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Niemeier Minoan Frescoes in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1998

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1. The Emer gence of the P roblem : The Alalakh Alalakh Frescoes (1939 (1939 - 1987 1987))

The question of connections in fresco painting between Crete and the Near East first arose in 1939, when Sir L.R. Woolley, in a brief preliminary report about his excavations at Telll Atchana Tel Atchana (later (later to be identified as th e ancient city Alal Alalakh), akh), ann ann ounced the finds of mu ra l 1 decorations possessing Cretan affinities. They came from a house of the Late Bronze Age level IV as well as from an even older context, the palace of Stratum VII, which was contem po porr ar y with the th e First First Dynasty of Baby Babylon, lon, accord accord ing to Woolley Woolley.. In her inf luential book, the 50th anniversary of which is celebrated in this conference, H.J. Kantor recognized the possible importance of these finds but wisely did not speculate further on this matter, commenting only: “Definitive substantiation of these far-reaching claims awaits the full pub li licati cation on of th e evidence.”2 Woolley published the fresco fragments from Alalakh in 1955, 3 stating th at tho se from from the palace of level VII, named by him ‘Yarim-Lim’s Palace’ show “striking resemblances ... to the Minoan frescoes.”4 Unfortunately, the Alalakh frescoes were very fragmentary and their style was hard to distinguish on the published black and white photographs, 5 with one exception: the creamy white reeds on red ground on a group of fragments fallen from the so-called grand salon of the  pian  pianoo nob nobile ile above magazines 11-13 6 were indeed painted “unmistakably in the spirit of Cretan art” as stated by Woolley.7 They appear to sway in the wind, a characteristic feature of Minoan art.8 Woolley’s main argument for a connection between the Alalakh Alalakh mu ra ls and t hose of Minoan Minoan Crete was that t hey both had b een executed in true  fre technique (w (with ith add itions in  fresc scoo secco painting).9 Elsewhere Woolley concluded that “there can be no n o dou bt bu t th at Crete owes th thee best of its ... fresc frescoes, oes, to the Asiatic Asiatic mainland ;”

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Ackno cknow wle ledgments dgments:: We gratef gratefull ullyy commemorate our partner at Tel Tel Ka Kabri bri and and friend, friend, Aharon Aharon Kempins Kempinski ki,, whose untimely passing away on 2nd July 1994 is a great bereavement. We would like to thank A. Drori and the staff of the Israeli Auth Auth ority of Antiquities for for t he p erm it to take the wall-painting wall-painting fragment s from th e palace at Tel Kabri for two years with us to Heidelberg for study and restoring, the Visitors of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for the permit to publish here new photographs of the Alalakh fresco fragments, P.R.S. Moorey and M. Vickers for their help in the Ashmolean, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for for f inancial suppor t of th e tr av avel el of W.W.-D. D. Niemeier to th e conferen ce. strated ated London Lon don N ews, Dec. 2 (1939) 833. L.R. WO O LLEY,  Illu str K A N T O R, 1 0 2 .  Alalakh: kh: An Account Account of the Excavation Excavation s at Tell Atchana Atchana in i n the Hatay, 1937 19 37 - 194 9 (1955) 228-34, L.R. WO O LLEY, Alala pls. 26 b - 29 c.  Ibid . 228. Cf.. the dis Cf discus cusssion of the Alala Alalakh kh fres fresco co fragments fragments bas based ed on the publis published hed blac blackk and and whit whitee photographs photographs by W.--D. NIEMEIER, W. NIEMEIER, “Minoan “Minoan Artisans Travelling Travelling O versea s: th e Alalakh Frescoes an d t he Pa inted P laster Floor at Tel Kabri (Western Galilee),” in Thalassa , 192-94. WO O LLEY (supra n. 3 ) pl. 28 a; NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) pl. XL XLVI b. For a new illustrat illustrat ion in colou r, see see B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Aegean Frescoes in Syria-Palestine: Alalakh and Tel Kabri,” in Wall Paintings of  Thera, pl. 14. WO O LLEY (supra n. 3) 231.  Arre rest st an andd Mov Movement: ement: An Essay on Space an andd T ime in the H .A .A. G RO RO EN EN EW EW EG EG EN -F -FR AN AN KF KFO RT RT,  Ar  Repr  R epres esentational entational Art of the ancient Near East  (1950) 197; W. SCHIERING, “Die Naturanschauung in der  AntKun tKun st  8 (1965) 3; G. WALBERG, Tradition and Innovation; Essays in Minoan Art  altkretischen altkretis chen Kunst,”  An (1986) 89, 98. WO O LLEY (supra n. 3) 228-30; BARKER, in  Ibid . 233-34.


Wolf-Dietr WolfDietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

and he believed, “that trained experts, members of the ... Painters’ Guilds, were invited to tr av avel el overseas overseas from As Asia ia (and p ossi ossibly bly from Alalak Alalakh) h) to ... decor ate th e palaces p alaces of the Cr etan 10 rulers.” Woolley’s argument for his suggestion that the influence had gone from Syria to Crete and not in th e reverse direction was “th “th at Yarim Yarim--Lim’ Lim’ss palace antedates by mo re th an a centu r y 11 the Cretan examples in the same style.” H ow owever, ever, Woo Woolley lley’’s date of Alalakh VII to “be tween 12 circa 1780 and 1730 BC” pr prov oved ed to be b e too high. h igh. Yar arimim-Lim Lim of Alalakh was was not —as Woolley had thought —identical with Yarim-Lim I of Yamhad (Aleppo), a contemporary of the great H amm ur abi of Babylon Babylon an d o f Zimr Zimr ii-Lim Lim of Mari, but a youn youn ger son of Yarim Yarim--Lim’ Lim’ss I son an d successor Hammurabi, and he received Alalakh as an appanage principality from his elder brother, king Abban of Yamhad, probably when the latter was nearing the end of his reign. 13 Th e docum d ocum ent entss of the cl clay ay tablet archiv archives es of Alalakh Alalakh VII cover cover th thee reign s of Yarim Yarim--Lim, of his son Ammitaqum, and possibly of a son of the latter, Irqabtum or Hammurabi. 14 Since the Alalakh VII documents mention six kings of Yamhad, from Abban to Hammurabi II, 15 an d three to four generations of officials and merchants at Alalakh, 16 Alalakh VII must have covered cov ered a con con si sider der able period per iod of time, between between ca. 70 years and almo st a centu centu r y.17 Alalakh VII ended in a destruction which —according to scholarly agreement —is identical with the destruction of Alalakh mentioned in the res gestae of the Hittite king Hattuöili I.18 Scholars have proposed dates for this destruction between ca.1650 and 1575 BC. 19 An important criterion for t he absol absolute ute d ate of th e destru ction level level of Alalak Alalakhh VII is the fact that it d id not contain any bichrome pottery, which does not appear before the following level Alalakh VI.20 According to the evidence from Tell el-Ajjul, bichrome ware came in use in the Levant at the beginning of th e reign of the penu lti ltimate mate H yks ksos os ruler Apop his his,, or just before before it.21 Apophis, opponent of Kamose within a decade of the expulsion of the Hyksos by Kamose’s younger

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orgo gotten tten Kingdom (1953) 74L.R. WO OL OLLEY,  A For 74-75. 75. In th e quota tion we have have omitte d Woolley’ Woolley’s statem ent according to which Crete also owes owes the be st of its its architecture to th e Asiatic Asiatic mainland and that mem bers of  the Architects’ Guilds were were invited to bu ild the p alaces of the Cre tan r ulers. As J.W .W.. GRAH AM, “The “The Relations Rel ations of th e Minoan Palaces to th e Near Eas Eastern tern Palac Palaces es of the Second Millenn Millenn ium”, in E.L. E.L. BENNETT BENNETT  Mycenaean naean Studi Studies es.. Pro Proce ceedings edings of the T hird In International ternational Co Colloq lloqui uium um for Myce Mycenaean naean Studi Studies es Held at  (ed.),  Myce “Wingspread,” 4-8 September 1961 (1964) 195195-215, 215, esp. 196-202 196-202 on Alal Alalakh, akh, has d emon strated, t he evidence is far from substant iating Woolley’ Woolley’s th eor y of Near Eastern ar chitects workin workin g in in Minoan Cr ete. See also NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 191. WO O LLEY (supra n. 10) 74. WO O LLEY (supra n. 3) 388-90. story ry of the Middle M iddle East Ea st and an d the t he Aegean Aegean R eg egion, ion, See J.J.-R. R. KUPP UPPER ER,, “N “Northern orthern Mes Mesopotami opotamiaa and and Sy Syria ria,” ,” in Hi sto c. 1800-1380 B.C., CA CAH  H , 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 17-18, 31; M.C. ASTOUR,  Hi  Hittite ttite H istory and an d Abso Absolute lute Chronology of the Bronze Age (1989). Alalakh: h: Die Schic Schichten hten VII-XVI VII-XVII. I. Alter Orient und  See the the pai pains nstak takiing dis discu cusssion by M. HEIN HEINZ Z, Tell Atchana/ Alalak  Altes Testament  Testament  (1992) 190-96. KUP PER (supra n. 13) 31; HEINZ (supra n. 14) 190-97. Seal Impressio Impressionn s from from Tell Atchana/ Alala Alalakh, kh, Alter Orient un d Altes Testament  27 (1975) 16 n. D. C O LLO N , T he Seal  AnatSt  atSt  27 2, 45-46 n. 1, 145, 152-54; Eadem, “A New Look at the Chronology of Alalakh VII: A Rejoinder,”  An (1977) 127-28. KUP PER (supra n. 13) 31 allows 75 years, ASTOUR (supra n. 13) 10 allows bet ween 70 an d 80 year year s. A. KEMPINSKI, “The Middle Bronze Age in Northern Israel, Local and External Synchronisms,” in M.  High, gh, Middle Mi ddle or Low? Acts of the Second Second Intern I nternational ational Co Colloq lloqui uium um on A bs bsolute olute Chronolog Chronology, y, Schloss Schloss BIETAK (ed.),  Hi  Haindorf/  Ha indorf/ Lan ge genlois, nlois, 1212 -15 Au Augu gust st 1990. 199 0. Ägypten und u nd Leva Levante nte 3 (1992) 70 even even thinks of almo st a centur y. story ry of the M iddle East an d  KUP PER (supra n. 13) 31-32; O.R. GURNEY, “Anatolia c. 1750-1600 B.C.,” in  Hi sto the Aegean Region, c. 1800-1380 B.C., CAH , 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 241; HEINZ (supra n. 14) 197. Cf. N IEMEIER (supra n. 5) 190-91 with references in nn. 16-17; HEINZ ( supra n. 14) 198198-201. 201. As to the different chron ologies used used in Near Eas Eastern tern archaeology archaeology,, see infra with n. 67. A. KEMPIN SKI, Syrien und Palästina (Kanaan) in der letzten Phase der Mittelbronze IIB-Zeit (1650 -1570 v. Chr.).  Ägypten und u nd Altes Testament  Testament  4 (1983) 218;  Idem (supra n. 17) 70. K EMPIN SKI (supra n. 20) 131-48, 131-48, 223. For Apoph is as penu ltimate H yks yksos os ruler, see D.B. D.B. REDFORD, REDFORD, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (1992) 71.



