Τμήμα του αρχαιολογικού χώρου της Κολώνας Αίγινας.
Φωτο: Γ. Λεκάκης.

Ο Σαρωνικός κόλπος, με τους πολλούς παράκτιους και νησιώτικους οικισμούς, αποτελεί παράδειγμα ενός ιδανικού θαλάσσιου μικρόκοσμου, επειδή είναι καλώς οριοθετημένος από τις στεριές της Αργολίδος, της Κορινθίας και της Αττικής. Η ναυσπλοΐα στα σχετικά ήρεμα νερά του Κόλπου θεωρείται εύκολη και το υψηλό επίπεδο διαφάνειας, ιδιαίτερα στην Αίγινα, προωθεί εντατικές αλληλεπιδράσεις σε κοινωνικά και οικονομικά δίκτυα τοπικής κλίμακος. Ο μικρός αυτός ναυτικός κόσμος διαχρονικά έχει δύο πλεονεκτικά σημεία: Το κέντρο της Εποχής του Χαλκού στην Κολώνα στην Αίγινα και την Εποχή του Χαλκού στον Κόρφο-Καλαμιάνο, στην δυτική ακτή του Σαρωνικού.
Η Κολόνα κυριάρχησε σε αυτόν τον μικρόκοσμο για μια χιλιετία! Μέχρις ότου η πολιτική επέκταση των Μυκηνών συμπεριέλαβε τον Κόλπο στην δική του σφαίρα επιρροής.
Πολλά άλλα παραδείγματα, όπως ο βόρειος Ευβοϊκός κόλπος και ο Παγασητικός κόλπος του Βόλου, μπορούν να αναλυθούν ως ναυτικοί μικρόκοσμοι της Εποχής του Χαλκού με τον ίδιο τρόπο…

In more than twenty years of coastal archaeology in Greece, I have been increasingly troubled by a disconnect between the selective focus lavished on relatively infrequent long-distance maritime contacts, and the virtual absence of sophisticated treatment of local- and regional-scale maritime networks, which I view as much more representative of the true fabric of Mycenaean maritime life. Most coastal dwellers would not have ventured more than tens of kilometres out to sea in their lifetimes, and these trips involved subsistence practices or short trips to nearby coasts and islands for trading or social visits. Yet these were vibrant worlds buzzing with activity and connectivity.
I advocate a shift in focus to these worlds of the everyday rather than the exceptional, and I offer a conceptual and methodological template to recover them. The conceptual component is a multi-scalar framework that reveals how connectivity forms and joins networks from local to international, yet also how networks at different scales are different in nature. From local to interregional, the scales are the coastscape, the maritime small world, the regional or intra-cultural maritime sphere, and the interregional or inter-cultural maritime sphere. They are nested geographically and thus possess a scalar hierarchy, but no political or other power hierarchy is necessarily implied among the participants. My analysis centres on the coastscape and the maritime small world. The coastscape is the coastal zone defined by habitation, interaction, practice, and perception. It includes the shoreline and the adjacent coastal lowland, the connective routes and openings into the interior, the inshore waters utilized on a daily basis for economic and social purposes, and the visual seascape, the everyday field of view that defines the cognitive horizon in the seaward direction. Maritime small worlds are micro-regional interaction spheres that form as aggregates of many neighbouring coastscapes. They are constituted by habitual face-to-face interaction and cohesion based on shared origin, cultural traditions, language, economic ties, social networks, etc. The relationships among these communities may be hierarchical, orbiting around a powerful polity, but will often be non-hierarchical or heterarchical. Proximity, intervisibility, and ease of travel enhance the cohesion of small worlds.
I also outline a systematic field methodology to recapture ancient coastal landscapes, drawn from regional archaeological approaches, geology and geomorphology, geophysics, and underwater archaeological and geological techniques. These time-honoured field methods have not been applied systematically to this problem.
The Saronic Gulf, with many coastal and island settlements, exemplifies an ideal maritime small world because it is well bounded by the land masses of the Argolid, Corinthia, and Attica. Voyaging on the relatively calm Gulf waters is considered easy, and a high level of intervisibility, especially to Aigina, promotes intensive interactions in local-scale social and economic networks. I examine this maritime small world diachronically from two vantage points: from the Bronze Age centre at Kolonna on Aigina, and from a smaller, peripheral Bronze Age coastscape at Korphos-Kalamianos on the Saronic’s western shore. Kolonna dominated this small world for a millennium, until the political expansion of Mycenae incorporated the Gulf into its own sphere of influence. Yet Kolonna’s focus was drawn into and out of the Saronic as a result of dynamics unfolding beyond the Gulf itself. With this case study, I hope to show how a small world oscillates between cohesion and fragmentation over time and how small worlds are enmeshed in, and respond to, larger networks and historical processes unfolding at larger geographic scales. Recent applications of social network theory, along with archival documents and oral histories, are powerful means of guiding models of connectivity. Many other examples, such as the northern Euboean Gulf and the Bay of Volos, can be analysed as Bronze Age maritime small worlds in much the same way.

134 BICS-57-1 - 2014
© 2014 Institute of Classical Studies University of London / Ινστιτούτο Κλασσικών Σπουδών Πανεπιστήμιο του Λονδίνου

(*) Βλ. T. F. Tartaron, Maritime networks in the Mycenaean world / Ναυτιλιακά δίκτυα στον μυκηναϊκό κόσμο (Cambridge 2013).

ΛΕΞΕΙΣ-ΚΛΕΙΔΙΑ: Σαρωνικος κολπος, Αργοσαρωνικος Αργολιδα, Κορινθια, Αττικη, ναυσπλοια, Αιγινα, Κολωνα, Αιγινας, Κόρφος, Καλαμιανος, νομος Κορινθιας, Μυκηνων,  Μυκηνες, Ευβοικός, Ευβοια, Βοιωτια, Παγασητικος, Βολος, Αργολις, Κορινθος, Αιγινης

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