By Philip Duke
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Additional resources for The Tourists Gaze, The Cretans Glance: ARCHAEOLOGY AND TOURISM ON A GREEK ISLAND
Surplus agricultural and other products, especially oil, wheat, barley, figs, and olives, were exchanged between the different palaces (Renfrew 1972:296–297) and presumably between the different communities on the island. Renfrew (1972:297) envisaged the palaces as redistributive centers of subsistence commodities controlled by a social hierarchy, rather reminiscent of the agricultural cooperatives found today on the island (Renfrew 1972:307). Indeed, for Renfrew centralized control of redistribution is the key to understanding the rise of Aegean civilization.
No traces of city walls remain at these towns, with the exception of Petras (Dickinson 1994:65). The remains at these towns, as well as numerous frescoes and the so-called Town Mosaic from Knossos, indicate that the houses were several stories in height, with flat facades, and made of a variety of materials. Smaller villages and hamlets have been identified in both the Old and New Palace periods (Rackham and Moody 1996:89). Some towns performed specialized functions such as serving a harbor. Crete’s coastline is relatively deficient in natural harbors, although ships could be dragged onto beaches if necessary.
However, as excavations at more and more sites have shown their own palatial features, and the adequacy of excavation data is questioned (cf. Hamilakis 2002c:185), the model may prove to have been offered prematurely. McGillivray (1997) has argued for attempts by Knossos to exert a local hegemony as early as the Old Palace period. While Knossos may have controlled the central portion of the island by the New Palace period, elsewhere local elite groups independently ran their own territories (Driessen and Macdonald 1997; Driessen 2003).