brother Ahmose, reigned for about forty years or more. 22 Thus the beginning of Apophis’ reign —and —and t he introdu ction of bichrome bichrome ware —are —are to be dated to b etw etween een ca. 1620/ 1620/ 10 and 23 1590// 80 depend ing on the Egyptian 1590 Egyptian chron ology used. Following these chronological corrections, the Alalakh frescoes no longer were as much earlier earli er t han their Cret an counter part s as Woolley Woolley had thought, bu t app arently sti still ll somewhat somewhat earlier.24 Nev Nevert ert heless, we had p roblem s with with Woolley’ Woolley’s theor y. Th e  fre  fressco technique of the wall paintings from from Yarim arim--Lim’ Lim’ss palace appeare d to be b e an isolated featur featur e in the th e Near East. In all relev relevant ant pu bli blications cations one could read t hat th e  fre  fressco technique was —with the exception of  Alalakh Alal akh —un —un known in the Near East East and in Egy Egypt be fore th e He ll llenisti enisticc period and t hat th e 25 generally used technique was al secco or tempera. Crete, however, according to R.J. Forbes, form ed “the ho me countr y of the real ‘buon ‘buon  fre painting” g” which which was at least in use from ca.  fresc scoo’ paintin 26 2000 BC BC on. on . As A. Moor Moortgat tgat —an —an au th thor or ity on Near Easter n wall paintin paintingg —stated, —stated, th e free, natural composition of the reeds on the fresco fragments from Yarim-Lim’s palace disassociates them from all other ancient Near Eastern pictorial art and connects them to Minoan Mi noan art .27 Ther ef efore, ore, th e Alalakh Alalakh frescoes frescoes seem seem to us to form an a li lien en element within within their cultural context. context. Since they appeared to be older t han t heir Minoan Minoan par all allels els,, they could could not, however, be attributed to Minoan influence. Thus the Alalakh frescoes for a long time were a kind of mystery to us. 2. The Kabri Frescoes (1987-1993)

In March 1987, forty years after the publication of Kantor’s study, during a study travel th rough Israel, we we visited visited th e Archaeo logic logical al Institute In stitute o f Tel Aviv Aviv Univ University ersity and gav gavee a gue st lecture on Mi Mino no an relation s with th e Levant, in which which the th e pro blem of th e Alalakh Alalakh frescoes was was also addr ess essed. ed. Amon g the colleagu colleagues es we met at this occasion occasion was was Aharon Kemp inski inski.. H e told us about the interesting excavation which he had started the year before, in the Middle

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J. vo n BE BEC K ER AT AT H , Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten.  Ägyptologische  Ägyptologisc he For Forsc schun hun ge genn 23 (1964) 128; L. H ABA ABACHI, CHI, The second Stela of Kamose and his Struggle against the  Hyksos Ruler Ru ler and his Capital. Abhandl Abhandlun un ge genn des Deut Deutsc schen hen Archäo Archäologis logiscchen In stitutes stitutes,, A bte bteilu ilung ng Kairo 8 (1972) 59; KEMPINSKI ( supra n. 20) 60. See W.A W.A.. WAR WARD, D, “The Pres Present ent Status Status of Egy Egyptia ptiann Chronology Chronology,” ,” BASOR 188 (1992) 53-66, especially 53 and 56 on the date of the beginning of the 18th Dynasty varying between ca. 1570 and 1540 BC. As to to the problem problem of the dating dating of the fi firs rstt phase phase of Aeg egean ean repres representa entational tional wall pai painti nting ng due to the  Aegean an Paintin g in the Bronze Age A ge (1990) 39; problems of stratigraphy at Knossos, see S.A. IMMERWAHR,  Aege W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Knossos in the New Palace Period (MM III-LM IB),” in D. EVELY, H. HUGHES-BROCK, and N. MOMIGLIANO MOMIGLIANO (eds.), (eds.), KNOSS KNOSSOS: OS: A Laby Labyrinth rinth o f Histor Histor y. Papers presented in hon our of Sinclair Sinclair Hoo d (1994) 84-85. 84-85. With th e exception of a plaster relief fragment showing part o f a bull’s bull’s foot, foot, which which Evans Ev ans (A.J. (A.J. EVANS, PM I [1921] 376, fig. 273) foun foun d str atified below the f loor o f the Maga zine of th e Tripod Vases Vases and which probab ly is of transitional MM IIIB IIIB// LM IA date, no r epresentation al wall wall decor ation in Crete can be stratigr aphically dated before the MM IIIB IIIB// LM IA tran si sition, tion, i.e. before before ca. 1600 BC accord accord ing to th e tr adit iona l Aegean Aegean ch ron ology —see P.M. P.M. WARREN WARREN and V. V. HAN KEY KEY,, Aegean Aegean Absolute Chronology (1989) 135-37, 169.  fresc scoo and al secco techniques, see A. NUNN,  Die Wan dmaler dmalerei ei un d der  As to t he he d ifif fe fe re re nc nce s b et et we we en en t he he  fre glasierte glas ierte Wan dsc dschmu hmuck ck im Alten Orient. Han dbuch der Orientali Orientalistik stik VII.1 (1988) 5-6; for the exceptional status Wan dmalerei ei (1972) 21, 30. As to the gen er al use of th e Alalakh frescoes see see  Ibid . 11-12; P. PHILIPPOT,  Die Wandmaler  Miss ssion ion archéo archéologiq logique ue de Mari II: le palais. of al secco technique in th e Near Eas Eastt an d in Egy Egypt, pt, see A. PARR PARROT, OT, Mi 2: peintures murales (1958) 58, 109; A. MOORTGAT,  Alt-vo  Alt-vorde rderasiatisc rasiatische he Malere Malereii (1959) 19; B. MULLER,  Revue evue arc archéo héologiq logique ue de Picardie Picardie, “Aspects de la peinture murale proche-orientale au IIe millénaire av. J.-C.,” R  Ancie cient nt Egyptian M aterials and T ec echni hniques ques, No. special (1995) 133 (Near East); A. LUCAS LUCAS and J.R. H ARRIS, An 4th edition (1962) 351-53 (Egypt); R.J. FORBES, Studies in Ancient Technology III (1955) 235-41 (Near East and Egypt). FO RBES (supra n. 25) 241-42; M.A.S. CAMERON, R.E. JONES and S.E. PHILIPPAKIS, “Scientific Analyses of Minoan Fresco Samples from Knossos,”  BSA 72 (1977) 121-84; S. HOOD, The Arts in Prehistoric Greece (1978) 83; IMMERWAHR ( supra n. 24) 14-15.  Inter erco conn nn ec ections tions, 103; F. SCHACHERMEYR,  Ägäis und u nd Orient (1967) MO O RT GAT (supra n. 25) 12. Cf. also  Int 46.


