (max. 10 cm).
Wall north‑east of room XXI 1 Chronology: Neopalatial; Stone socle: Not visible; Bricklaying: Header bond; Mud mortar: Red mud mortar (2.5YR 5/8) similar in composition to the mudbricks; Macro-fabric: Coarse; Mudbrick dimensions: 0.48 m by 0.34 m; Mudbrick composition: Red fabric (2.5YR 5/8); Incorporates coarse sand to very coarse gravel, sherds (including a 9 cm‑long fragment of a lamp), and little seagrasses; Mud plaster: Red mud plaster (2.5YR 5/8); Incorporates some seagrasses and straw.

Mudbrick walls architectural units and partition walls

9In the Palace at Malia, the features of mudbrick architecture make it possible to distinguish between groups of walls that delimit rooms or even entire areas that form distinctive architectural units, and partition walls seemingly added to alter the circulation within the building (fig. 2).

The Prepalatial mudbrick walls of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’)

  • 33 Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011; Shaw 2015: 54, 57, 58, fig. 2.24; Devolder 2016.
  • 34 Pelon 1966: 1008, fig. 1; Pelon 1980: plan 16.
  • 35 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 7; Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011, fig. 2‑6; Pelon 1980: 19, n. 3, pl. 19 (...)

10The walls of room I 1 or ‘casemate’ were formed during a succession of construction phases during the Pre‑ and Protopalatial periods and incorporated different building techniques33. Largely hidden within Protopalatial layered-rubble masonry, the Prepalatial mudbrick walls form a rectangular-shaped structure with a broadly east‑west orientation slightly different from that of the other walls of the Palace (2.5° more to the north‑west) (fig. 14 and 15)34. Three of the four walls of the structure are bonded (the westernmost one is badly preserved). A foundation deposit including a Vasiliki teapot and several juglets discovered in a narrow chasm between rubble and clay walls sandwiched in the south‑eastern part of the mudbrick structure indicates an EM IIB date35. The Prepalatial mudbrick walls, perhaps already hardened by some fire destruction, were later incorporated in the Proto‑ and Neopalatial Palace. They constitute the earliest standing architectural remains and the highest preserved mudbrick walls (1.93 m) in the building.

Fig. 14 — Plan of room I 1 indicating the position of the mudbrick walls (in grey), redrawn and implemented based on plan 16.

Fig. 14 — Plan of room I 1 indicating the position of the mudbrick walls (in grey), redrawn and implemented based on plan 16.

By E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 (M. Devolder).

Fig. 15 — Southern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) with the stone base visible.

Fig. 15 — Southern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) with the stone base visible.

Pelon 1980: pl. 160.4.

Looking east.

Pelon 1980: pl. 160.4.

Fig. 16 — Vertical orthophotograph of the eastern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) in I 2.

Fig. 16 — Vertical orthophotograph of the eastern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) in I 2.

Looking west.

G. Cantoro.

The Protopalatial mudbrick walls of the Eastern Magazines

  • 36 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 36‑38; Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 1‑5; Pelon 1980: 198‑203.
  • 37 Pelon 1980: 6, 198‑200. This stone shed was erected in 1931 and taken away when a new, non‑invasive (...)

11The rooms XI 1‑7 or ‘Eastern Magazines’ belong to the ‘First’, or Protopalatial, Palace at Malia (fig. 17 and 18). They show a series of low sandstone platforms covered with plaster upon which storage vases were placed, so that the liquid that leaked out of them could be collected into vases set within the floor36. The mudbrick walls that delimit the rooms provided with such platforms were strongly remodelled after the MM IIB destruction of the Palace. Indeed, during the Neopalatial period they were largely rebuilt using limestone rubble stones and boulders, a reconstruction further blurred by the building of a modern shed on top of the rooms (fig. 18)37.

Fig. 17 — Mudbrick walls in the Protopalatial Eastern Magazines (Area XI).

Fig. 17 — Mudbrick walls in the Protopalatial Eastern Magazines (Area XI).

General view (a. looking south-west) and detailed views of the masonry in rooms XI 1 (b. looking north-east) and XI 6 (c-d. looking north and north-west).

M. Devolder.

Fig. 18 — Plan of the mudbrick walls in Area XI (Eastern Magazines).

Fig. 18 — Plan of the mudbrick walls in Area XI (Eastern Magazines).

Preserved to the top of the stone socle (in light grey) or with courses of mudbrick showing (in dark grey).

Redrawn and implemented based on plan 9 by E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 (M. Devolder).

The Neopalatial mudbrick walls: architectural units and partition walls

  • 38 Structural bonding is visible in several places, namely the northwestern corner of room VI 10, the (...)

12The walls of Areas II, IV and VI in the north-western part of the West Wing incorporate large amounts of mudbricks (fig. 19, 20 and 21). Their study indicates the strong architectural cohesion of rooms II 1b‑c, VI 6‑7 and 9‑10 which were obviously erected during a single building event38. North of these rooms other mudbrick walls are recorded in the small lobby IV 10 and are characterised by their belonging to one distinct building event. The features of the two mudbrick walls north and south of room VII 3 suggest these belong to the same construction project as Areas II and VI further north (fig. 22).

Fig. 19 — Plan of Areas II, IV, V and VI.

Fig. 19 — Plan of Areas II, IV, V and VI.

In light grey, the conserved parts of the walls, in dark grey, the parts where mudbrick remains are still visible.

Redrawn and implemented based on plan 25 drawn by E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 M. Devolder.

Fig. 20 — General view of mudbrick walls in rooms of Areas II and VI.

Fig. 20 — General view of mudbrick walls in rooms of Areas II and VI.

Looking north-west.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 21 — View of construction details in mudbrick walls in Areas II and VI.

Fig. 21 — View of construction details in mudbrick walls in Areas II and VI.

M. Devolder.

Fig. 22 — Mudbrick walls north (a) and south (b) of room VII 3.

Fig. 22 — Mudbrick walls north (a) and south (b) of room VII 3.

a. looking south-west; b. looking north-west.

M. Devolder.

  • 39 Part of a mudbrick wall is still visible to the south‑east of room IX 2, but it is badly preserved (...)

13The ensemble formed by rooms IX 1 and 2 of the Neopalatial Pillar Hall is delimited to the west and south with mudbrick walls carefully built with a stone socle incorporating large – 0.74 by 0.34 and 0.74 by 0.26 m – limestone and conglomerate stones and boulders (south wall of room IX 2) (fig. 23a)39. Despite the burden of modern conservation, red mudbricks incorporating large quantities of seagrasses are visible on top of the stone socle, separated with intermediary mud mortar and PEM levelling layers. In the easternmost part of the south wall of room IX 2, however, a niche, or window, is filled with mudbricks of a markedly distinct composition and layout from the rest of the wall (fig. 23b). The specimens are set in headers, stretchers and upright in the wall, and are produced in a yellowish red fabric incorporating a variety of inclusions, such as fine gravel (1-15 mm), sherds (up to 6 cm), straw, chaff, and plaster fragments, but no seagrasses. The difference observable in mudbrick colour and macroscopic composition suggest that this ‘fill’ corresponds to an alteration of the wall’s initial state.

  • 40 These were interpreted as high‑standard storerooms by the excavators, after the discovery of golden (...)
  • 41 Devolder in preparation.

14Area XIII to the south‑east of the Central Court is made up of rooms XIII 1 to 5 and staircase XIII a‑b (fig. 24)40. The structural connections between Area XIII and the Neopalatial sandstone façade to the south‑east of the Central Court indicate that the mudbrick walls were erected during the Neopalatial period, when the Palace extended significantly towards the south41. The standardisation of the mudbricks’ fabric and dimensions, as well as the characteristics of the masonry, are evidence that these walls were part of a single building programme.

Fig. 23 — The mudbrick walls of rooms IX 1-2.

Fig. 23 — The mudbrick walls of rooms IX 1-2.

General view (a. looking north-east) and detailed view of the filled window or niche in the eastern part of the heavily restored south wall of room IX 2 (b. looking north).

M. Devolder.

Fig. 24 — Mudbrick walls in Area XIII.

Fig. 24 — Mudbrick walls in Area XIII.

East wall of room XIII 1 (a. looking east), south and east walls of room XIII 3 (b. looking south-east), north wall of room XIII 3 (c. looking north-west), and west wall of room XIII a (d. looking west).

M. Devolder.

15Besides these groups of walls that share common mudbrick dimensions, composition and building features, and that sometimes delimit a whole set of rooms, in several Palace areas mudbricks were used to form partition walls altering the initial layout of the building, notably in corridor C 1‑C 2, in room V 3, east and west of the North Portico of the Central Court, and in room XXI 1 (fig. 25). These walls were erected during the Neopalatial period, and the diversity of their features (layout, mudbricks’ fabric and dimensions) suggests they were built by different building teams and/or during different construction events. It is also possible that the partition wall separating the northern (C 1) and southern (C 2) parts of corridor C was erected during the same construction event as the mudbrick wall set above the lintel topping the southern access to the same corridor, although data related to mudbrick dimensions are missing to support this hypothesis.

