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Title: Fluid metaphors : exploring the management, meaning and perception of fresh water in Minoan Crete
Author: Houseman, Laura Alexandra
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 713X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the role of fresh water in Bronze Age Crete. It presents a catalogue of Minoan water management systems, and investigates the ways in which these systems were incorporated into broader social, political, economic, religious and cultural processes and practices. While the primary focus of this thesis revolves around the data collected on water management systems, it also explores the place of fresh water in Minoan art, iconography, and ritual action. While water is a fundamental resource, and the provision of fresh water on Crete is affected by special geological, geographic, and climatological issues, this has been a largely neglected area in the literature on Minoan archaeology. The thesis seeks to redress this neglect, and argues that the evidence reveals a culture that was deeply concerned with fresh water, developing technologically sophisticated solutions, and devoting considerable economic resources, and political and religious attention to it. One of the key claims of this thesis is that fresh water was a meaningful and valued commodity in Bronze Age Crete, and certain sources of water were particularly revered. This status was exploited by elite groups, who invested in often monumental and highly visible systems for collecting and storing fresh water, in order to assert and reaffirm their special status. Fresh water was also incorporated into ritual practice, and – through its innate capacity to act as a conduit for complex meanings and metaphors – participated in the construction of Minoan religious and cultural beliefs. This thesis also draws out the ways in which water’s religious meaningfulness was incorporated into elite strategies of social control and the construction of an ideology of difference.
Supervisor: Richards, Colin; Berg, Ina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Minoan Crete ; Water management systems ; Religion ; Ritual ; Elite ; Politics