Wolf-Dietr WolfDietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Bronze Age Age city of Tel Kabri in Western Western Galilee. G alilee. Four m ont onths hs after our visit, visit, a threshold thr eshold of  limestone blocks covered with painted lime plaster was found in the palace of the local ruler at Tel Kabri.28 Pai Painted nted r ed li lines nes formed a kind o f grid pattern enclos enclosing ing hardly identifia identifiable ble representat rep resentat iona l paintin painting. g. As Aharo n imm imm ed ediatel iatelyy realized, painted plaster f loors are unknown in the ancient Near East, 29 but are a typical feature of the Aegean Bronze Age civilisations.30 He sent us a colour slide of the threshold and asked us if we would be interested in joinin joiningg him as par tn tners ers in in the th e Tel Tel Kabri excav excavation ation s. H opin g th that at Tel Tel Kabri would help he lp to solv solve the th e myster myster y of the Alalakh frescoes, we spontaneou spont aneou sl slyy agree agreed. d. Ou r fru itful collabor coll abor ation with with Aharon started in 1989 and was only interru pted by his untimely untimely death in 1994.. We comm 1994 comm emor ate him him here in gratitude and friendship. The threshold with the painted plaster led into a square hall of 10 by 10 meters in the ceremonial wing of the palace.31 The floor of this hall, covered by painted plaster, was excavated in 1989 and 1990.32 Since this painted floor has already been discussed in a conference paper after the 1989 season, when it was not yet completely excavated, 33 we here on ly ill illustr ustrate ate the com plete plan (Pl. Va) and ad d some new n ew aspects. Th e f loor was executed in true  fre investigations on the si site te and la labor bor ator y analy analyses of   fressco technique, as th e th orough investigations samples in Verona have demonstrated.34 The colours identified in the floor’s painting are black, white, gray, gray, red , yellow ellow,, or an ge, bro wn, an d dark blue . Accord Ac cord ing to spectrophotometrical analysis, white came from reserving the lime plaster background, black was from carbon, the range of red, yellow, and orange was derived from ochres, and brown resulted from mixing black and red . Th e dark blue blue remains rem ains somewhat enigmat ic si since nce it consists of a carbon-lime mixture and we do not know how the blue colour effect was produced.35 The colours and natural pigments are the same as used all over the eastern Mediterran ean, in th e Aegean, Aegean, the Near East and Egypt. Egypt.36 The floor was painted with a grid pattern of red lines imitating a pavement of stone slabs. sl abs. Th e red lines represent th e red plaster filling th thee interstices bet ween the t he stone slabs as we find them on a series of Minoan stone floors.37 The decoration of some squares

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A. KEM KEMPINS PINSKI KI,, “Are “Areaa D: The Architec Architecture ture and the Finds,” Finds,” in in A. KEM KEMPINS PINSKI KI (ed. (ed.), ), Excavations at Kabri 2: Preliminary Report of 1987 Season (1988) 36-41 36-41 (H ebr ew), VI-VII VI-VII (English Sum mar y) y),, p ls ls.. 9, 12. The marbled marbled square squaress pai painted nted on a podium podium in hall hall 64 of the palac palacee at Mari Mari and on a platf platform orm in courty courtyard ard 31 do not form real room floors and are, in our opinion, to be seen as signs of Minoan influence; cf. infra with nn. 47, 49. Se e E.S. H IR IRSC H , Painted Decoration on the Floors of Bronze Age Structures on Crete and the Greek Mainland  (1977). As to the lay layout of the palace palace at Tel Tel Kabri, Kabri, comparable to that of Yarimarim-Li Lim’ m’ss palace palace in in Alalakh Alalakh VII, VII, see see A. KEMPINSKI, “An Integrated Plan of the Palace in Light of the Excavations in Areas D and F,” in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds), Excavations at Kabri 7-8: Preliminary Report of 1992-1993 Seasons (1994) 26-28 (Hebrew), *18 (English summary) fig. 10, the latter repeated by NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) fig. 1. W..-D. D. NIEM NIEMEI EIER ER,, “Ar “Area ea D: The Painted Painted Plaster Plaster Floor Floor in Room 611. Tec Technical hnical,, Sty Styli listi stic, c, Iconograph Iconograph ic and and Chronological Implications,” in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.) Excavations at Kabri 4: Preliminary Report of 1989 Season (1990) XVI-XXVI, figs. 10-12; W.-D. NIEMEIER, P. CORNALE, P. ROSANO’ and M. TAGLIAPIETRA, in: A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.), Excavations at Kabri 5: Preliminary Report of 1990 Season (1991) *24-*26. N IEMEIER (supra n. 5) 197-98, pls. pls. XLVIIXLVII-LI. LI. See also W.-D. W.-D. NIEMEIER, NIEMEIER, “On “On th e O rigin of Mycena Mycena ean m emorie rie del Sec Secondo ondo Painted Plaster Floors,” in E. de MIRO, L. GODART and A. SACCONI (eds.),  Atti e memo Congres Co ngresso so Internazionale di Micenolo Micenologia, gia, R oma - Napoli, 1 44-20 20 otto ottobr bree 1991, 199 1, vol. III: III : Archeo Archeologia logia (1996) 1249-53. N IEMEIER (supra n. 32) xvi-xvii; xvi-xvii; Idem (supra n. 5) 197; NIEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32). The investigations investigations at the site were done by M. Tagliapietra, restorer, the laboratory analyses by P. Cornale, geologist, and P. Rosano’, chemist. N IEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32) 25*. Se e IMMERWAH R (supra n. 24) 15-16, 15-16, Fig. 5. For Alalakh, see WOO LLEY (supra n. 3) 233-34. For ins insta tanc nce: e: A.J. EVAN ANS S, PM  II (1928) 683;  Idem, PM  III (1930) 357-58; L. PERNIER and L. BANTI,  Il  palazzo min minoic oicoo di Fe Festò stòs, s, vol II: il se seco condo ndo palazzo (1951) 46, 73, 266. Ayi yiaa Triadha : F. F. H ALB ALBHERR, HERR, E.  Haghia ghia T riada nel periodo tardo palaziale. An AnnScAtene nScAtene 55 (1977) 72, 8 0, 82, 87-88, STEFANI and L. BANTI,  Ha 90-91, 154, 157, 160.



undoubtedly represents the marbling of gypsum slabs, as our thorough investigation with 1:1 tracings as well as with infrared photographies demonstrated.38 Painted stone imitations regularly occur in Minoan art. The earliest known examp le on a fresco fragment comes from the ‘Loom-Weight Deposit’ at Knossos and is ascribed to either MM II or MM III. 39 A dado with painted imitation of gypsum slabs from the east border of the palace at Knossos was dated by Evans with stylistic arguments to MM IIIA.40 Of LM IA date are painted gypsum imitations from the West House at Akrotiri on Thera, where they formed dadoes in rooms 4 and 5,41 and a ‘chessboard’ pattern in t he centre of the nor thea stern wall of room 4.42 In LM IB-II we frequently find painted dadoes imitating gypsum slabs in the palace at Knossos.43 In t he Near East, similar painted stone imitations roughly contempor ary with th e Kabri f loor or earlier were found at two sites.44 Like Alalakh, the Middle Bron ze Age city and palace of Tel Kabri were destroyed and abandoned in the pre-bichrome phase of MB IIB. 45 Thus the stone imitations painted on the basalt orthostates in room 5 of the so-called ‘Chamber of  Audience’ in Yarim-Lim’s palace at Alalakh, of which no illustrations have been published,46 are roughly contempor ar y to the Kabri one s. Earlier than the Kabri and Alalakh examples are the painted stone imitation s in Zimri-Lim’s palace at Mari. Th ere they decor ated a pod ium on the east side of hall 64 (Pl. Vb), 47 the dadoes of a passage leading into court 31,48 and a platform near to the north-west corner of that court. 49 The excavator of Mari, A. Parrot, compared the painted stone imitations to those painted on dadoes at Knossos.50 Elsewhere he a sked for possible conn ections between the Mari and the Knossos mur als, and, po inting to the evidence for connections between Mari and Crete provided by the Minoan precious objects mention ed in the Mari archives, he ap parently tended to see some Cretan inf luence in the Mari mur als. This was, however, impeded by the d ating of the Minoan figur al