Fig. 25 — Mudbrick partition walls in corridor C 1-C 2 (a), room V 3 (b) and to the west (c) and east (d) of the North Portico of the Central Court.

Fig. 25 — Mudbrick partition walls in corridor C 1-C 2 (a), room V 3 (b) and to the west (c) and east (d) of the North Portico of the Central Court.

a. looking north; b. looking west; c. looking west; d. looking north-east.

M. Devolder.

16Bricklaying patterns in the Neopalatial walls of the Palace at Malia clearly differ between partition walls altering the configuration of the Neopalatial building on one side, and walls which are part of coherent architectural units on the other side. Although builders preferentially laid bricks in header bond, running bond was often used in partition walls, thus limiting the width of such walls. Also, partition walls were generally devoid of the stone socle and PEM levelling layers used elsewhere. Thick walls provided with stone socles and PEM levelling layers may have supported other ones on the upper floor, while partition walls set in running bond without stone socle and intermediate PEM layering were built only in order to close off rooms and doorways in the Palace.

Macroscopic composition of the mudbrick wall components

  • 42 Guest-Papamanoli 1978: 6; Devolder 2005-2006: 69; Lorenzon 2017. Despite recurrent references to se (...)
  • 43 Devolder 2005-2006: 69.
  • 44 On this subject, see Lorenzon 2017 and Veropoulidou 2019.

17Macroscopic observation of the mudbricks used in the walls of the Palace at Malia has shown that their macro-fabrics (i.e. macroscopic fabric composition) range between the two extremes of a broad spectrum, from fine to coarse. Mudbricks with a fine macro-fabric, usually reddish in colour (2.5YR 4/6 and 4/8), are produced with a screened sediment (gravel max. 15 mm) mixed with large quantities of marine seagrasses, containing minimal other inclusions (fig. 26a). Mudbricks with a coarse macro-fabric are more varied in colour (generally 2.5YR 5/6 and 5/8) and are manufactured with sediments which have not been screened so that they present numerous large inclusions, such as obsidian, bones, shells, plaster or ceramic fragments (fig. 26b‑e). The macro-fabric of these mudbricks presents fewer seagrasses than the fine macro-fabric ones. Seagrasses have been identified in the bricks on several Minoan sites. They belong to different families of marine weeds, the Posidoniaceae and the Zosteraceae, incorporated in the matrix as vegetal temper42. At Malia only Posidonia oceanica has been identified, but on other sites Zostera marina is present as well43. It might seem surprising that the Minoans used a vegetal temper that grew in a salty environment. Numerous salt efflorescences recorded in the geoarchaeological samples on top of the seagrass impression indicate that the seagrasses were not washed in fresh water before they were incorporated in the matrix. This is also confirmed by the presence of numerous small marine gastropods in the bricks, which were attached to the seagrasses during mudbrick preparation44. Rather, the presence of salt must have been desired, as it helps prevent weeds from growing inside the mudbricks. Mudbricks with a fine micro-fabric are usually better preserved than those with a coarse macro-fabric. Clearly, they erode less easily and in some cases minute details related to their fabrication are still visible on their surface, such as the fine vertical grooves left by the wooden mould when it is removed from the mudbrick. Chaff is also attested in the mudbricks, but rarely, and when employed it is in small proportions combined with seagrasses.

Fig. 26 — Detailed views of mudbricks in the Palace at Malia, in fine macro-fabric incorporating large quantities of seagrasses (a) and coarse macro-fabrics including fragments of bone (b), ceramic (c), obsidian (d) and lime plaster (e).

Fig. 26 — Detailed views of mudbricks in the Palace at Malia, in fine macro-fabric incorporating large quantities of seagrasses (a) and coarse macro-fabrics including fragments of bone (b), ceramic (c), obsidian (d) and lime plaster (e).

M. Devolder.

  • 45 Wright 2005.

18The mud mortar and PEM interspersed between the courses of mudbricks and in levelling layers under and between them is of a crucial importance to the stability of the wall and it needs to be stronger than the mudbricks45. The matrix used in the Palace at Malia is generally slightly lighter in colour than the mudbricks, ranging from red to reddish yellow (2.5 YR 5/6 and 5/8 and 5YR 5/8) (fig. 27). It is composed of sediments of both fine and coarse grain size (i.e. very fine and fine gravel [max. 80 mm]), but small sherds are often incorporated as well. Seagrasses are used as vegetal temper in the PEM that creates a levelled surface on top of the stone socle, although always in smaller proportion than in the mudbricks. When mud mortar is used as a binder between mudbricks, there is little to no evidence of vegetal temper in the form of seagrasses.

Fig. 27 — Views of mudbricks and joints filled with mud mortar in the north-east (a) and north (b) walls of room V 3

Fig. 27 — Views of mudbricks and joints filled with mud mortar in the north-east (a) and north (b) walls of room V 3

a. looking west; b. looking north.

M. Devolder.

  • 46 Wright 2005; Kemp 2000.
  • 47 Wright 2005: 93‑95.
  • 48 Fodde et al. 2014.
  • 49 Devolder 2005‑2006.
  • 50 Devolder 2005-2006: 68‑69. The incorporation of seagrasses was observed in EM IIB, Protopalatial an (...)
  • 51 Shaw 2006: 199‑229.
  • 52 Aurenche 1981: 70; Kemp 2000: 92; Wright 2005: 93‑94.

19The presence of a mud plaster is essential to the preservation of mudbrick walls, since it protects from erosion, humidity, and parasites46. Where it is preserved, the mud plaster is composed of a sediment matrix ranging from red to reddish yellow (2.5YR 4/8, 7.5YR 7/6) with large quantities of straw (up to 60%), in stalks 3 to 10 cm‑long (fig. 28a). The presence of the fibrous material reinforces the structure of the mud plaster. By helping the drainage of excess water outside the revetment, it also reduces the risk of it shrinking and cracking47. Evaporation of groundwater and rainwater also affects earthen architectural structures, as walls can be easily deteriorated by salt crystallisation, which causes weathering and consequent loss of material48. Quite relevantly, only in some rare instances were seagrasses identified in the mud plaster, where their presence seems accidental49. The marked difference in composition between mudbrick and mud plaster is especially useful when collapsed fragments are found, since the presence of seagrasses or straw may help to distinguish the two categories of earthen building material50. Multiple layers of mud plaster are recorded in situ, indicating the presence of successive coatings. They show the gradual refining of the mud plaster composition, with a thick layer (3 to 10 cm) of coarse mud plaster used to even the surface of the wall, on top of which one or several fine layers of mud or lime plaster are applied (fig. 28)51. These finer layers were to be maintained regularly to protect the wall efficiently, likely once every two or three years according to ethnoarchaeological sources52.

Fig. 28 — View of mud plasters on the north (a) and south (b) faces of the partition wall in C 1-C 2.

Fig. 28 — View of mud plasters on the north (a) and south (b) faces of the partition wall in C 1-C 2.

Note the incorporation of vegetal temper in both, though it is more finely chopped in the south face.

M. Devolder.

Geoarchaeological analyses of the mudbricks

20The geoarchaeological analysis of the mudbricks in the Palace at Malia was conducted on 15 samples collected in situ (table 3 and fig. 2). The rationale behind sampling was to collect fragments ranging from the Pre‑ (EM IIB phase, ca. 2450-2200 BCE) to the Neopalatial (ca. 1700-1430 BCE) period, and which came from different wall typologies (including both exterior and interior walls) and from diverse functional areas. The samples collected were analysed through multiple geoarchaeological techniques, namely geochemical analyses and thin section petrography, in order to explore the persistence of raw material source and identify manufacturing techniques.

Table 3 — List of geoarchaeological samples, with their date and location within the Palace (fig. 2).

Sample

Period

Location

MA1

Prepalatial

North wall of room I 1

MA2

Neopalatial

Partition wall between C 1 and C 2

MA3

Neopalatial

South wall of room VI 9

MA4

Neopalatial

Partition wall in the north-western corner of room V 3

MA5

Neopalatial

North wall of room V 3

MA6

Neopalatial

North-western wall of room VI 7

MA7

Neopalatial

North wall of room II 1b

MA8

Neopalatial

East wall of room IV 10

MA9

Neopalatial

South wall of room IX 2

MA10

Neopalatial

South wall of room IX 2 (filling in niche or window)

MA11

Protopalatial

North wall of room XI 1

MA12

Protopalatial

West wall of Area XI

MA13

Neopalatial

North wall of room XIII 1

MA14

Neopalatial

East wall of room XIII 2

MA15

Neopalatial

Wall set above lintel south of corridor C 2

  • 53 Emery and Morgenstein 2007; Goodale et al. 2011; Goren et al. 2011.
  • 54 Jolliffe 2002.
  • 55 Hein et al. 2004; Tung 2005; Rumsey and Drohan 2011.
  • 56 Bullock et al. 1985; Quinn 2013; Friesem et al. 2014a.

