The House of Kadmos project (Thebes, Greece)
Dr. Anastasia Dakouri-Hild
Under the auspices of the 9th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Dr. V. Aravantinos
Dr. M. Morgenstein (Geosciences Management International) & Dr. M. Johnson (University of Cape Town), petrographic and chemical analyses of pottery
Dr. K. Nikita (University of Nottingham), glass analyses
Ms. E. Tsota (Greek Archaeological Service) & Ms. C. Sulosky (University of Virginia), faunal material
Dr. T. J. Smith (University of Virginia), Iron Age pottery
Ms. L. Stylianopoulos (University of Virginia), Medieval and Ottoman pottery
Left: GIS map composite of the citadel of Thebes (after Dakouri-Hild, Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean, 2010)
Right: CAD drawing of the House of Kadmos site (after Dakouri-Hild, Annual of the British School of Archaeology, 2001)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The siteBetween 1906 and 1929, a massive building was excavated on the celebrated citadel of Thebes. The original excavator, Antonios D. Keramopoullos, interpreted the surviving portions of the building as the ruins of what was alleged to be, in Pausanias' time, the palace of Kadmos (Cadmus), the legendary founder of Thebes and brother of Europa. The building had been in use during the 14th c. BCE and appears to have been destroyed by a violent fire in the transition to the 13th c. The architecture, featuring an impressive footprint and distinctively palatial features, such as ashlar (hewn) masonry and pictorial lifesize processional frescoes, remains prominent today at the center of the contemporary city of Thebes. Other notable finds include various types of unfinished, incomplete and failed artifacts, mostly made of banded agate; gold jewelry in a hoarding context; and the largest cache of transport stirrup-jars (large amphora-like vessels for the long-distance transportation of liquid goods, many of which have been found to be Cretan imports and are inscribed with Linear B script). Such finds demonstrated the importance of the site already in the early 20th century, while ongoing archaeological work at Thebes as a whole has further substantiated the notion that the citadel accommodated an extensive palatial complex and a wide array of functions tied to the administration of the East Boeotian state. Thebes is evidenced to have been a top-rank center in the political and economic landscape of Mycenaean Greece, equivalent to Mycenae, Tiryns and Pylos. Despite its significance, the archaeological assemblage from the House of Kadmos received publication only in the form of preliminary reports until the late 1990s, with the exception of the procession fresco (Reusch 1954) and the stirrup-jars (Raison 1968, Sacconi 1974).
The majority of finds date to the Late Bronze Age, but habitation at the site is also attested for the Early and Middle Bronze Age, as well as the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Frankish and Ottoman periods.
Select Theban bibliography
Andrikou, E. 1999. "The
pottery from the destruction layer of the Linear B archive in Pelopidou street,
Thebes", appendix in Aravantinos 1999: 45–102.
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Catling, H. & Millett, A. 1965. "A study of the inscribed stirrup-jars from Thebes", Archaeometry 8: 3-85.
Catling, H. & Jones, R. 1977. "A re-investigation of the provenance of the inscribed stirrup-jars found at Thebes", Archaeometry 19: 137-46.
Catling, H., Cherry, J., Jones, R. & Killen, J. 1980. "The Linear B inscribed stirrup-jars and West Crete", BSA 75: 51-113.
Dakouri-Hild 1998. The 'House of Kadmos' at Mycenaean Thebes, Greece: a preliminary re-examination of the architecture, M.A. dissertation, University of Durham.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2001a. "The House of Kadmos in Mycenaean Thebes reconsidered: architecture, chronology and context", BSA 96: 80-108.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2001b. “Plotting fragments: a preliminary assessment of the Middle Helladic settlement in Boeotian Thebes”. In K. Branigan (ed.), Urbanism in the Aegean Bronze Age, Sheffield UP: Sheffield: 103-118.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2002. “A fragmented landscape and the Digital Thebes project”, Boeotika Analekta 2002: 110-14.