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42 43


45 46 47 48 49 50

NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pls. XLIX b (infrared p hotogr aph), L a (water colour). For a colour p hotogr aph and a new corrected version of the water colour, see now NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 1-2. EVANS (supra n. 24) 251-52, fig. 188 a; IMMERWAHR ( supra n. 24) 22-23, fig. 6 f. Th e find con text of the fragment was dated by NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 193, n. 3, to MM II. For the following corr ection , see NIEMEIER (supra n. 24) 81: The Loom-Weight Deposit apparently is a filling for the construction of new substructure walls in MM III and contains mixed MM II-III material. Thu s the fresco fragment can be eithe r MM II or MM III. EVANS (supra n. 24) 355-56, fig. 255. Ro om 4: CH .G. DO UMAS, The Wall-Paintings of Thera (1992) 49, 86-91, figs. 49-56; for a reconstruction of  the dado es within th e d ecorat ion system of th e roo m, see CH .A. TELEVANTOU,  Akroteri T heras: oi toichografies tes Dytikes Oikias (1994) 133-42, figs. 27-32. Room 5: DOUMAS, op. cit . 64, 5 0-51, f igs. 14-17; for a reconstruction of the dadoes within the decoration system of the room, see N. MARINATOS,  Art and   Religion in Thera: Reconstructing a Bronze Age Society (1984) fig. 17 facing p. 32. TELEVANTOU ( supra n. 41) 156-59, fig. 37, colour p l. 14; for a recon struction within t he decor ation system of the roo m, see Ibid . 133 fig. 27 E-Z, 139 fig. 31, 142 fig. 32. See, for instance, A.J. EVANS, PM IV (1935) 893-94, fig. 873. Th is dad o in the West Porch b elon gs to th e same pictorial program as the paintings of the adjoining Corridor of the Procession which are possibly of  LM IB date —cf. CH. BOULOTIS, “Nochmals zum Prozessionsfresko von Knossos: Palast und Darbringung von Prestige-Objekten,” in R. HÄGG and N. MARINATOS (eds.), The Function of the Minoan Palaces. Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 10-16 June, 1984 (1987) 145-47. We do not discuss here the examples from Alalakh level IV (WOOLLEY [supra n. 3] 232, fig. 29 a-c), which is of 15th century date (see H. KLENGEL, Geschichte und Kultur Altsyriens [1979] 68-75), and from Qatna (see R. du MESNIL du BUISSON,  Le site archéologique de Mishifre-Qatna [1935] 143, frontispiece), which is probably of 14th century date (see  Interconn ections, 17-18). Cf. KEMPINSKI (supra n. 17) 70-72. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 92. PARROT (supra n. 25) 67-69, fig. 54, pl. XV, 1-2. A. PARROT,  Mission archéologique de Mari II: les palais, 2: architecture (1958) 165, pl. XXXIX,2.  Ibid . 166, fig. 187, pl. XXXIX,1.  Ibid . 165, n. 2.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

wall-paintings to n ot b efore 1600 BC by th e Aegean specialists.51 B. Muller (= B. Pierre) has discussed the imitation of stone slabs at Mari, Alalakh, Tel Kabri, Crete, and Thera within the context of an east Mediterranean koiné in wall-painting and argued that the dominating movement of this koiné went from the Orient to the Aegean at the beginning of the second millenn ium BC.52 To th is we would subscribe. We do , however, not agr ee with h er idea t hat Mesopotam ia was the p lace of origin of th e painted imitations of stone dad oes and f loors. As we think, the idea of the painting of imitations of stone dadoes and floors must have originated in an area where ashlar was actually used for dad oes and f loors. Th e Mesopotamian Bronze Age architecture was constructed of mudbrick. 53 Stone blocks were exclusively used in foun dat ions and on ly where th ey could easily be obtained.54 On the other hand, in Crete and the Levant stone dadoes (orthostates) are known from at least the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age on.55 Ashlar floorings were very common in Crete, although the known examples all are from the New Palace period, 56 but the MM IB painted imitations of ashlar floors in Phaistos and Mallia 57 suggest that Crete had ashlar floorings already by the beginning of the Old Palace period around 1900 BC. 58 In the Levant, ashlar f looring does not seem to have been ver y commo n.59 In Egypt, stone d adoe s were unkn own 60 and ashlar flooring was very rare. 61 Thus Crete and the Levant appear to be possible candidates for th e origin of painted imitations of stone d adoes and f loor. Accord ing to the present eviden ce, tho se imitations exist earlier in Crete than in the Levant. The ear liest preserved examples of painted imitations of marb led stone slabs in t he Near East, those in t he palace at Mari (Pl. Vb), imitate gypsum,62 a material frequently used in Minoan architecture 63 but n ot in the Levant.64 All this appears to ind icate th at painted imitations of gypsum d adoes and slabs at Mari show Minoan influence.

 ______________________  51 52 53

54 55 56 57

58 59 60 61 62 63 64

PARROT (supra n. 25) 109-110. As to th e Cretan objects mentione d in t he Mari archive, see SWDS , 126-28, nos. D.2-12, with references. B. PIERRE, “Decor peint à Mari et au Proche-Orient,”  M.A .R.I., Annales de R echerches Interdisciplin aires 5 (1987) 569, 572; B. MULLER, “Les peintures murales de l’Euphrate à la Méditerranée: des conceptions communes?,” Sources et travaux historiques 36-37 (1994) 53; MULLER (supra n. 25) 133-35. See H. FRANKFO RT, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient , 4th revised edition (1970) 18. The re are no Bron ze Age predecessors for th e use of gypsum in architectur al contexts from the 9t h centur y BC on for wall reliefs in th e p alaces of the Ne o-Assyrian emp ire, which pr obably were d ue to Aram ean inf luence; cf. A. MOORTGAT,  Die Kun st des Alten M esopotamien (1967) 133-34. Cf. FRANKFORT (supra n. 53) 42. See G. HULT,  Bronze Age Ashlar Masonry in the Eastern Mediterranean: Cyprus, Ugarit, and Neighbouring  Regions (1983) 38-39, 46-47, 66; NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 191, with references in nn. 21-25. HULT (supra n. 55) 47-48, 74. Phaistos: D. LEVI, “Gli scavi a Festòs nel 1956 e 1957,”  AnnScAtene 35/ 36 (1957/ 58) 332-33 = HIRSCH (supra n. 30) 17, C 43. Mallia, Maison E: G. DAUX, “Chro n ique de s fouilles et découverte s arché ologiqu es en Grèce en 1964,”  BCH  89 (1965) 1000-1001, figs. 1-2 = HIRSCH (supra n. 30) 13, C 22-23, fig. 4. Mallia, in t he vicinity of Qu art ier Mu: J.-C. POURSAT, “Malia, atelier de sceaux,” BCH  102 (1978) 832, f ig. 1; Idem, “Quartier Mu,”  BCH  109 (1985) 892; for the date, see  Idem, “Le début de l’époque protopalatiale à Malia,” Eilapine. Tomos timiotikos gia ton kathegete Nikolao Platona (1987) 463. Here the controversial low and high chronologies for the Aegean roughly synchronize —see WARREN and HANKEY ( supra n. 24) 128-35, 169 (low chr on ology); S.W. MANNING, The Absolute Chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age (1995) 217 (high chronology). HULT (supra n. 55) 40, 73.  Ibid . 66.  Ibid . 36, 73. Cf. MULLER (supra n. 25) 134. Cf. J.W. GRAH AM, T he Palaces of Crete, revised edition (1969) 4-5, 143-44, 204-208; J.W. SHAW,  Min oan  Architecture: Materials and T echniques. Ann ScAtene 49 (1971) 20-23. The stone dadoes and ashlar floors in early Middle Bronze Age Ebla IIIA and in later Middle Bronze Age Alalakh are of basalt and limestone —see P. MATTHIAE,  I tesori di Ebla (1984) pls. 49-51, 55, 63, 64, 74; R. NAUMANN,  Architektur Kleinasiens von ihren Anfän gen bis zum Ende der hethitischen Zeit , 2nd edition (1972) 82. As to th e use of gypsum in early 1st millenn ium Mesopotam ia, see supra n. 53.



But is this possible from the chr onological point of view? Th e Mari paintings were probably executed before the 35th year of Hammurabi of Babylon, in which he captured Mari,65 although th ere is some doubt wheth er th e pa lace was destroyed by Hammu rabi or only later, by the Hittite king Muröili I du ring the cour se of his famous raid o n Babylon, or even by the subsequently installed Kassite dynasty.66 Moreover, there exist problems both in Mesopotam ian and Aegean absolute chro nologies. In Mesopot amia, we are confronted with no less than five different chronologies starting from different datings of the First Dynasty of  Babylon and Hammurabi: the ultra-high, the high, the middle, the low and the ultra-low chronologies.67 While the highest t wo and the lowerm ost one are increasingly ru led out, ther e is as yet n o con sensus on the choice bet ween the middle and the low chron ologies.68 In the Aegean, the traditional chronology as originally introduced by Evans69 came under attack from 1987 on, when P.P. Betancourt and S.W. Manning, starting from radiocarbon dates from Ther a, suggested t hat t he Aegean Late Bronze Age had beg un consider ably earlier t han in the trad itional chro nology.70 Since then the controversial discussion has not ended, and today modified forms of the traditional low chronology and the new high chronology are opposed to each oth er without reaching a consensus.71 According to the Mesopotamian middle chronology, the 35th year of Hammurabi’s reign was 1757 BC; accord ing to the Mesopotam ian low chro nology, it was 1691 BC. According to the Mesopotamian middle chronology, Muröili I’s raid against Babylon entailing the end of  the First Dynasty of Babylon happened in 1594 BC; according to the Mesopotamian low chrono logy, it hap pen ed in 1531 BC. If th e fragment from th e Loom-Weight depo sit at Knossos is of MM II date (Aegean high chro nology: 1900/ 1875 - 1750/ 20 BC; Aegean low chrono logy: 19th centur y - 1700/ 1650 BC), it is —assuming that H ammu rabi’s 35th year actually forms the terminus ante quem for the Mari parallels —earlier t han the latter or rou ghly contemporary to them, according to both possible combinations of chronologies (Mesopotamian middle and Aegean high chronologies or Mesopotamian and Aegean low chronologies). 72 If the Loom-Weight deposit fragment is of MM III date (Aegean high chrono logy: 1750/ 20 - 1700/ 1680 BC; Aegean low chron ology: 1700/ 1650 - 1600 BC), it is roughly contemporary or somewhat later than the Mari parallels, when again using both possible combination s of chrono logies. If the palace of Mari sur vived the conque st by Hammurabi and remained in use, the painted stone imitations at Mari may be even consider ably later than th e Loom-Weight Depo sit fragm ent. In sum mar izing all of th e evidence hith erto discussed, I think, with J.C. Crowley,73 that m ost probably the p ainted stone