21Geochemical analyses included pXRF and XRD. The pXRF analysis was conducted using a Thermo Scientific Niton XL3t portable X‑Ray Fluorescence Analyser in order to evaluate trace elements in the mudbrick recipe53. The samples were analysed for 120s in soil mode and multiple measures were recorded for each sample. The results of the quantitative analysis have been investigated statistically with both Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and bivariate scatterplot using software R (3.2.2.). All data had been normalised before statistical analysis54. XRD analysis was conducted at the Demokritos Institute in Athens with a Siemens D 500 diffractometer using Cu Kα radiation in the interval 3/60° 2θ at a rate of 3s per step in order to show the mineral composition of the mudbrick samples55. In parallel with geochemical analyses, thin section petrography was conducted in order to evaluate manufacturing techniques and consistency of fabric types. Petrographic and micromorphological observations were made with a LaborLux 12PolS polarizing light microscope (magnification 5x, 10x and 20x). Petrographic thin sections were investigated in order to identify the presence of vegetal, mineral (e.g. quartz), organic (e.g. shells) and human-induced tempering (e.g. lime) during mudbrick manufacturing as a diagnostic characteristic of different mudbricks’ recipes. Microphotographic analysis focused on determining issues related to manufacturing practices and their changes over time56.

Geochemical analyses (pXRF and XRD)

22The principal component analysis (PCA) focused on seven indicative variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn), determined on the basis

  • 57 Goodale et al. 2011; Hunt and Speakman 2015.

23of their reliability in pXRF analysis57, with the two main principal components (PC1 and PC2) explaining 73.2% of the total variability (table 4). The resulting PCA graph shows a clear overlapping in raw material sources between samples of the Pre‑, Proto‑ and Neopalatial periods (fig. 29). Indeed, although the number of samples is limited, the quantitative analysis implemented with the confidence ellipses (95% confidence) indicates a general pattern of consistency of raw material sources over time. However, the Neopalatial mudbrick sample MA8 is an outlier in regard to the main sample cluster (fig. 30). This may reflect distinct production phases of mudbricks of slightly different composition during separate building events within the Neopalatial period. PCA analysis is thus relevant in highlighting firstly, the continuity of soil procurement source throughout the use of the Minoan Palace at Malia; and secondly, the existence of discrete building events within the Neopalatial programme of reconstruction of the edifice.

Fig. 29 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) considering sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia.

Fig. 29 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) considering sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia.

M. Lorenzon.

Fig. 30 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia discriminated by areas.

Fig. 30 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia discriminated by areas.

M. Lorenzon.

Table 4 — pXRF table.

Zr Zr
Error
Sr Sr
Error
Rb Rb
Error
Zn Zn
Error
Fe Fe
Error
Mn Mn
Error
Ti Ti
Error
MA1 187 3 164 3 68 3 104 7 31265 183 467 41 3371  92
MA2 246 4  77 2 95 3 116 8 37454 208 697 47 3877  99
MA3 214 4 154 3 60 2  84 7 23052 161 275 37 2010  65
MA4 190 3 118 3 83 3 122 7 37375 201 503 42 3642 100
MA5 186 3 172 3 68 3  87 7 24259 165 387 40 2501  73
MA6 230 3  88 2 80 3  93 7 32256 182 302 37 3724  96
MA7 188 3 149 3 64 2  90 7 24311 165 323 38 2381  78
MA8 278 4  73 2 57 2  86 6 24707 160 654 43 3645  87
MA9 206 3 111 3 80 3 104 7 31086 188 444 42 2756  85
MA10 246 4  61 2 70 2 104 7 31905 183 442 40 3922  97
MA11 215 3  63 2 69 3 136 8 25701 167 359 39 2745  78
MA12 193 3  82 2 72 3  87 7 28134 179 322 39 2505  70
MA13 211 3  59 2 85 3  95 7 31164 181 453 40 3921  99
MA14 210 3  94 2 78 3 124 7 34106 188 535 42 3804 104
MA15 193 3 142 3 69 3  97 7 28679 181 443 42 3125  84
  • 58 Aghia Varvara deposits are calcareous formations typical of the eastern Mediterranean geological la (...)

24Bivariate analysis was performed by isolating the values of Fe, Mn and Sr. Sr is associated with carbonated rocks, while Fe and Mn refer to the non‑carbonate content, such as ferromagnesian silicates (i.e. olivine) (fig. 32 and 33). This analysis highlights the small degree of variability between the samples as far as raw source procurement is concerned and indicates the exploitation of the local sediments around Malia (fig. 31). Indeed, the iron‑rich alluvium deposits around the settlement are the main constituent of the mudbricks, with a smaller percentage of marine alluvial sediments originating from the area west of the site, i.e. carbonate rocks of the Aghia Varvara formation58 and talus cones deposits.

Fig. 31 — Geological map of the Malia plain highlighting the main sediment deposits within the surroundings of the Palace.

Fig. 31 — Geological map of the Malia plain highlighting the main sediment deposits within the surroundings of the Palace.

After Papavassiliou 1987; Papavassiliou 1989 (M. Lorenzon)

25The first bivariate scatterplot presents the ratio of Fe vs. Mn, considering the samples by area (fig. 32). It indicates a high variability of iron content in the mudbricks, which can be affected by both raw‑material procurement strategies and post-depositional factors (i.e. bioturbation, calcification and phosphate mineralisation). The open arrangement of the points discriminated on the basis of the location of the samples within the Palace indicates that macroscopically similar mudbricks or mudbricks that belong to the same architectural unit can show chemical dissimilarity (i.e. MA3, MA6 and MA7 from Area II/VI, and MA2 and MA15 in corridor C). The bivariate analysis of Fe vs. Mn thus suggests that mudbricks were not necessarily produced for immediate consumption but were manufactured in multiple events before they were incorporated into the walls, an aspect already hinted at by the PCA analysis.

Fig. 32 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Mn scatterplot.

Fig. 32 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Mn scatterplot.

M. Lorenzon.

26The second bivariate analysis maps Fe vs. Sr and highlights a clear division in two main groups consistent with the results of Fe vs. Mn (Group 1: MA1, MA2, MA4, MA6, MA9, MA10, MA13 and MA14, and Group 2: MA3, MA5, MA7, MA8, MA11, MA12 and MA15 in fig. 33). The chemical similarity between samples located in nearby walls (e.g. MA9-MA10; MA13-MA14; MA7-MA8) shows that their mudbricks were produced within one single manufacturing phase, while their assignment to neighbouring areas of the Palace suggests a cluster construction development.

Fig. 33 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Sr scatterplot.

Fig. 33 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Sr scatterplot.

M. Lorenzon.

27In addition, pXRF analysis highlighted a minor chemical variability amongst samples, which indicates consistency of raw sources, with only slight changes in the main mudbrick recipe over time and across the Palace.

28XRD analysis was performed on four samples (MA1, MA2, MA7 and MA14) in order to identify the type of clay used in mudbrick production, and to determine which other elemental components (i.e. illite, smectite, calcite) were present in the mudbrick samples (fig. 34). The results indicate that illite-muscovite, a non-expansive clay, is the principal type of clay used in the mudbricks of the Palace at Malia. Easily accessible clay‑beds and alluvial sediments of similar composition are located within a 2‑km radius from the core of the settlement (fig. 31). Apart from quartz, another relevant component identified in the spectra analysed is calcite (i.e. MA14), which reflects the incorporation of lime plaster fragments in the recipe during mudbrick manufacturing, and thus indicates the likelihood that building materials were re‑used (see also fig. 26e). The samples also present traces of calcium carbonate particles that occur naturally in the geological scree layer south of the site (i.e. MA2), as well as the consistent presence of K‑feldspar and plagioclase from the coastal alluvium. Sample MA2 is particularly interesting as it also presents a peak of dolomite and iron oxides (e.g. magnetite and hematite), which are naturally present in the limestone deposit west and south of the site (Aghia Varvara formation and talus cones).

29Conclusively, geochemical analyses indicate a consistency of raw material sources over time, not only marking the local nature of mudbrick production, but also the presence of a local conservative tradition of soil procurement from the Pre‑ to the Neopalatial period. Minimal differences in the mudbrick recipe (e.g. different iron level, or presence of calcite) suggest limited diversity within single steps of the building process (i.e. during procurement and manufacture).

Fig. 34 — XRD spectra of samples MA1 (Prepalatial), MA2, MA7 and MA14 (Neopalatial) of the Malia Palace.

Fig. 34 — XRD spectra of samples MA1 (Prepalatial), MA2, MA7 and MA14 (Neopalatial) of the Malia Palace.

The minerals recognised are illite/muscovite (I/M), plagioclase (P), hematite and iron oxides (H), quartz (Q), calcite (C), dolomite (D), and K-feldspar (F).

M. Lorenzon.

Petrographic analysis

30The petrographic study of the mudbrick samples collected in the Palace at Malia indicates the presence of a main fabric, which is characterised by a reddish-brown matrix and a limited number of inclusions (table 5 and fig. 35). These inclusions are monocrystalline and polycrystalline sub‑angular quartz, feldspar, iron‑oxide nodules, and clay pellets.

