In the 2nd mill. BCE, Mainland Greece, Western Anatolia and the islands of Crete, Cyprus and the Cyclades witness a growing architectural elaboration. Impressive ‘palatial’ monuments are built, which are often interpreted as the seat of rulers exerting centralised control over the population. The surmised political power necessary for the mobilisation and management of the human and material resources invested in monumental construction is taken as further evidence for the leading function of these edifices, and for the position of their commissioners at the top of hierarchical socio-political systems.
Taking into consideration the ability for human groups with no centralised leadership to efficiently manage and control resources, DAEDALOS questions the preconceived conflation of monumental architecture and centralised hierarchical power. To assess this, the project will analyse integration and segmentation patterns in 2nd mill. BCE monumental building projects of the Aegean and Cyprus, and investigate the organisational centralisation of the societies that managed the labour and material resources invested in construction. Based on the processing of architectural data from monuments distributed over 35 sites and their examination through new, specially devised analytical parameters, DAEDALOS will explore the possibility for grassroots, bottom-up building processes and their impact on architectural creation.
By doing so, the project aims to trigger a paradigm shift in the ways we approach and interpret monumental architecture while producing nuanced and compelling definitions of Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age socio-political systems. Beside its broader scientific relevance, DAEDALOS will also help deconstruct a predominant though unproven popular perception of material culture that great cultural achievements exclusively result from the exertion of power.