 ______________________  65 66 67 68

69 70 71 72 73

Cf. KUPPER (supra n. 13) 14, 28; C.J. GADD, “Hammurabi and the End of his Dynasty,” in  Hi story of the  Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1800-1380 B.C., CAH , 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 179-82, 189. See  Interconn ections, 20. The list of regnal years of Hamm ur abi only repo rts th e dismantling of the city walls of Mari for his 35th year; cf. KUPPER ( supra n. 13) 28. A good survey is to be found in H. TADMOR, “The Chronology of the Ancient Near East in the Second Millennium B.C.,” in B. MAZAR (ed.), The World History of the Jewish People, First Series: Ancient Times, Vol.  II: Patriarchs (1970) 63-84, with bibliography p. 260, nn. 5-7. Cf. W.G. DEVER, “The Chron ology of Syria-Palestine in the Second Millennium B.C.E.: A Review of  Cur rent Issues,”  BASOR 288 (1992) 11; A. MALAMAT, “Mari and Hazor: The Implication for the Middle Bronze Age Chronology,” in M. BIETAK (ed.),  High, Middle or Low? Acts of the Second International Colloquium on Absolute Chronology, Schloss Haindorf/ Lan genlois, 12-15 August 1990. Ägypten und Levante 3 (1992) 122. See A. FURUMARK, The Chronology of Mycenaean Pottery (1941) 110, with references to Evans. P.P. BETANCOURT, “Dating the Aegean Late Bronze Age with Radiocarbon,” Archaeometry 29 (1987) 45-49; S.W. MANNING, “The Bronze Age Eruption of Thera: Absolute Dating, Aegean Chronology and Mediterranean Cultural Interrelations,”  JMA 7.2 (1987) 17-82. See most recently P.M. WARREN, “The Minoan Civilisation of Crete and the Volcano of Thera,” Journal of  the Ancient Chronology Forum 4 (1990/ 91) 29-39 (low chro no logy); MANNING (supra n. 58) 217-29 (high chronology). As to the incompatibility of the Mesopotamian low and Aegean high chronologies, cf. MANNING (supra n. 58) 219. J.C. CROWLEY, The Aegean and the East: An Investigation into the Transference of Artistic Motifs between the  Aegean , Egypt, and the N ear East in the Bronze Age (1989) 195, 202.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

imitations at Mari form a Minoan intrusive motif in the palace’s painted decoration which is other wise Mesopotamian in character74 —althou gh showing som e Egyptian inf luence 75 —and was painted in secco technique.76 Coming back to the Kabri floor, the character of the d ecoration chan ges in other zones. Here yellow and d ark blue flowers are filling the squares in a checker patter n. Th e yellow colour is much faded, and o ften it is no lon ger possible to distinguish the single motifs. Th e squares which containe d th e yellow f lowers are marked in gr ey on t he plan Pl. Va. Th e dark blue painted floral motifs depicted stylized linear iris-blossoms of the characteristic Minoan ‘V-type,’77 elegantly curved sprays of more ‘naturalistic’ iris blossoms, 78 as well as yellow crocuses. 79 All these flowers frequently occur in Aegean wall-painting and pottery decoration,80 where they have a symbolic meaning.81 As A. Sarpaki convincingly states, in Aegean iconography only a selection of the plants belonging to the actual Bronze Age environment is dep icted, this selection — together with t he oth er en vironm ental motifs selected — gives us the conceptu al environment, tinged by cultur al concepts, and she continues: “This is the reason why the repertoire of Aegean iconography is precise and repetitive, exhibiting a type of koiné bet ween areas which inter acted cultur ally.”82 Ther efore it is of interest that the crocus and iris apparently did not play any role in Canaanite iconography,83 where other flowers with symbolic meaning like the lotus of Egyptian origin were p referred. 84 In 1990, when starting to excavate the doo r way leading out from H all 611 to the nor th, we saw that h ere th e ashlar blocks of the o riginal threshold had been robbed . In th e last, ver y brief, un-palatial phase of the use of the palace,85 the hole left by this activity was leveled with

 ______________________  74 75 76 77 78 79 80

81 82 83



 Interconn ections, 18, 98-101.  Ibid . 49, 96; and more decisively J. ARUZ in the discussion following our paper ( infra). See MULLER (supra n. 25) 133. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. LI b; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pl. 4. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. L b, LI a; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 5-6. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 198, pl. L b, LI a; NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pls. 5-6. See H. MÖBIUS, “Pflanzenbilder der minoischen Kunst in botanischer Betrachtung,” JdI  48 (1933) 7-9, fig. 4 (crocus), 10-11, fig 5 C-D (iris); O. HÖCKMANN, “Theran Floral Style in Relation to that of Crete,” in C.G. DOUMAS (ed.), Thera and the Aegean World II, Papers presented at the Second International Scientific Congress, Santorini Greece, August 1978  (1980) 607-608, 609, fig. 2; I. DOUSKOS, “The Crocuses of  Santorini,” in CH.G. DOUMAS (ed.), Thera and the Aegean World II: Papers and Proceedings of the Second   International Scientific Congress, San torini, Greece, Augu st 1978  (1980) 141-46; S. AMIGUES, “Le crocus et le safran sur un e fresque de Thera,”  RA (1988) 227-242 (crocus); W.-D. NIEMEIER,  Die Palaststilkeramik von Knossos: Stil, Chronologie und historischer Kontext  (1985) 61-63, fig. 20 (crocus), 63-66, fig. 21 (iris); R. PORTER, “Th e Th er an Wall Paintin gs’ Flora: Living Plants and Motifs - Sea Lily, Crocu s, Iris, Ivy,” in Wall Paintings of Thera. As to the religious symbolism, cf. N. MARINATOS,  Min oan Religion: R itual, Image, an d Symbol (1993) 141, 195; for other possible kinds of symbolism, see A. SARPAKI, “Plants chosen to be depicted on Theran Wall-Paintings: What does it all mean?,” in Wall Paintings of Thera. SARPAKI (supra n. 81). As our partner at Tel Kabri, A. Kempinski, and other distinguished Israeli colleagues who are working in th e Bron ze Age and visited th e Tel Kabri e xcavation s, like M. ARTZY, T. DOTH AN, A. MAZAR, B. MAZAR and O . NEGBI, have confirm ed. The ter m “Canaanite” here is used in the sense of R. AMIRAN, Ancient  Pottery of the Holy Land  (1969) 167-70, who has termed the area between the Amuq plain to the north and the deserts to the south and to the east “Greater Canaan” for the Middle and Late Bronze Age, since they form a largely uniform civilization with regional variations. Cf., fo r in st an ce , M. KAP LA N, T he Origin an d Distribution of Tell el-Yahudiyeh Ware (1980) 33 -34, p ls. 126-127; E.D.T. VERMEULE and F.Z. WOLSKY, Toumba tou Skourou (1990) 386-87, pls. 182-83; J. ARUZ, “Imagery and Interconnections,” in Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean W orld , 40-41, f igs. 31-32; H. WEIPPERT, Palästina in vorhellenistischer Zeit, Handbuch der Archäologie, Vorderasien II.1 (1988) 302-307, figs. 3.51-3.53. Evidence for the unpalatial character of this very last phase of the palace is provided by the robbing of the ashlar blocks of the threshold in the doorway leading out of Hall 611 to the north and of the orthostates along th e walls of Hall 611. Due to t he latter activity, the p ainted plaster f loor of H all 611 was destroyed along its edges —see Pl. Va. Storage jars were p ut a long par t of th e walls of Hall 611 after the robbing o f  the orthostates.