Fig. 35 — Petrographic fabric, Malia Palace.

Fig. 35 — Petrographic fabric, Malia Palace.

Sample from left to right, top to bottom: MA14, MA8, MA11, and MA15. G = grog, Q = quartz, F = iron-oxide nodule, V = void and L = lime lumps from lime plaster fragments.

M. Lorenzon.

Table 5 — Microscopic characteristics of Malia Palace mudbrick samples based on thin section petrography.

Sample

Period

Fabric

Vegetal temper %

Temper in stereoscope

Pores

Exterior colour

Interior

colour

MA1

Prepalatial

Sandy clay

40

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA2

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

60

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA3

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA4

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

50

Quartz, clay pellets, grog

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA5

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, calcite, grog

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA6

Neopalatial

Silty clay

30

Calcite, lime plaster fragments

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA7

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA8

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA9

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, calcite, grog

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA10

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA11

Protopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, lime plaster fragments

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA12

Protopalatial

Sandy clay

40

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA13

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

50

Quartz, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA14

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

30

Quartz, clay pellets, grog

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

MA15

Neopalatial

Sandy clay

40

Quartz, calcite, clay pellets

Few

10 R 5/8

2.5 YR 5/6

  • 59 For the methodology, see Bullock et al. 1985; Matthews 2010.

31Quartz grains visible in the red matrix are present in substantial quantities, which is characteristic of raw‑material procurement in alluvial deposit. The presence of human-induced tempering (i.e. lime fragments), often added together with vegetal temper, was employed to prevent shrinking. In MA14 the presence of grog is particularly evident, and it is very likely that it indicates the incorporation of reprocessed archaeological material, i.e. pottery or mudbrick fragments (fig. 35a). The minerals are generally medium in size (0.5 mm < size < 0.1 mm), poorly sorted and with only a limited presence of bigger grains. The coarse fraction comprises 40% of the fabric and the fine fraction never exceeds 60%. The numerous voids indicate the average percentage of vegetal temper in the recipe, namely 30‑40%, an estimation based on point counting during the analysis of the thin sections59. The voids are mainly elongated (approx. 40%) with a few vesicular voids and primarily pertain to the loss of vegetal temper. MA5 is an exception to the main fabric, since it presents a calcarenite fabric, with a brownish colour and the presence of micritic calcite grains (fig. 36).

Fig. 36 — Calcarenite-micritic fabric, Malia Palace (XPL). Sample MA5.

Fig. 36 — Calcarenite-micritic fabric, Malia Palace (XPL). Sample MA5.

M. Lorenzon.

  • 60 Friesem et al. 2014a; Friesem et al. 2014b; Hamard et al. 2017.
  • 61 Cammas 2015; Cammas 2018.
  • 62 Friesem et al. 2014b; Cammas 2018.

32The study of the petrographic fabrics also highlights several other aspects of mudbrick manufacturing60. First, the presence of different types of vegetal tempers is indicated by the voids and impressions left by chaff and seagrasses. Voids left by seagrasses are wider and longer than those left by chaff, which are thin and elongated. Chaff voids are mainly visible in the Pre‑ and Protopalatial samples, whereas seagrasses are clearly visible in all the Neopalatial samples (fig. 37a‑b). Second, micro‑fissures visible in the microphotographs were caused by the progressive evapotranspiration of water‑lain sediments, as the seagrasses inside the bricks caused long‑term water-retention61. Third, rotating features were caused by kneading during the manufacture (fig. 37c‑d)62. Finally, fine fabrics tend to show a more homogeneous matrix. Coarse fabrics, on the contrary, show fewer traces of pugging and kneading, and present a clearer separation between fine and coarse fraction, both features perhaps linked to a hastier manufacture.

Fig. 37 — Thin sections evidencing the specifics of manufacturing practices (PPL).

Fig. 37 — Thin sections evidencing the specifics of manufacturing practices (PPL).

The voids’ shape indicates different types of vegetal temper: chaff (a) and seagrass (b), while crude semi-circular arrangement of the sub-rounded clasts associated with a silty-clayish groundmass provides evidence of pugging during manufacturing (c). Water-lain sediments formed by the stagnation within the bricks of the water contained in the seagrasses are also visible (c and d).

M. Lorenzon.

  • 63 Lorenzon 2017; Lorenzon forthcoming.
  • 64 Friesem et al. 2014b; Cammas 2015: 60‑63; Lorenzon 2017.
  • 65 Lorenzon 2017.

33In earthen architecture, voids and sediment patterns are significant elements that make it possible to investigate the use of vegetal temper or manufacturing practices such as kneading and pugging. For instance, vesicles and irregular planar voids visible in the microphotographs are created by the interaction of water with the soil material, including the process of evapotranspiration, while the elongated regular planar voids are caused by fibrous vegetal temper. Comparing chaff and seagrass voids, the latter are often more than 5 cm long and wider, which is consistent with the macroscopic observation conducted on the mudbricks and reflects the incorporation of Posidonia oceanica in the mudbrick mixture63. Seagrasses, which have also been identified macroscopically in the samples analysed (fig. 26a), have the capacity to retain water for a long period of time and release it slowly, thus accounting for salt crystallisation occurring during evapotranspiration of the mudbricks, as well as for the presence of water‑lain features visible in the matrix64. The Pre‑ and Protopalatial samples (MA1, MA11 and MA12) present a similar percentage of vegetal temper (30‑40%) to the Neopalatial ones (40%). It is not consistent, however, with the data available in the settlement of Malia, where an extended investigation of vegetal temper highlights that the use of seagrasses increased progressively in the Neopalatial period at the expense of straw65.

Mudbrick production and performance in the Palace at Malia: Minoan Master Builders?

  • 66 Oliver 2008: 98.

34Geoarchaeological analysis of a selection of mudbrick samples in the Palace at Malia demonstrates that raw materials were collected locally throughout the Pre‑, Proto‑ and Neopalatial periods. Sediments with illite-muscovite clay‑beds were favoured, which are common in the terra rossa alluvium of the Malia plain. Marine sediments and other local geological formations, such as deposits of talus cones and limestone formations were also exploited, although in a more limited way. Raw materials can be linked to deposits inside a 2‑km radius from the core of the settlement (fig. 31). Preferred use of alluvium for mudbrick manufacturing is easily explained as it contains a favourable ratio of clay, silt and sand suitable for mudbrick production with a fine fraction accounting for 40% of the total matrix66. However, one cannot entirely rule out the possibility that tiny processed fragments of lime plaster were deliberately added to the mixture in order to harden the bricks and make them more resistant to erosion (MA6 and MA11) (fig. 35). Similarly, processed fragmented mudbrick and/or pottery was identified in the shape of grog used as mineral temper in several samples (MA4, MA5, MA9 and MA14) (table 5 and fig. 35).

35Macroscopic observation of the mudbricks’ composition highlights the dissimilarities between mudbricks with a fine macro-fabric that incorporates little or no macroscopic inclusions in addition to seagrasses, and mudbricks with a significantly coarser macro-fabric (fig. 26). Coarse macro-fabrics display residual human-induced tempering that were not deliberately incorporated in the mudbrick matrix but were likely collected during soil procurement. The presence in some of these mudbricks of sherds, broken obsidian pieces, bones and lime plaster fragments of large dimensions (up to 9 cm) indicates that the soil was not always carefully screened for undesirable inclusions to be removed. Processing of the sediments occurred in picking out by hand the largest inclusions, but the variety in macroscopic composition shows that this task was not fulfilled with the same zeal by all workers. Possible hastiness in the procurement and processing of raw materials no doubt reduced mudbrick performance, since those made in a coarser fabric tend to be less compact and are clearly more affected by erosion.

  • 67 Lorenzon forthcoming.
  • 68 Pacheco-Torgal and Jalali 2012; Lorenzon 2017: 275.

36Vegetal temper was procured locally by collecting seagrasses, which are naturally deposited by tides along the nearby shore. An increase in the quantities of seagrasses incorporated in the mudbricks from the Pre‑ to the Neopalatial period is noted, although the limited number of pre-Neopalatial samples must be acknowledged. The use of seagrasses as vegetal temper reflects the increasing exploitation of a readily available raw material that significantly enhanced the performance of mudbricks. Posidonia oceanica released the water content in the mudbricks slowly, thus preventing them from shrinking too abruptly while drying. Also, the fibrous nature of the seagrass increased the tension and compressive strength of the mudbricks, and therefore their load-bearing capacity67. Salt efflorescences and small marine gastropods observable microscopically in the mudbricks suggest the seagrasses were incorporated in the matrix unwashed, with the presence of salt increasing the water-retention and thus slowing down the drying process. Additionally, the presence of salt water and the natural properties of Posidonia oceanica as a fungicide may also have prevented vegetation and microorganisms from growing in the unfired mudbricks68. It is noticeable that seagrasses were found in lesser proportions in the mudbricks produced in a coarser fabric, a feature perhaps in part responsible for their poorer state of preservation.

