Minoan Food Collection Case Study

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Food Collection and Redistribution in Minoan Palaces The redistributive functions of palaces are relatively unknown. Archaeological evidence from the palaces (i.e. storage magazines, seal stones, etc.) supports the idea of large-scale collection and distribution of agricultural goods. It even gives good evidence for how these goods were collected, organized, and identified. But the purpose of these redistributive functions is not quite as clear. Many theories have been proposed to explain the purpose of redistribution in the palaces, from a government-mandated system to the sheer generosity of neighbors, but there isn’t one that stands ahead of the others. Different social aspects of Minoan society make it hard for some aspects of these theories …show more content…
But this might not be the case. It seems that Minoan states didn’t really have a hierarchical society with one ruler. They instead had large-scale groups of citizens who had communal roles and organized different things. They employed “group-oriented, “corporate” strategies of political rule” which “emphasize and encourage group cohesion, deploy ideologies that value knowledge and ritual, and are financed through the production and redistribution of staple goods” (Younger and Pehak, 241). This means there wasn’t just one person in charge of organizing the collection and redistribution of all these goods; it was more of a collective effort. The people of Minoan states would all work together to keep their society running. This would change how some of the models of redistribution would have functioned. Now, instead of one leader requiring his or her subjects contribute food to be collected, it was more of a community effort. This perhaps meant that people would have been more willing to participate in a collection and redistributive system. In a society that was very much community oriented, it would make sense that people would voluntarily donate. There is also now one more option for why food collection was so important. It is possible that food wasn’t collected for redistribution; it could have been collected for the purpose of communal …show more content…
As came into the palace to be stored, string was tied around the vessels they were in, lumps of clay were pressed on the knot in the string, and the clay was impressed with a seal, which authenticated the transaction (Younger and Pehak, 173). The seal stones used to mark the clay were most likely representative of individuals or of kinship groups, each with their own design. That way, it would be easy to identify who had already turned in their fair share of the goods. Seals were quite ubiquitous too. Sixty five hundred seals were found at Phaistos (Younger and Pehak, 350). At the palace at Phaistos, over 327 different seals were used, suggesting that storeroom management was on a level similar to that in the Near East (Cline 2012, 321). Storage and redistribution on this large of a scale would have been very complex and would have required an extensive record keeping system in order to keep everything straight. This would have been done with administrative texts written in Linear A or Cretan Hieroglyphics that contain lists of people and goods (Younger and Pehak, 344). These types of lists would have been used to keep track of all the people who brought goods to the palace for collection and what they brought. These documents would have worked with the seals to keep track of

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