stones and lumps of mud lime, and the doorway finally was covered by a very coarse lime f loor. In the filling und ern eath this lime f loor, we found, in t he last days of the 1990 season, the first tiny fragme nts of wall painting. Ana lyses again executed by Cor na le and Rosano’ showed that they also were painted in true  fresco technique, and that in addition to t he natur al pigments used for painting the floor, in the wall painting synthetic Egyptian blue was also used.86 During the 1991 season, th e filling was completely excavated an d more t han 2000 ver y small fragments were recovered from it.87 By courtesy of th e Israeli Autho rity of Antiqu ities, we were able to stud y the fragmen ts for two years in Heidelber g. Ou r initial imp ression d ur ing the recover y proved to be cor rect: the fragment s were n ot found a s fallen from t he wall, but in a secondary context, completely jumbled and wantonly crushed to be used together with other debr is as filling mater ial. Little by little, we were able to make progress in identifying the motifs represented on these tiny fragme nts. A series of them was painted with spotted brown colour, which on som e of them r un s out in knob-like protu ber ances (Pl. Vc). In Aegean art, knob-like protuber ances form a widespread convention for representing a rocky shore. 88 In wall painting, we find the same motif and a similar coloring in the rocky shore to the right of the ‘Departure Town’ or ‘Polis IV’ of the south wall of the miniature fresco from the West House at Akrotiri on Thera.89 On two of our fr agment s, a wavy strip is left white. Th e same enigmat ic mot if  appears in the rugged red-brown terrain to the right of the ‘Departure Town’ or ‘Polis IV.’ 90 The representation of the rocky shore not only follows Minoan artistic conventions without par allels in th e art s of th e ancient Near East, but a lso shows a typical Aegean land scape.91 The Mediterranean coast of Israel looks very different and is almost exclusively formed by flat plains and sandy shores.92 More and m ore it became clear that th e Kabri fragment s belonged to a miniature fresco with a similar them e as the Ther an on e. Rough sea is represented in th e ‘shipwreck scene ’ on the north wall of the Theran miniature fresco by a gray stippling of loop-like dashes. 93 We find t he same mot if on some of th e Kabri fragme nts (Pl. Vd). Th e curved grey-brown stripes narrowing to one end probably belonged to boats. 94 Other fragments of the Kabri wall painting belonged to rep resentat ions of architecture. Th ey show isodomic masonr y in white and blue as well as round ed so-called ‘beam end s’ (Pl. VIa). Th e same mot ifs app ear in th e town representations on the Theran miniature fresco: isodomic masonry in white and blue, and in red and brown, 95 which may represent ashlar masonry, mudbrick work, and or/ plastered facades painted with imitations of ashlar masonr y,96 as well as ‘beam en ds’ above the gate of the ‘Arrival Town’ or ‘Polis V.’97 Representations of isodomic masonry are not restricted to t he Aegean, but also exist in th e Mari mur als. But there they are pink-or ange and

 ______________________  86 87 88 89

90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97

NIEMEIER et al. (supra n. 32) 24*. On Egyptian Blue and its introd uction to Crete as early as MM II, see IMMERWAHR ( supra n. 24) 16. B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, “The Fragments of a Minoan Wall Painting from Locus 723,” in A. KEMPINSKI and W.-D. NIEMEIER (eds.), Excavations at Kabri 6: Preliminary Report of 1991 Season (1992) 8*-11*. Cf. E. H ALLAGER, The Master Impression: A Clay Sealing from the Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli, Khania (1985) 16, with references. DOUMAS (supra n. 41 ) 71, fig. 36; cf. L. MORGAN , The Miniature Wall Paintings of Thera: A Study in Aegean Culture and Iconography (1988) 34; TELEVANTOU ( supra n. 41) 259-60. The town n ext to the rocky shore is designated as ‘Departure Town’ by MORGAN, op. cit. 12-13, and as ‘Polis IV’ by TELEVANTOU, op. cit . 199. Cf. MORGAN (supra n. 89) 34, who thinks that it may represent a d yke for ir rigation. Cf.  Ibid . 34. Cf. J. RO GERSO N,  Atlas of the Bible (1985) 58-59. DOUMAS ( supra n. 4 1) 62-63, fig. 29. Cf. the boats on the south wall of the Theran miniature fresco: DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 79, fig. 38; TELEVANTOU ( supra n. 41) 278, colour pl. 66. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 71 fig. 36, 84 f ig. 47, 85 fig. 48; TELEVANTO U (supra n. 41) 264-74, colour p ls. 25, 43, 44, 53, 56, 57, 67, 68. See MORGAN (supra n. 89) 71-74.  Ibid . 75, fig. 108; TELEVANTOU (supra n. 41) colour pl. 68.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

undoubtedly represent mudbricks.98 The round ‘beam ends’ are a typical Aegean feature, seemingly without parallel in the Near East, and have a religious connotation. 99 Thus, apparently an Aegean town like those on the Thera miniature fresco was represented on the Kabri fresco, as hypothetically reconstructed in Pl. VIa. There were also fragments representing flora and fauna, of which we here illustrate the charming miniature representat ion of a flying swallow (Pl. VIb). Represent ations of swallows are known from Thera, Crete and the early Mycenaean mainland,100 but to our knowledge not from the Levant. Two of the Kabri fresco fragments show parallel horizontal lines with alternating cur ved tr iangles and d ots between the m. Th is is Evans’ ‘notched plume’ mot if,101 which is applied in different media of Aegean art to the wings of griffins and sphinxes.102 Th e S-spiral on anoth er fragment m ay have belonged to t he n eck of a griffin. Thu s, we have hypothetically reconstructed a griffin in f lying gallop and with S-spira ls on the neck, similar to that on the east wall of the Theran miniature fresco (Pl. VIc). 103 The winged Griffin and Sphinx are fabulous creatures which certainly did not originate in Crete, but were introduced to the island from th e Levant.104 In t he Aegean they got, however, some ch aracter istic new features which they did not have before, among them the ‘notched plume’ wings.105 Thus the griffin (or sphinx) of the Kabri m iniature fresco appears to b e an icono gr aphical re-impor t to t he Levant, and all preserved motifs of the Kabri miniature fresco have a purely Aegean character. Where h ad the Kabri miniature fresco been situated? We think that th e material of the fill containing the wall fresco fragments was not brought from elsewhere but was formed by debr is from th is area. Thu s, the m iniature fresco probably belonged, together with the painted plaster f loor, to th e interior de sign o f Hall 611 and ran along the wall in t he zone above th e doors in a similar position to that of the miniature fresco in room 5 of the West House at Akrotiri.106 3. The Tell el-Dab ca Frescoes (1992 - Present)

At th e en d o f our p aper at th e T halassa conference in spring 1990, after h aving d iscussed the Alalakh fresco fragments and the painted plaster floor at Tel Kabri, we speculated that Aegean frescoes may have existed at more Canaanite sites. 107 For this M. Bietak ascribed an

 ______________________  98 99 100

101 102 103 104

105 106


B. PIERRE-MULLER, “Une gran de peinture des appartements royaux du palais de Mari (salles 219-220),”  M.A .R.I., Ann ales de Recherches Interdisciplin aires 6 (1990) 484-85, fragme nts M 4592-94, 4599, p. 52 4-25. Cf. MORGAN (supra n. 89) 75-77. The swallow in p articular often app ears in Th eran wall painting and vase painting —cf. S.A. IMMERWAHR, “Swallows and Dolphins at Akrotiri: Some Thoughts on the Relationship of Vase Painting to Wall Painting,” in TAW  III, vol. I, 238-41. In Cre te we find it on a series of seals, some o f them de pictin g cult scene s —cf. J.P. RUUSKANEN,  Birds on Aegean Bronze Age Seals: A Stu dy of Representation (1992) 56-57. Th e fact th at we have only one fre sco rep resent ation of a swallow from Crete , EVANS (supra n. 37) 379, fig. 211, probably is due to accidents of preser vation. The swallows on a gold foil from Shaft Grave III at Mycenae, G. KARO,  Die Schachtgräber von Mykenai (1930/ 33) 47, no. 24, pl. 21, are of Minoan inf luence. EVANS (supra n. 24) 548-51. Cf. C. d’ALBIAC, “The ‘Diagnostic’ Wings of Monsters,” in: C. MORRIS (ed.), Klados. Essays in Honour of   J.N. Coldstream.  BICS Supp l. 63 (1995) 64-67. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 65, fig. 32; TELEVANTOU ( supra n. 41) 252-54, colour pl. 47. Griffin: H. FRANKFORT, “Notes on the Cretan Griffin,”  BSA 37 (1936/ 37) 106-122; A. BISI,  Il grifone: storia di un motivo iconografico nell’Antico Oriente Mediterraneo (1965) 171-72, 193; MORGAN ( supra n. 89) 50-53; CROWLEY ( supra n. 73) 46-51, 271-73. Sphinx: A. DESSENNE,  Le sphinx, étude iconographique: des origines à la fin du second millénaire (1957) 122-29; CROWLEY ( supra n. 73) 40-44, 271-72. DESSENNE (supra n. 104) 130 no. 294, 133 no. 299; BISI (supra n. 104) 193-95; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 44, 48. For the reconstruction of room 5 of the West House at Akrotiri, see CH.A. TELEVANTOU, “New Light on the West House Wall-Paintings,” in TAW  III, vol. I, 313-14, figs. 4-6; for an attempt to reconstruct Hall 611, see W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Tel Kabr i: Aegean Fresco Paintin gs in a Can aan ite Palace,” in S. GITIN (ed.), Recent  Excavations in Israel: A View to the West, Archaeological Institute of America, Colloquia and Conference Papers No. 1 (1995) 10, fig. 1.14. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199.