  • 69 [T]he fermentation produces lactic acids that make the brick stronger and less absorbent, Fathy 196 (...)
  • 70 Specimens entirely detached from the walls showed an upper, more regular surface, and a lower rough (...)
  • 71 Devolder 2005-2006; Nodarou et al. 2008; Lorenzon 2017.

37Once the raw materials had been procured and, for some of them, processed, they were mixed together with water. Studies on modern mudbrick production have suggested that the blend was left to ferment for a week or more, kneaded daily so that it would release lactic acid to enhance the matrix cohesion and thus the mudbrick performance69. Petrographic analysis demonstrated that traces of pugging and kneading are more apparent in specimens with a fine macro-fabric (fig. 37c‑d). The roughly standardised dimensions of the mudbricks produced during each building event indicate that moulds were used in manufacturing, and that a maximum of two recurring mould sizes were used in each wall or architectural unit (table 6). The vertical impressions left on the side of the bricks attest the use of wooden moulds, while the raised upper edges on the top of the vertical surfaces indicate that the bricks were not regularised by any tool after the mould was removed70. Similar characteristics are typical of Minoan production and are indeed well represented on other sites71. The moulded bricks were then left to dry for a few days, depending on the weather conditions. The deformation of the mudbricks indicates that they had not dried completely before they were incorporated in the Palace walls (walls in rooms I 2‑3, V 3 and VI 10, fig. 7 and 16). It is most likely that the manufacturing took place in an area that combined proximity to the raw materials and a source of water, as well as large availability of space for drying the mudbricks. Mudbrick production may very well have occurred in the immediate vicinity of the Palace: raw materials would be procured from the nearby alluvial deposits, beaches and rivers, and the mudbricks left to dry in its West and Central Courts.

Table 6 — Mudbrick dimensions in the different mudbrick architectural units and partition walls.

Location

Date

Mudbrick
macro-fabric

Mudbrick
length(s) (m)

Mudbrick
width(s) (m)

Room I 1 (unit)

Prepalatial

Fine

0.63-0.54

0.41-0.29

Area XI (unit)

Protopalatial

Fine

0.60

0.40

Area II/VI/VII 3 (unit)

Neopalatial

Coarse

0.62-0.57

0.42-0.37

Room IV 10 (unit)

Neopalatial

Fine

0.51

0.27

Rooms IX 1-IX 2 (unit)

Neopalatial

Fine

-

0.37

Area XIII (unit)

Neopalatial

Fine

0.50

0.37

Room V 3 (north wall, addition?)

Neopalatial

Fine

0.60

0.36

Room V 3 (north-west wall, addition?)

Neopalatial

Coarse

-

-

Wall IX 2 (south, niche, addition)

Neopalatial

Coarse

0.45

0.34

Wall C 1-C 2 (partition wall)

Neopalatial

Fine

0.47

0.36

Wall C 2 south (isolated wall, upper floor)

Neopalatial

Fine

-

0.29

Wall V 3-Portico (partition wall)

Neopalatial

Coarse

0.50

0.35

Wall Portico-Room X 1a (partition wall)

Neopalatial

Coarse

0.54

0.31

Room XXI (north, partition wall)

Neopalatial

Coarse

0.48

0.34

  • 72 It is worth underlining here that the opposite conclusion was reached regarding the procurement of (...)

38Mudbrick walls served different purposes in the Palace of Malia: coherent architectural units formed by mudbrick walls sharing similar masonry features and functioning together in terms of structure and configuration; isolated mudbrick partition walls erected for blocking or narrowing accesses within a pre-existing plan; and late additions to already existing groups of mudbrick walls for filling gaps or repairing earlier masonry (table 6). During the Neopalatial period, for which the record is notably more abundant, mudbricks illustrate a marked consistency in dimensions within the same unit or partition wall. In contrast, differences in dimensions between the different architectural units and amongst the partition walls or additions are pronounced (tables 2 and 6). This indicates the use of distinct moulds in the different areas of the Neopalatial Palace and suggests that mudbricks were not mass-produced to be used indifferently throughout the edifice but were produced separately by builders, who erected their own mudbrick architectural unit or isolated wall72. This hints at a high degree of segmentation of the building project, i.e. its completion in separate building events, an impression further enhanced by the diversity in mudbrick fabrics and mudbrick walls constructional features in the Palace (table 2). It is worth noting that while load-bearing underperforming partition walls or additions were generally erected with mudbricks in a coarse macro-fabric, fine macro-fabrics were preferred in the case of larger mudbrick architectural units (with the exception of Area II/VI/VII 3, table 6). However, the type of macro-fabric used is unrelated to the features of the walls’ masonry. For instance, walls provided with features that enhanced their structural efficiency (e.g. a stone socle, intermediate levelling layers, or the avoidance of running bond) could be using mudbricks in one or the other macro-fabric (compare for example Area II/VI/VII 3 and Area XIII).

  • 73 This is for example illustrated by sample MA2 which is a statistical outlier in PCA and bivariate a (...)

39Consistency in dimensions, fabric and constructional features within each mudbrick architectural unit stands out from the marked distinction between the different areas supposedly erected during the same building episode in the Neopalatial period. Macroscopic observations of the mudbrick walls highlight their marked diversity within the Palace, in terms of bricklaying and mudbrick fabric and dimensions. These suggest that despite the coherence of the Neopalatial Palace master plan, the edifice was built in separate building events most likely fulfilled by distinct work parties (Area II/VI/VII 3; room IV 10; rooms IX 1‑2; and Area XIII) (fig. 38 and table 2). Each building team would have been responsible for the entire construction process of a given architectural unit or isolated wall within the edifice, from the procurement of raw materials to the production of mudbricks and the actual building of the wall(s). Small variations in composition between mudbricks from the same architectural unit also indicate that in some cases the mudbricks could be produced in several batches before they were used in construction73.

Fig. 38 — Schematic plan of the Palace at Malia indicating the walls in fine (pink) and coarse (red) macro-fabrics.

Fig. 38 — Schematic plan of the Palace at Malia indicating the walls in fine (pink) and coarse (red) macro-fabrics.

The room numbering system is based on the Areas (upper case Roman numerals), which are clusters of rooms (lower case Arabic numerals).

M. Devolder, modified from the plans of E. Andersen in Pelon 1980, plan 28, and M. Schmid and N. Rigopoulos in Pelon 2002, pl. XXXII.

  • 74 Devolder 2019c.
  • 75 On the discovery of standing and collapsed mudbrick walls and partitions in the town of Malia, see (...)

40Standing architectural remains in the Palace show that mudbrick building tradition in Malia goes back to the beginning of the settlement’s history from the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE onwards74. The extensive use of this building material on the site is best exemplified in Protopalatial Quartier Mu but it is also illustrated, when the conditions of preservation permitted it, by many other buildings75. The abundance of local building resources most likely encouraged the extensive use of mudbrick in architecture, perhaps also enhanced by the structural advantages of the material highlighted in the introduction to this paper.

  • 76 Chapouthier and Joly 1936: 1‑3.
  • 77 Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 9.
  • 78 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 19, 23, 30‑33.

41Although the masons favoured coarse mudbricks for blockings and partition walls, it seems that the use of finer mudbricks with enhanced performance is unrelated to the structural needs of the building: ground floor walls that supported an upper level were made of both high‑quality mudbricks (Areas IX76 and XIII77) and mudbricks which performed less well (Area III-IV-VI78) (fig. 38). Similarly, we doubt that aesthetic considerations played a role in the choice of a specific mudbrick macro-fabric, since the mudbrick walls’ components were hidden behind a mud or plaster coating (fig. 4, 8, 9, 21 and 28). Rather than structural and aesthetic reasons, we argue that the varying skills of the builders determined the use of varying macro-fabrics.

  • 79 On building forms and techniques created over time by the collectivity and giving birth to local ar (...)
  • 80 It is however important to beware of an extreme polarisation between skilled and less‑skilled build (...)

42Extensive use of mudbrick architecture on the site must have contributed to the deve­lopment amongst its inhabitants of the practical knowledge necessary to produce structurally efficient mudbrick walls, i.e. embedded skills acquired through observation and participation in building projects79. The detailed macro- and microscopic observation of mudbrick architecture in the Palace at Malia indicates that the workforce involved in the construction of the mudbrick walls was most probably drawn from the site’s inhabitants, whose skills must have varied markedly. This would explain the variety in mudbrick masonry, composition and performance throughout the edifice, including within the same building episode. While some architectural units seem to have been erected by true master builders, others attest the work of less‑skilled builders80.

  • 81 On the debate regarding the socio-political organisation of Minoan Crete, see for example Evans 192 (...)
  • 82 Devolder 2018: 362; Devolder 2019a.

