Pick up any book on early Greek history or archaeology, and you will read about Bronze Age people called Minoans and Mycenaeans. Who were the Minoans, and who were the Mycenaeans? It’s become increasingly clear that these questions aren’t as easy to answer as we might think. These classifications aren’t simply empirical ‘facts’ about the world; rather, they are theoretical constructions that may also be products of an outdated way of thinking about human societies. In this lecture I focus on the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean to illustrate the problems with certain kinds of archaeological abstractions, and I suggest new ways of thinking about Late Bronze Age communities and their history.
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