“almost mantic foresight” to us after he had found fresco fragments with strong Minoan affinities at Tell el-Dab ca in the eastern Nile Delta. 108 As the earlier Austrian excavations under the directorship of Bietak at Tell el Dab ca and other excavations in the eastern Nile Delta have demonstrated, the Hyksos rule of the Second Intermediate Period followed a considerable influx of Canaanites from Syria-Palestine, and Tell el-Dab ca was the Hyksos capital Avaris.109 From 1989 on, the main excavations at Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris have focussed on Ezbet Helmi, at the western edge of the site. The discovery of “Minoan wall-paintings” at Ezbet Helmi was first announced in 1992.110 Severa l thousand fragments were found in areas H/ I and H/ IV.111 These all came from secondary contexts, unstratified from the upper levels, from filling levels of the 18th Dynasty, and from walls and foundation trenches of  reparations and additions to the mudbrick platform of a monumental building, 112 probably a palatial fortress.113 With good reason, the excavators think t hat t he frescoes from which t hese fragments come o riginally had ador ned walls of this monum ental building,114 which first was dated by them to the late Hyksos period before the conquest of Avaris by Ahmose. 115 As P. Jánosi has demonstrated, the position of this palatial fortress next to the Pelusiac branch of  the Nile fits very well with the description on Kamose’s second stela of the women fearfully looking down from the roof of the palace to Kamose’s fleet on the river during his (unsuccessful) attack against Avaris. 116 More fresco fragments were found in Areas H/ II and H / III, ca. 200 m to the south west of area H/ I. Accord ing to the preliminar y repor ts, the architectura l remn ants probably belonged to two major structures, a Hyksos palace followed by an early 18th Dynasty one. 117 The fresco fragments in Area H/ II also came from mixed contexts and were dated by the excavators “either to the late Hyksos period or to the early 18th Dynasty.” 118 The only in situ finds of lime plaster were made in Area H/ III. On the lowerm ost part of the facade of the Hyksos period building, lime plaster without preserved representative painting but “typical of  Minoan wall painting” was found.119 In the level of the early 18th Dynasty, fresco fragments

 ______________________  108 109

110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119

M. BIETAK, “Die Wandma lereien aus Tell el-Dabca/ Ezbet H elmi: Erste Eindrü cke,” Ägypten und Levante 4 (1994) 56. For th e use of fresco technique together with al secco technique, see  Ibid . 46. Tell el-Dabca: M BIETAK, “Avaris and Piramesse: Archaeological Exploration in the Eastern Nile Delta,” Proceedings of the British Academy 65 (1979) 218-68;  Idem, “Canaanites in the Eastern Nile Delta,” in A.F. RAINEY (ed.), Egypt, Israel, Sinai: Archaeological and Historical Relationships in the Biblical Period (1987) 41-56;  Idem,  Avari s, T he Capital of the Hyksos: R ecent Excavations at Tell el-Dabca (1996) 10-67. Ot her sites: W.G. DEVER, “Relations between Syria-Palestine and Egypt in the ‘Hyksos’ period,” in J.N. TUBB (ed.), Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Papers in Honour of O. Tu fnell (1985) 71, with re feren ces; C.A. REDMOUNT, “Pots and People in the Egyptian Delta: Tell el-Mashkuta and the Hyksos,” JMA 8.2 (1995) 61-89. M. BIETAK, “Minoan Wall-Paintings unearth ed at Ancient Avaris,” Egyptian Archaeology 2 (1992) 26-28. For the location of these areas and others which will be mentioned later, see the most recent published plans of Ezbet Helmi: BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 69, fig. 55. P. JÁNOSI, “Die stratigraphische Position un d Verteilung der minoischen Wandfragmente in den Grabungsplätzen H / I und H/ IV von Tell el-Dabca,” in  Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World , 63-71. P. JÁNOSI, “Tell el-Dab ca - Ezbet Helmi: Vorber icht über den Grabu ngsplatz H/ I (1989-1992) Ägypten u nd   Levante 4 (1994) 31, 37; Reconstruction: BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 71, fig. 58. BIETAK (supra n. 110);  Idem (supra. n. 108) 44;  Idem, “Connections between Egypt and the Minoan World: New Results from Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris,” in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant , 20; JÁNOSI (supra n. 113) 32;  Idem (supra n. 112) 66. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 26;  Idem (supra n. 108) 55-58;  Idem (supra n. 114) 20; JÁNOSI (supra n. 113) 27-33;  Idem (supra n. 112) 66. JÁNOSI (supra n. 113) 37 with n. 94. The relevant passage of the text of Kamose’s second stela: J.B. PRITCHARD (ed.),  Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament , 3rd edition (1969) 554; H ABACHI ( supra n. 22) 34. BIETAK (supra n. 114) 23; M. BIETAK and N. MARINATO S, “The Minoan Wall Paintings from Avaris,” in  Hyksos Egypt and the Ea stern Mediterranean World , 49; BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 70. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 49.  Ibid .


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

were found on both sides of a wall “concentrating around a portal.” 120 From the stratigraph ical eviden ce in Area H/ III, M. Bietak and N. Marinatos, in 1995, came to t he conclusion that “Minoan wall painting existed in Avaris both during the late Hyksos period and the ear ly 18th Dyna sty.”121 The fr agments from Area H/ I-H/ IV at Ezbet H elmi instantly created much sensation, since among the scenes depicted on them are spectacular representations of bull leaping so closely identified with Minoan cult and culture (Pl. VId).122 Ot her categories of motifs on t he fragments having parallels in the Aegean are those representing elements of the landscape, like bar ren hills,123 ‘Easter egg’ pebbles which are ver y much a Minoan iconographic for m (Pl. VId, upper left),124 and plants, most of which are at hom e in th e Aegean an d in Egypt an d are represented in b oth ar ts, but some o f which are alien to Egypt an d are not d epicted in Egyptian

 ______________________  120 121 122

123 124

 Ibid .; M. BIETAK, “Le début de la XVIIIe Dynastie et les Minoens à Avaris,”  Bulletin de la Société Française d’Égyptologie 135 (1996) 14. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 49. BIETAK (supra n. 110) figs. on pp. 26-27;  Idem (supra n. 108) 46-49, frontispiece, pls. 15-16; BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 49-54, figs. 2-4. As to th e close iden tification of bull leaping with Mino an cu lt and culture, cf. MARINATOS ( supra n. 81) 218-20; Eadem, “The ‘Export’ Significance of Minoan Bull-Hunting and Bull-Leaping Scenes,”  Ägypten un d Levante 4 (1994) 98-93; L. MORGAN, “Minoan Painting and Egypt: The Case of Tell el-Dabca,” in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, 40, with re ferences in n. 97; M.C. SHAW, “Aegean Sponsors and Artists: Reflections of their Roles in the Patterns of Distribution of  Themes and Representational Conventions in the Murals,” in Techne, 497-99. D. COLLON, “Bull-Leap ing in Syria,” Ägypten und Levante 4 (1994) 81-88, has suggested t hat t he Minoan bull-sports h ad t heir imm ediate antecedent s in Syria, where a group of glyptic repre sentations dep ict bull-sport s. The only example from a datable archaeological context is a seal impression from the Level VII palace at Alalakh, Ibid . 81, pl. 1,2. Thus the terminus ante quem is formed by the d estruction o f Alalakh VII in the later 17th centu ry or aroun d 1600 BC (cf. supra with n n. 20-23). For stylistic reaso ns, Collon argu es that the seal was prob ably mad e around 1700 BC, perh aps in a royal workshop in Aleppo; see D. COLLON, “The Aleppo Workshop: A Seal cutter’s Workshop in Syria in th e Second Half of the 18th Cen tur y B.C.,” Ugarit-Forschungen 13 (1982) 33-43. Since Collon is using a rather high version of the middle chronology, the date may be lowered to the first ha lf of the 17t h centu r y BC. As op po sed to Collon’s suggestion, we would agr ee with BIETAK (supra n. 108) 56-57, ARUZ (supra n. 84) 36-39, and SHAW, op. cit . 499 n. 104, in seeing Minoan influence in those Syrian seal repre sentations. As Aruz has pointed out, the se and o ther seals of Collon’s ‘Aleppo’ group show decisive stylistic innovations: the an imals break away from any ground line and the setting of the scene, t he trad itional schemes of composition, are igno red. As to the bu ll leaping scenes, in two of them , on the Alalakh VII sealing and on a cylinder seal, formerly in the Erlenmeyer collection, now on loan to the Metropolitan Museum (COLLON,  Ägypten u nd Levante 4 [supra] pl. 1,3; ARUZ [ supra n. 84] 37 fig. 16, 38 figs. 17 an d 19), the bull-leapers are symm etrically doub led in an un realistic way, app arently ind icating t hat the iconographic motif was adopted from Crete, but probably not the actual ritual sport of bull-leaping. Bietak sees some prob lem in the fact that we do not h ave contemp or ary bull-leaping scenes from Crete. But when adopting the high Aegean chronology —to which the present authors are tending —this problem disappears and the Syrian seals in question are roughly contemporary to the oldest preserved Minoan rep resent ation of actu al bu ll-leapin g from th e MM III-LM IA Knossian Temp le Repositor ies; cf. A.J. EVANS, PM III (1930) 218, fig. 149. As to th e dat ing of the Tem ple Repo sitories in MM IIIB - LM IA, see I. PINI, “The Hieroglyphic Deposit and the Temple Repositories at Knossos,” in T.G. PALAIMA (ed.),  Aegean Seals, Sealings and Administration. Proceedings of the NEH-Dickson Conference of the Program in Aegean Scripts and  Prehistory of the Department of Classics, University of Texas at Austin , Janu ary 11-13, 1989. Aegaeum 5 (1990) 46-53; NIEMEIER (supra n. 24) 79. The date of th e MM IIIB-LM IA tran sition accord ing to the Aegean h igh chron ology is ca. 1700/ 1680 - 1675/ 50 BC; see MANNING (supra n. 58) 217-20. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 33 pointing to para llels from Kea and Ther a. The fragment m entione d by Morgan is now published in a water colour: BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) fig. 15. Another example: BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 59, fig. 14. For the ‘Easter egg’ peb bles being a Minoan iconographic form, see MORGAN (supra n. 89) 34; Eadem (supra n. 122) 33.