43The segmentation in the production of mudbrick architecture within the Palace at Malia did not hinder the general cohesion of the building, and the involvement of distinct building teams appears ancillary to the sophisticated configuration of the Neopalatial complex. Although defining the nature of the leadership that transcended the involvement of distinct teams of builders is arduous81, the architectural integrity of the Neopalatial Palace must not be blurred by the partitioning of the building process. This argues for a centrally-managed architectural development and a craftspeople-based production complemented by a less‑ or unskilled workforce. The diversity in the practices and skills – and perhaps also status – of the agents involved in the materialisation of the Palace’s coherent master plan nevertheless shakes our preconceptions about the degree of control and uniformity of the human and material resources invested in such a monumental building project. This diversity is further exacerbated if one takes into consideration other masonries in the Palace. Recent research has put forward the involvement in the Neopalatial reconstruction of the edifice of Knossian builders specialised in cut‑stone and wood-and-cut-stone masonries82. Participation in the same project of local mudbrick builders with varying degrees of competence thus completes an already composite picture of the Neopalatial Palace’s building materials and techniques.

  • 83 Hastings and Moseley 1975; Moseley 1975; Cavallaro and Shimada 1988.
  • 84 Schmid and Treuil 2017: 137, fig. 222‑223.
  • 85 These are bricks with crosses incised and in relief in Houses Ab (room 15) and Ac (room 17) in Gour (...)
  • 86 Hazzidakis 1915: 118‑119, fig. 6.
  • 87 Olivier 1980: 219, no 201.
  • 88 Devolder 2018.

44If separate teams of mudbrick builders were involved in the construction of the Neopalatial Palace at Malia, it is worth stressing the absence of visibly intentional markers that would make it possible to distinguish the production of each one of them, such as the marks illustrated in other crafts in Crete and on mudbricks in other civilisations83. This is a general trend on the site, where even the best‑preserved mudbrick remains of Protopalatial Quartier Mu have produced only the impressions of goat and human feet84, although marks on mudbricks were found in other sites on Crete and in the broader Aegean85. There is one striking example though, of an eight-branch star set in relief on a brick (0.50 by 0.35 by 0.10 m) retrieved by J. Hazzidakis during the first excavation campaign of the Palace in 1915 (fig. 39)86. It is said to come from the southern part of the Western Magazines, although the precise location of the discovery is unknown. It was suggested that the sign was created when the mudbrick was pressed, still wet, on a block bearing a deeply incised masons’ mark87, the like of which are carved on the ashlar sandstone blocks in the Neopalatial Palace88. This latter interpretation seems doubtful, since mudbricks were laid in the walls with at least a dried external surface, and although they could bend under stress, they were no longer plastic enough to take on the shape of the surrounding wall components. Unfortunately, the loss of this specimen makes further study and interpretation impossible. The general absence of makers’ marks on the mudbricks of the Palace at Malia may be a further indication that each building team was in charge of the whole construction process, from mudbrick manufacture to actual construction, thus making it unnecessary for mudbrick makers to mark their own production.

Fig. 39 — Mudbrick bearing an eight-branch star in relief, found by Hazzidakis in the Palace at Malia in 1915.

Fig. 39 — Mudbrick bearing an eight-branch star in relief, found by Hazzidakis in the Palace at Malia in 1915.

Hazzidakis 1915: fig. 6.

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Bibliographie

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Pelon 2005 = O. Pelon, “Les deux destructions du palais de Malia”, in I. Bradfer-Burdet, B. Detournay and R. Laffineur (eds), Kris Technitis. L’Artisan Crétois: Recueil d’articles en l’honneur de Jean‑Claude Poursat, publié à l’occasion des 40 ans de la découverte du Quartier Mu, Aegaeum 26 (2005), p. 185‑197.

Pelon and Hue 1992 = O. Pelon and M. Hue, “La salle à piliers du palais de Malia et ses antécédents”, BCH 116.1 (1992), p. 1‑36.

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Notes

1 McEnroe 1982; McEnroe 1990; McEnroe 2010; Shaw 2009; Shaw 2015.

2 See for instance Dollfus 1975; Goldberg 1979; Rosen 1986; Chazelles 1997; Sauvage 1998; Cammas 2015; Love 2013b; Daneels 2018; Lorenzon and Iacovou 2019.

3 For contemporary ethnographic studies on earthen architecture see Fathy 1969; see Basu 1993; Jerome et al. 1999; Bendakir 2008; Fodde 2009. For research on the historical development of earthen architecture see McHenry 1996; Van Beek and Van Beek 2013; Perello 2015; Lorenzon and Sadozaï 2018.

4 Although adobe is the common engineering term, the extensive use on excavations of Cretan Bronze Age sites of the term mudbrick – implying sun‑dried – is respected here. Studies of such material in the Near East, Anatolia and the Levant, sometimes refer to adobe (Aurenche 2004: 12), although mudbrick (sun‑dried) or brique (crue) is also used (Aurenche 2004: 40‑24; Perello 2011; Homsher 2012; Love 2012; Love 2013a) in the same regions of the eastern Mediterranean. Note that rammed earth (French pisé) is not known in Minoan Crete, except perhaps for one case – now dissolved – in House N at Palaikastro (Sackett et al. 1965: 259, fig. 1).

5 Koulidou 1998; Friesem et al. 2014a.

6 Doumas 1983; Palyvou 2005: 114.

7 See for example Evans et al. 1964: 136; Evans 1972: 117‑118; Warren 1972: 256‑257; Zois 1976: 45; pl. 48β and 49; Guest-Papamanoli 1978; Jerome 1993; McEnroe 2001: 30; Soles 2003: 10, 44 and 106; Devolder 2005-2006; Tsipopoulou 2016: 56‑60; Lorenzon 2017; Schmid and Treuil 2017: 137‑139. See also Nodarou et al. 2008 and Shaw 2009: 127‑135 for more synthetic views or analyses including several sites.

8 Love 2012: 153.

9 Binici et al. 2005; Fernandes et al. 2010; Zhai and Previtali 2010; Gran-Aymerich and von Ungern-Sternberg 2012; Dhandhukia et al. 2013; Llampas et al. 2014.

10 Wright 2005; Wright 2009; Minke 2006: 108, 137.

11 Doat et al. 1979: 126; Tsakanika-Theohari 2006; Tsakanika-Theohari 2009.

12 Binici et al. 2005; Wright 2005; Galán-Marin et al. 2013.

13 Aurenche 1981; Aurenche 1993; Wright 2005.

14 Minke 2006; Hadjri et al. 2007: 143; Jaquin 2010: 2; Homsher 2012: 2‑3; Llampas et al. 2014.

15 Based on Bietak 2003, 2014, Cherubini et al. 2014, MacGillivray 2014, Warren 2009, Warren 2010, Warren and Hankey 1989, and Wiener 2009, with the correspondence between relative and absolute chronologies established according to a ‘low chronology’, which dates the eruption of the Santorini volcano around 1525 BCE, instead of a high chronology which dates this event to ca. 1613 ±13 cal. BCE (Friedrich and Heinemeier 2009; Friedrich et al. 2014; LaMarche and Hirschboeck 1984; Manning 2007; Manning 2014; Manning et al. 2014. See also Bietak and Czerny 2007 and Warburton 2009. For a dating of the eruption within the 16th c. BCE based on a revision of the calibration curve, see more recently Pearson et al. 2018.

16 This is the case for the wall east of room VIIa, initially made of mudbricks set of a low limestone socle, but which is now barely preserved (Pelon 1980: 135‑136, pl. 79.2, 83.1, 125.1, 127.1). Also, the walls in room VI 2 are so heavily restored that they had to be left aside in this study.

17 O. Pelon suggests a construction during the MM IA phase (Pelon 1983: 698‑700, fig. 1, 21; Pelon 1986a; Pelon 1986b: 814; Pelon 1989: 779‑80, 785, fig. 24‑25, 30‑32; Devolder 2016: 154 for a summary of the excavator’s arguments), but several authors question such an early date (Poursat 1988: 71; Poursat 2010: 262; Whitelaw 2012: 123‑124).

18 Poursat 1988: 74‑75; Pelon 2005: 186‑190.

19 Pelon 1984: 884; Pelon 1986a: 19, fig. 14‑15; Poursat 1988: 75.

20 Pelon 2005: 191‑196; Darcque et al. 2014: 181‑182.

21 Pelon 1997.

22 The use of mudbricks in the building is hindered by the heaviness of some of the restorations. Conservation materials sometimes aged badly and, except for those that hide or destroy the Minoan walls, they also make it difficult sometimes to distinguish the Minoan from the modern. Moreover, some of the bricks discovered in the ruin were re‑allocated position during restorations, often along with small sandstone blocks and limestone plaques. Those were easy to spot though and are not incorporated in the present study. Pelon 1980: 39‑40; Van Effenterre 1980: 48‑56.

23 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 7, 36‑38; Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011; Pelon 1969: 1051‑1056; Pelon 1980: 229‑232; Pelon and Hue 1992; Devolder 2016: 155, fig. 2‑3.

24 This project, directed by M. Devolder in collaboration with I. Caloi and placed under the aegis of the French School at Athens, focusses on the revision of the architectural and stratigraphic sequence of the Palace based on the documentation accumulated during the early 20th c. excavations of the edifice, and on the data collected by O. Pelon during his soundings under the latest floor levels of the building (1964-1992).

