Egyptian Gold in Prepalatial Crete?  A Consideration of the Evidence

Abstract

This study analyzes the evidence for the origin of gold found in secure prepalatial contexts in Crete. As there are no natural gold sources on Crete, extra-island interaction was required to procure this raw material. Information regarding the origin of prepalatial gold may, therefore, throw light on Crete’s interactions during this formative period. Unfortunately, there are many difficulties in sourcing ancient gold, which make it impossible to know with certainty where the gold used in the production of prepalatial objects originated. However, careful analysis of the contexts of prepalatial gold objects, which demonstrates the frequent co-occurrence of gold with hippopotamus ivory, and the distribution of gold products and gold working technologies in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, provide intriguing evidence to make a strong case for Egypt as a principal source of gold arriving in Crete during the prepalatial period, likely via the port city of Byblos on the Levantine coast.

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Colburn, C., (2011) “Egyptian Gold in Prepalatial Crete? A Consideration of the Evidence”, Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 3(3), p.1-13. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/azu_jaei_v03i3_colburn

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Cynthia Colburn (Pepperdine University)

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