This book explores the cost, expressed in labor, of constructing fortifications during the Late Bronze Age in Greece (ca. 1600 – 1050 BCE). The underlying question for this study is whether the cost of large scale constructions, built with large, unwieldy blocks, may have overstretched the (economic) capabilities of communities, leading to their collapse.
In order to determine the labor costs, the building process is deconstructed and for each sub-process, the costs are determined. The costs for these sub-processes are based on the amount of material that is required and the speed with which the tasks associated with these processes can be performed. However, a simplistic number expressing the labor (in person-hours, for example), gives limited insight into the impact such building projects may have had on the communities. Hence, elaborate comparisons are made to put these labor costs into context. This involves, for instance, comparisons between different fortifications, different building styles, as well as between types of structures. It is in these comparisons where the true strength of labor cost studies lie.
This study on its own cannot definitively answer the question whether these construction projects led to the downfall of the Mycenaean communities. However, based purely on the results of the labor cost analyses, it is shown that, despite the impressive nature of the walls, both due to their size as well as due to the size of the stones used, communities seem to have been able to cope with the stress it may have put on their economies. This study, therefore, provides insights into building processes, the impact of material and building styles on construction costs as well as the large varieties that exist within a context collectively known as ‘Mycenaean’.
English Summary Nederlandse samenvatting Acknowledgments List of figures List of tables Glossary
1 Introduction 2 Late Bronze Age Greece 3 The fortifications of Mycenaean Greece 4 The case studies 5 Methodology 6 The data: measurements of blocks, fortifications and houses 7 Labour costs of fortifications and domestic structures 8 Interpreting the results of a labour cost study 9 Conclusions
Bibliography Curriculum Vitae
Appendices Appendix 1 Overview of the calculated volumes of material for domestic structures Appendix 2 Overview of the calculations of the volume of the blocks according to the scenarios used Appendix 3 Overview of the quarrying calculations Appendix 4 Overview of the transport calculations Appendix 5 Overview of the assembly calculations Appendix 6 Overview of the calculations of the total costs
Yannick Boswinkel (Schiedam 1987) started his archaeological education in 2009 at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. After successful completion of the Bachelor focused on Classical Archaeology and Digital Archaeology and a thesis dealing with a Late Roman structure on the site of Koroneia, Greece, he participated in the ‘Recycling a Valley’ project in Jordan of the National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden. He subsequently completed the two-year research master ‘Town and Country in the Mediterranean and the Near East’, cum laude in 2015, also at Leiden. For the thesis produced during this time he focused once more on Koroneia, but this time included all the architectural remains documented at the site.
Between 2012 and 2016 Yannick was involved in the ‘Ancient Cities of Boeotia’ project, led by Prof. dr. John Bintliff. Within this project he was involved in the survey and subsequent study of the architectural remains at three archaeological sites: Koroneia, Hyettos and Haliartos, all in Boeotia, Greece. Yannick is co-author of the chapter on architecture for the upcoming book on Hyettos.
In 2016 he started his PhD project in the SETinSTONE project, led by Prof. dr. Ann Brysbaert at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. The study into the investment required for large scale fortifications in Mycenaean Greece, was finished in four years. Within the same period, Yannick was also head of the Faculty Council at the same institute for two years (2017-2019) and an editor for the journal INTER-SECTION for three years (2016-2019).
After finishing his PhD, Yannick gained a position as a project manager with an engineering firm, Econsultancy.
“This monograph also provides the means for researchers to assess more precisely the time and workforce required for the construction of fortifications beyond the confines of the Late Bronze Age Greek mainland, especially in that it develops a more refined methodology for estimating the volumes of the building components in a wall, thus forming an important stepping stone in the field of architectural energetics.”
~American Journal Of Archaeology
"...a critical contribution to the study of Mycenaean architecture, Cyclopean fortifications, and related building costs."
~Bryn Mawr Classical Review
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