25 Dimou et al. 2000: 438‑439.

26 Plastic earthen building material (PEM) is a building material similar to mud mortar but to which vegetal temper is added, creating a plastic mixture that can be easily shaped. In Crete, this material is found either fired on purpose or by accident. PEM is a multipurpose building material as it can be employed as wedges to level courses, filling or within the ceiling structures.

27 Devolder 2016: 144‑148, fig. 4, 5a‑c.

28 Tsakanika-Theohari 2006; Tsakanika-Theohari 2009; Tsakanika-Theohari 2017; Shaw 2009: 91‑109; Devolder 2019a.

29 Chapouthier and Joly 1936: 9‑10; Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 9; Pelon 1980: 205.

30 Poursat 1992: 28.

31 Schmid and Treuil 2017: fig. 232 (0.45 m high), 235 (0.89 m high), 238 (0.97 m high), 239 (0.90 m high).

32 For the size of the inclusions, see Krumbein 1938.

33 Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011; Shaw 2015: 54, 57, 58, fig. 2.24; Devolder 2016.

34 Pelon 1966: 1008, fig. 1; Pelon 1980: plan 16.

35 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 7; Pelon 1966: 1008‑1011, fig. 2‑6; Pelon 1980: 19, n. 3, pl. 19.2.

36 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 36‑38; Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 1‑5; Pelon 1980: 198‑203.

37 Pelon 1980: 6, 198‑200. This stone shed was erected in 1931 and taken away when a new, non‑invasive, structure was built above the archaeological remains in 1989 by architect M. Schmid, Schmid 1990: 930‑939. It is unclear whether the cut sandstone blocks forming the mudbrick walls’ heads towards the east belong to the initial, Protopalatial, structure or correspond to a Neopalatial addition. They were used to support intermediate pillars in the modern shed.

38 Structural bonding is visible in several places, namely the northwestern corner of room VI 10, the south wall of rooms VI 7 and 9 and the south wall of room VI 9 with the wall separating rooms VII 2 and 5. The soundings made by O. Pelon under the floor of several rooms in Areas II, IV and VI indicated the presence of early walls which according to the excavator belonged to the First, or Protopalatial Palace, thus suggesting the mudbrick walls are Neopalatial in date, Pelon 1969: 1051‑1056.

39 Part of a mudbrick wall is still visible to the south‑east of room IX 2, but it is badly preserved because of modern conservation works in this area. Soundings made by O. Pelon under the latest floor level of these rooms have indicated the presence, amongst other remains, of a Protopalatial predecessor (Pelon and Hue 1992), but the mudbrick walls belong to the Neopalatial Palace.

40 These were interpreted as high‑standard storerooms by the excavators, after the discovery of golden foils wrapped on burnt wooden remains, Chapouthier and Joly 1936: 9‑10.

41 Devolder in preparation.

42 Guest-Papamanoli 1978: 6; Devolder 2005-2006: 69; Lorenzon 2017. Despite recurrent references to seaweed (Charbonneaux 1928: 354 [varech]; Shaw 2009: 127 [seaweed]), only the term seagrass is appropriate (Hazzidakis 1915: 119; Xanthoudidis 1922: 9 [φύκη]).

43 Devolder 2005-2006: 69.

44 On this subject, see Lorenzon 2017 and Veropoulidou 2019.

45 Wright 2005.

46 Wright 2005; Kemp 2000.

47 Wright 2005: 93‑95.

48 Fodde et al. 2014.

49 Devolder 2005‑2006.

50 Devolder 2005-2006: 68‑69. The incorporation of seagrasses was observed in EM IIB, Protopalatial and Neopalatial walls of the Palace at Malia (Devolder and Lorenzon, personal observations; Guest-Papamanoli 1978: 6, n. 21), in Protopalatial Building Dessenne and Quartier Mu (Devolder 2019b; Schmid and Treuil 2017: 137) and in Neopalatial Quartier Delta on the same site (Lorenzon 2017). It has also been documented in Protopalatial Monastiraki (Lorenzon 2017), in Neopalatial and Postpalatial mudbricks at Sissi (Devolder, personal observations), in Neopalatial Palaikastro (Devolder 2005-2006), in Neopalatial walls at Gournia (Guest-Papamanoli 1978: 6, n. 21), and at Neopalatial Nirou Hani (Xanthoudidis 1922: 9). It is worth noting that no mention of such vegetal temper appears in Nodarou et al. (2008) study of mudbricks from Makryghialos, Mochlos and Vasiliki, despite two of the latter being coastal sites. However, in that study there is no attempt to identify the type of organic tempering, but there is a general characterisation of the voids seen in thin section as “indicative of tempering with organic matter”. This means that seagrass cannot be ruled out.

51 Shaw 2006: 199‑229.

52 Aurenche 1981: 70; Kemp 2000: 92; Wright 2005: 93‑94.

53 Emery and Morgenstein 2007; Goodale et al. 2011; Goren et al. 2011.

54 Jolliffe 2002.

55 Hein et al. 2004; Tung 2005; Rumsey and Drohan 2011.

56 Bullock et al. 1985; Quinn 2013; Friesem et al. 2014a.

57 Goodale et al. 2011; Hunt and Speakman 2015.

58 Aghia Varvara deposits are calcareous formations typical of the eastern Mediterranean geological landscape. For more information, see Malpas et al. 1992; Papavassiliou 1987; Papavassiliou 1989; Peterek and Schwarze 2004. This term is unrelated to the Aghia Varvara church and area located east of the Malia archaeological site.

59 For the methodology, see Bullock et al. 1985; Matthews 2010.

60 Friesem et al. 2014a; Friesem et al. 2014b; Hamard et al. 2017.

61 Cammas 2015; Cammas 2018.

62 Friesem et al. 2014b; Cammas 2018.

63 Lorenzon 2017; Lorenzon forthcoming.

64 Friesem et al. 2014b; Cammas 2015: 60‑63; Lorenzon 2017.

65 Lorenzon 2017.

66 Oliver 2008: 98.

67 Lorenzon forthcoming.

68 Pacheco-Torgal and Jalali 2012; Lorenzon 2017: 275.

69 [T]he fermentation produces lactic acids that make the brick stronger and less absorbent, Fathy 1969: 118; Aurenche 1981: 52‑53 (for kneading).

70 Specimens entirely detached from the walls showed an upper, more regular surface, and a lower rougher one, so that even if the bricks were turned during the drying process, they had already dried enough so that their surfaces would not take any other impression.

71 Devolder 2005-2006; Nodarou et al. 2008; Lorenzon 2017.

72 It is worth underlining here that the opposite conclusion was reached regarding the procurement of sandstone blocks used in the Neopalatial Palace. It is suggested that they were extracted by separate work gangs and brought to a common block pool to be used indifferently by the builders, Devolder 2018: 356.

73 This is for example illustrated by sample MA2 which is a statistical outlier in PCA and bivariate analyses (fig. 30 and 32).

74 Devolder 2019c.

75 On the discovery of standing and collapsed mudbrick walls and partitions in the town of Malia, see Demargne and Gallet de Santerre 1953: 46, 47, 48, 50, 52, 76, 77 (Neopalatial Houses ∆α, ∆β, ∆γ, Ζα); Deshayes and Dessenne 1959: 8, 10, 15, 19, 23, 24, 113 (Neopalatial House Ζβ, Protopalatial levels in House E); Bradfer-Burdet and Pomadère 2011: 105, fig. 9.9 (Neopalatial House ∆β); Schmid and Treuil 2017: 137‑139 (Protopalatial Quartier Mu). Note that mudbrick fragments were also found in several levels of the Abords Nord‑Est of the Palace (Darcque et al. 2014: 183).

76 Chapouthier and Joly 1936: 1‑3.

77 Chapouthier and Demargne 1942: 9.

78 Chapouthier and Charbonneaux 1928: 19, 23, 30‑33.

79 On building forms and techniques created over time by the collectivity and giving birth to local architectural traditions, see for example McEnroe 1982: 13‑15; McEnroe 1990: 195; Palyvou 1990: 45‑46; Palyvou 2005: 155‑156.

80 It is however important to beware of an extreme polarisation between skilled and less‑skilled building teams, as ethnoarchaeological studies indicate the co‑presence of both level of craftsmanship, often even within the same building team. This way, semi-skilled or unskilled workers would benefit from the sharing of their knowledge by more experienced builders. See for example Marchand 2009: esp. 143‑165.

81 On the debate regarding the socio-political organisation of Minoan Crete, see for example Evans 1921: 3‑4; Poursat 1995; Poursat 2012: 182; Farnoux 1993; Farnoux 1995; MacGillivray 2000; Driessen 2002: 4‑6; Hamilakis 2002: 182‑184; Treuil et al. 2008: 114, 152; Darcque et al. 2014: 176‑178; Schoep 2002; Schoep 2004; Schoep 2006; Schoep 2010a; Schoep 2010b.

82 Devolder 2018: 362; Devolder 2019a.

83 Hastings and Moseley 1975; Moseley 1975; Cavallaro and Shimada 1988.

84 Schmid and Treuil 2017: 137, fig. 222‑223.

85 These are bricks with crosses incised and in relief in Houses Ab (room 15) and Ac (room 17) in Gournia, and a brick bearing the mark of a double axe in Mikro Vouni on Samothrace (Matsas 1991: 164, fig. 9; Fotou 1993: 33).

