Pastoral structures: the encounter of Early Iron Age Archaeology with Ethnography in Mainland Greece
- Gounaris Alexander
Regarding the objectives of my study, I attempt to answer two questions:
-Which is the contribution of the ethnographical studies carried out on pastoral structures of the 20th century in Mainland Greece for the solution of problems concerning the interpretation and reconstruction of forms and houses in the Protogeometric and Geometric periods?
-What is the contribution of archaeologists, who have brought forward observations of ethnographical content on the 20th century pastoral structures, for the solution of similar problems?
My research is based on two well-established methodological tools: comparison and analogy. In addition, for purposes concerning this paper, I have used a third, rather controversial method, the use of examples.
In order to formulate clearly the objectives of my study, to determine the material, the field of research and the method I have chosen, I put forward two evident examples, one from the field of ethnography and the other from the field of archaeology. I present closely and parallel the pastoral residence of Antonis Koutras at the site of Loupaki on mountain Oiti, as it is handed over by Angeliki Hatzimichalis, and the curved-shaped structures inside a peribolos of the Late Geometric Period at Skala Oropos. These are followed by examples of structures, suitable to the purposes of this research, obtained from ethnographical and archaeological studies.
The question is whether the research on Early Iron Age Architecture encounters the ethnographical aspects of the 20th century pastoral residence. I present here some selected conclusions:
-In the positive conclusions of researchers studying the ethnography of residence in the 20th century, I classify the variety of types of houses that they have examined in all levels (location of residence, function, form, materials and techniques used in construction) and, of course, the fact that they have managed to portray their evolution. Nevertheless, this research has also a negative impact, particularly when it attempts to prove the idea that residence has a continuity, not only from the Early Iron Age, but even from the Neolithic period onwards, thus serving the ideological and political pursuits of the new Balcan states.
-Additionally, in the field of Archaeology, the application of ethnographical analogies by archaeologists is not always directed in the use of parallels from the same region. There is, however, a positive factor in the archaeological approaches of current ethnographical material from architecture: they bring into notice the need to carry out systematic research on architectural material of “Living Ethnography” in the light of Archaeology. This refers, of course, to the work of Ethnoarchaeology, which studies small “traditional” communities that exist today in Mainland Greece, to the extent that these remain (?) active even up to our days.
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