Dakouri-Hild A. et al. 2003. “A Geographic Information System (GIS) in Boeotian Thebes: taking measures for heritage management, archaeological research and public outreach". In R. Laffineur & K. Foster (eds.), Metron: Measuring the Aegean Bronze Age, PASP: Liège: 49-56.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2005. “Breaking the mould? Production and economy in the Theban state”, in Dakouri-Hild & Sherratt 2005 (eds.), Autochthon, Oxford: 207-224.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2006. “Something old, something new: current research on the ‘Old Kadmeion’ of Thebes”, BICS 48: 173-186.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2010a. “Thebes”. In E. H. Cline (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean, OUP: Oxford: 690-711.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2010b. “Boeotia”. In E. H. Cline (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean, OUP: Oxford: 614-630.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2011a. “Thebes”. In M. Finkelberg (ed.). The Homer Encyclopedia, Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.
Dakouri-Hild, A. 2011b. “Hypothebes”. In M. Finkelberg (ed.). The Homer Encyclopedia, Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.
Dakouri-Hild A., in press a. “Theban workshops and the construction of prestige”, in V. Aravantinos & E. Kountouri in press (eds.), A century of archaeological work at Thebes (1900–2000), Athens.
Dakouri-Hild A., in press b. “Craft and sensory play in Late Bronze Age Boeotia”. In J. Day (ed.), Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology, Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Paper no. 40, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University: Carbondale, IL (expected 2012).
Dakouri-Hild A., in press c. “Making a difference: production and consumption of prestige artifacts in Late Bronze Age Boeotia”. In M. L. Nosch & R. Laffineur (eds.), Jewellery, Adornment and Textiles in the Aegean Bronze Age, PASP: Liège.
Day, P. & Haskell, H. 1995. "Transport stirrup-jars from Thebes as evidence of trade in Late Bronze Age Greece", in Gillis, C., Risberg, C. & Sjoberg, B. (eds.), Trade and production in premonetary Greece, Jonsered: 87-107.
Demakopoulou, K. 1990. "Palatial and domestic architecture in Mycenaean Thebes", in Darcque, P. & Treuil, R. (eds.), L'habitat égéen préhistorique, Athens: 309-17.
Edwards, R. 1979. Kadmos, the Phoenician: a study in Greek legends and the Mycenaean age, Hackert: Amsterdam.
Immerwahr, S. 1990. Aegean painting in the Bronze Age, London.
Keramopoullos, A. 1909. "Η oικία του Κάδμου", Αrchaiologike Εphemeris 1909: 57–122.
Keramopoullos, A. 1917. Θηβαϊκά: Ανασκαφαί εν Θήβαις, Vol. 1, Archaiologikon Deltion 3, Archaeological Society at Athens: Athens.
Keramopoullos, A. 1930. "Αι βιομηχανίαι και το εμπόριον του Κάδμου", Αrchaiologike Εphemeris 1930: 29–58.
Konsola, D. 1981. Promykenaike Theva: Chorotaxike kai oikistike diarthrose, Athens.
Nikita, K. & Henderson, J. 2006. “Glass analyses from Mycenaean Thebes and Elateia: compositional evidence for a Mycenaean glass industry”, Journal of Glass Studies 48: 71-120.
McArthur, J. & McArthur, J. 1974. "The Theban stirrup-jars and East Crete: further considerations", Minos 15: 68-80.
McArthur, J. 1978. "Inconsistencies in the compositions and provenance studies of the inscribed jars found at Thebes", Archaeometry 20: 177-82.
Melena, J.L. & Olivier, J.–P. 2003. Tithemy. The Tablets and Nodules in Linear B from Tiryns, Thebes and Mycenae. A Revised Transliteration (2nd edition, with the addition of Midea), Minos Supplement 18, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca: Salamanca.
Porada, E. 1981. "The cylinder seals found at Thebes in Boiotia, with contributions on the inscriptions from Hans G. Güterbock and John A. Brinkman", Archiv für Orientforschung 28/1: 1–78.
Raison, J. 1968. Les vases à inscriptions peintes de l'âge mycénien et leur contexte archéologique, Rome.
Reusch, H. 1954. Die zeichnerische Rekonstruktion des Frauenfrieses im bootischen Theben, Berlin.
Spyropoulos, Th. & Chadwick, J. 1975. Thebes Tablets II, Minos Supplement 4, Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca: Salamanca
Symeonoglou, S. 1973. Kadmeia I: Mycenaean finds from Thebes, Greece: excavation at 14 Oedipus st., Goteborg.
Symeonoglou, S. 1985. The topography of Thebes from the Bronze Age to modern times, Princeton.
Updated Feb 14, 2011