86 Hazzidakis 1915: 118‑119, fig. 6.

87 Olivier 1980: 219, no 201.

88 Devolder 2018.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 — Map of Crete, with the indication of the main Minoan sites where substantial mudbrick remains were preserved.
Crédits S. Déderix, with data of the IMS-FORTH.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 545k
Titre Fig. 2 — Plan of the Palace at Malia.
Légende The room numbering system is based on the Areas (upper case Roman numerals), which are clusters of rooms (lower case Arabic numerals). Highlighted in grey, the mudbrick walls; the black dots mark the location of the geoarchaeological samples (MA1 to MA15).
Crédits By E. Andersen (Pelon 1980, plan 28).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 854k
Titre Fig. 3 — South elevation of the north wall of room XI.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 385k
Titre Fig. 4 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 10.
Légende mb for mudbrick; mp for mud plaster.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 452k
Titre Fig. 5 — View of the stone socle topped with a mud mortar levelling layer in Area XI and in the south wall of room IX 2.
Légende a. looking north-east; b. looking south-east.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 728k
Titre Fig. 6 — General view of Area XIII, looking south-east.
Légende Note that the stone socle of the northernmost mudbrick wall is heavily restored, incorporating small limestone and sandstone rubble collected in the area during excavations.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 652k
Titre Fig. 7 — South elevation of the north wall of room V 3.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 240k
Titre Fig. 8 — South elevation of the north wall of room VI 9.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 469k
Titre Fig. 9 — Mudbrick wall between corridor C’ and room IX 1.
Légende mb for mudbrick.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 391k
Titre Fig. 10 — Schematic illustration of bricklaying in the Palace at Malia: header, running and English bond.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 310k
Titre Fig. 11 — Detailed plans of the mudbrick masonry in Protopalatial Area XI.
Légende Mudbrick wall between rooms X 2a and XI 1 (a) and mudbrick wall between rooms XI 5 and XI 6 (b) (mb for mudbrick; st for stones).
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 622k
Titre Fig. 12 — Detailed view of English bond in the north wall of Prepalatial room I 1.
Légende Looking north-west.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 779k
Titre Fig. 13 — Views of the western walls of rooms IV 9 (restored) (a) and V 3 (b), showing wooden imprints left by decomposed vertical supports.
Légende a. looking south-west; b. looking west.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 771k
Titre Fig. 14 — Plan of room I 1 indicating the position of the mudbrick walls (in grey), redrawn and implemented based on plan 16.
Crédits By E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 (M. Devolder).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 513k
Titre Fig. 15 — Southern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) with the stone base visible.
Crédits Pelon 1980: pl. 160.4.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 651k
Titre Fig. 16 — Vertical orthophotograph of the eastern mudbrick wall of room I 1 (the ‘casemate’) in I 2.
Légende Looking west.
Crédits G. Cantoro.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 828k
Titre Fig. 17 — Mudbrick walls in the Protopalatial Eastern Magazines (Area XI).
Légende General view (a. looking south-west) and detailed views of the masonry in rooms XI 1 (b. looking north-east) and XI 6 (c-d. looking north and north-west).
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 875k
Titre Fig. 18 — Plan of the mudbrick walls in Area XI (Eastern Magazines).
Légende Preserved to the top of the stone socle (in light grey) or with courses of mudbrick showing (in dark grey).
Crédits Redrawn and implemented based on plan 9 by E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 (M. Devolder).
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 842k
Titre Fig. 19 — Plan of Areas II, IV, V and VI.
Légende In light grey, the conserved parts of the walls, in dark grey, the parts where mudbrick remains are still visible.
Crédits Redrawn and implemented based on plan 25 drawn by E. Andersen in Pelon 1980 M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 642k
Titre Fig. 20 — General view of mudbrick walls in rooms of Areas II and VI.
Légende Looking north-west.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 709k
Titre Fig. 21 — View of construction details in mudbrick walls in Areas II and VI.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 931k
Titre Fig. 22 — Mudbrick walls north (a) and south (b) of room VII 3.
Légende a. looking south-west; b. looking north-west.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 582k
Titre Fig. 23 — The mudbrick walls of rooms IX 1-2.
Légende General view (a. looking north-east) and detailed view of the filled window or niche in the eastern part of the heavily restored south wall of room IX 2 (b. looking north).
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 560k
Titre Fig. 24 — Mudbrick walls in Area XIII.
Légende East wall of room XIII 1 (a. looking east), south and east walls of room XIII 3 (b. looking south-east), north wall of room XIII 3 (c. looking north-west), and west wall of room XIII a (d. looking west).
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 849k
Titre Fig. 25 — Mudbrick partition walls in corridor C 1-C 2 (a), room V 3 (b) and to the west (c) and east (d) of the North Portico of the Central Court.
Légende a. looking north; b. looking west; c. looking west; d. looking north-east.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 707k
Titre Fig. 26 — Detailed views of mudbricks in the Palace at Malia, in fine macro-fabric incorporating large quantities of seagrasses (a) and coarse macro-fabrics including fragments of bone (b), ceramic (c), obsidian (d) and lime plaster (e).
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 779k
Titre Fig. 27 — Views of mudbricks and joints filled with mud mortar in the north-east (a) and north (b) walls of room V 3
Légende a. looking west; b. looking north.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 606k
Titre Fig. 28 — View of mud plasters on the north (a) and south (b) faces of the partition wall in C 1-C 2.
Légende Note the incorporation of vegetal temper in both, though it is more finely chopped in the south face.
Crédits M. Devolder.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 502k
Titre Fig. 29 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) considering sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 384k
Titre Fig. 30 — Results of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on sept variables (Zn, Zr, Ti, Rb, Sr, Fe, Mn) for the 15 mudbricks samples collected in the Palace of Malia discriminated by areas.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 285k
Titre Fig. 31 — Geological map of the Malia plain highlighting the main sediment deposits within the surroundings of the Palace.
Crédits After Papavassiliou 1987; Papavassiliou 1989 (M. Lorenzon)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 713k
Titre Fig. 32 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Mn scatterplot.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 390k
Titre Fig. 33 — Bivariate analysis, Fe vs. Sr scatterplot.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-33.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 403k
Titre Fig. 34 — XRD spectra of samples MA1 (Prepalatial), MA2, MA7 and MA14 (Neopalatial) of the Malia Palace.
Légende The minerals recognised are illite/muscovite (I/M), plagioclase (P), hematite and iron oxides (H), quartz (Q), calcite (C), dolomite (D), and K-feldspar (F).
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-34.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 412k
Titre Fig. 35 — Petrographic fabric, Malia Palace.
Légende Sample from left to right, top to bottom: MA14, MA8, MA11, and MA15. G = grog, Q = quartz, F = iron-oxide nodule, V = void and L = lime lumps from lime plaster fragments.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-35.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 850k
Titre Fig. 36 — Calcarenite-micritic fabric, Malia Palace (XPL). Sample MA5.
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-36.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 565k
Titre Fig. 37 — Thin sections evidencing the specifics of manufacturing practices (PPL).
Légende The voids’ shape indicates different types of vegetal temper: chaff (a) and seagrass (b), while crude semi-circular arrangement of the sub-rounded clasts associated with a silty-clayish groundmass provides evidence of pugging during manufacturing (c). Water-lain sediments formed by the stagnation within the bricks of the water contained in the seagrasses are also visible (c and d).
Crédits M. Lorenzon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-37.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 813k
Titre Fig. 38 — Schematic plan of the Palace at Malia indicating the walls in fine (pink) and coarse (red) macro-fabrics.
Légende The room numbering system is based on the Areas (upper case Roman numerals), which are clusters of rooms (lower case Arabic numerals).
Crédits M. Devolder, modified from the plans of E. Andersen in Pelon 1980, plan 28, and M. Schmid and N. Rigopoulos in Pelon 2002, pl. XXXII.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-38.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 667k
Titre Fig. 39 — Mudbrick bearing an eight-branch star in relief, found by Hazzidakis in the Palace at Malia in 1915.
Crédits Hazzidakis 1915: fig. 6.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/bch/docannexe/image/718/img-39.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 670k
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Maud Devolder et Marta Lorenzon, « Minoan Master Builders? »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, 143.1 | 2019, 63-123.

Référence électronique

Maud Devolder et Marta Lorenzon, « Minoan Master Builders? »Bulletin de correspondance hellénique [En ligne], 143.1 | 2019, mis en ligne le 01 août 2020, consulté le 24 janvier 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/bch/718 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/bch.718

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Auteurs

Maud Devolder

Associate Postdoctoral Researcher of the Research Group AEGIS (UCLouvain, INCAL/CEMA) and a former Belgian Member of the French School at Athens (EFA).

Articles du même auteur

Marta Lorenzon

Postdoctoral Researcher of the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (University of Helsinki) and an Associate Fellow of the Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science (ASCSA).

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Bulletin de correspondance hellénique

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