art, like lilies125 and possibly olive trees (if Bietak’s identification is correct).126 The animals in the Ezbet Helmi paintings, lions, leopards, antelopes, and dogs, are all found in Egyptian as well as in Aegean ar t.127 But th eir f lying gallop is a typical moveme nt expressing animal speed in Aegean ar t and not introdu ced to Egypt be fore late in the Hyksos per iod.128 Two animals at home in the Nile and often depicted in Egyptian art, the crocodile and the hippopotamus,129 do n ot appear in the Ezbet Helmi fragments yet known. Fragment s of the wings of two griffins, one large-scale and one small-scale, have been identified at Ezbet Helmi.130 Of both wings, only the upper e dge is pre served. Thus it is not cer tain if the wings had ‘notched p lumes.’ But the h anging spirals appear to ind icate that th e gr iffins were of  Aegean type. Most recently the h ead of the smaller griffin has been identified.131 As to th e rep resentations of human figures, beards like th at painted in par allel lines on the fragment of a near life-size head 132 very seldom appear in Aegean wall painting.133 But other features of the head have good parallels in Aegean wall painting, like the internal markings in sinu ous lines of the ear as well as the eye of a mor e roun ded type th an in Egypt ian art an d with the iris and pup il painted in red ochre with a black dot.134 Bietak and Marinatos interpret the head as that of an Aegean bearded priest, with comparisons to a number of  representations o n sealstones.135 Two men of small size, painted against a facade, have been identified as belonging to the same composition,136 which, accord ing to Bietak an d Marinato s, was probably a procession like that of the north wall of the Theran miniature fresco or that on the Kea miniatures.137 The movement and the position of the arms of the ‘runner’ is compar able to that o f the m an o n a fr agment of th e Tylissos miniature fresco,138 as well as of  the ‘Captain of th e Blacks’139 and anothe r m ale figure on Knossian fresco fragments.140 Two rather well preserved bull leapers from two different compositions have Minoan hairstyles, with long curly hair, and wear a br acelet on th e up per arm (one on Pl. VId, lower left).141 This

 ______________________  125 126

127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 14 0 141

 Ibid . with references in n. 32; illustration: BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 59 fig. 14. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 45-46, no. F 1, pl. 14 A. Th e earliest find s of olives in Egypt d ate from th e 14th centur y BC and it may not h ave been planted u ntil yet later; see. L. MANNICHE, An Ancient Egyptian Herbal (1989) 128-29. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 33-34 doub ts the olive tree identification and thinks that myrtle may be dep icted. Myrtle is thou ght to have been u sed by the Egyptians for its medicinal and aro matic prop ert ies, but is not generally included among the garden plants of Egyptian wall paintings; see MORGAN (supra n. 122) 34 with references in n . 43. In Aegean wall painting, myrtle appears rat her o ften (if correctly identified); see  Ibid . 33-34 with references in nn. 39-42. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 34-36. Published are th e fragmen ts of a leopard : BIETAK (supra n. 108) 50-51, no. F 9, pl. 19 A; BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 61, fig. 16; of an antelope: BIETAK (supra n. 114) 24, pl. 4.1; and of a dog: BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 55, fig. 6. KANTOR, 92-97, 106-107; Interconn ections, 26, 77, 155; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 113-17; MORGAN (supra n. 122) 36-38. See E. BRUNNER-TRAUT, “Krokodil,”  Lexikon der Ägyptologie III (1980) 791-802; L. STÖRK, “Nilpferd,”  Lexikon der Ägyptologie IV (1982) 501-506. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 52-53, nos. F 15 (small-scale) and F 32 (large-scale) pl. 21 A-B. See BIETAK (supra n. 120) 22, fig. 12. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 49, no. F 6, pl. 17 A; BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 55-56, fig. 7. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 38, with reference in n . 78, knows only one example in th e min iature fresco from Thera. Cf.  Ibid . 38, with references in nn. 76-77. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 55-56, figs. 8-9. Cf. also the ‘por tr ait’ seal repre sentat ions of  priests, J.H. BETTS, “The Seal from Shaft Grave Gamma,” TUAS  6 (1981) 74-83, with references; MARINATOS ( supra n. 81) 128-29, figs. 89-91. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 55-57, figs. 9. 10. T her a: MARINATO S (supra n. 41) 59-60, fig. 38; DOUMAS ( supra n. 41) pl. 79. Kea: L. MORGAN, “Island Iconogr aphy: Ther a, Kea, Milos,” in TAW  III, vol. I, 254-57, figs. 1-4. M.C. SH AW, “The Miniature Fresco of Tylissos reconsidered,” AA (1972) 172 no . 3, 174 fig. 3, 184 fig. 13. EVANS (supra n. 37) colour p l. XIII opp osite p . 756. A.J. EVAN S, The Knossos Fresco Atlas (1967) pl. VI, fig. 11. BIETAK (supra n. 108) frontispiece, pls. 15 B. 16.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

is a typical Mino an custom,142 as is also the wearing of a seal at the wrist by one of t he t wo.143 On the latter, a kilt of Minoan type is also preserved, 144 as are the white boots. More white boots with parallels in the Aegean are extant on other fragments.145 As pointed out by L. Morgan, the fact that the Keftiu in Egyptian tombs are depicted wearing white boots shows that the latter were characteristic of Aegean men .146 Further, ther e are fragment s of at least three acrobats from Ezbet Helmi, apparently performing in a grove of palm trees, of which one is published. 147 Acrobats occur in Minoan as well as in Egyptian art, 148 but th e acrobat of the published fragment wears a Minoan kilt, white boots and a headgear of Minoan type with a waz-lily.149 The so-called ‘African’ on a fresco fragment from Thera, recently reconstructed by Marinatos as an acrob at wearing a plumed headgear and per form ing next to a palm tree,150 forms a parallel in Aegean wall painting. Associated with the bull leaping scenes of t he fragments integrated in th e recon struction on Pl. VId are two interesting or name nts: a maze-like or labyrinth pattern as backgroun d an d a half-rosette and triglyph frieze as dado. 151 Maze-like patterns occur in Egypt and in the Aegean,152 but the half-rosette and triglyph frieze is a characteristic Aegean motif 153 with religious con notat ion.154 Thus all motifs of the fresco fragments from area H/ I and H / IV at Tell el-Dab ca/ Ezbet Helmi have par allels in the Aegean. Severa l of them also occur in Egypt ian art, bu t others are of distinctive Aegean char acter: the bu ll leaping, the f lying gallop, the dress and jewellery, the triglyph and rosette frieze. 4. The Re-exam inat ion of th e Alalakh Frescoes (1994-1996)

After all these exciting fresco fragments had been found at Tel Kabri and Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris, it was even more of a desider atum to restu dy th e Alalakh fragment s. For some time we had tried to find them, and had even travelled to the Antakya museum where most of the find s from Alalakh are kept. But then Aharon Kemp inski heard from P.R.S. Moorey that the fresco fragments found by Woolley in Yarim-Lim’s palace of Alalakh Level VII are kept in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, to which they were handed in 1957 by the British Museum in Lo nd on. Th is was for us an irony of fate, since we had visited the Ashmolean several times for studies in the collection and in the Evans archive, but we had always gotten stuck in the Evans room and had never entered the next room in which the Alalakh fragment s are exhibited. Participation at t he Spring 1994 Oxford colloquium in

 ______________________  14 2 143

144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154

Cf. M. EFFIN GER,  Minoischer Schmuck  (1996) 62, with references. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 15 B (photograph);  Idem (supra n. 114) pl. 1,1 (water colour). As to the Minoan custom of wearing seals at the wrist, see J.G. YOUNGER, “Non-Sphragistic Uses of Minoan-Mycenaean Sealstones and Rings,” Kadmos 16 (1977) 141-59;  Idem, “Representations of Minoan-Mycenaean Jewellery,” in EIKVN , 272-73; EFFINGER (supra n. 142) 85-86. As to p eculiarit ies of the Tell el-Dabca bull-leaper with the seal at the wrist which led Younger to dou bt t hat it was painted by a Minoan artist, see infra with n. 247. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 16. As to P. Rehak’s view accord ing to which this kilt is a miscomp reh en ded Minoan ‘breechcloth,’ see infra with n. 260. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 52, no. F 13, pl. 20 B; as to its identification as a boot, see MORGAN (supra n. 122) 39 with references to parallels from Knossos, Tylissos, and Melos.  Ibid . 39. On the bo ots in the Keftiu representat ions, see J. VERCOUTTER,  L’Égypte et le monde égéen  préhellénique (1956) 289-95, pls. XXX-XXXIV. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 49-50, no. F 7, pl. 17 B;  Idem (supra n. 114) 24, pl. 3,1. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 35, 39-40, fig. 4-6. Se e r efe re nce s in  Ibid . 39, with references in nn. 84-85. N. MARINATOS, “The ‘African’ of Thera reconsidered,” OpAth 17 (1988) 137-41; Eadem, Acrobats in Minoan  Art  (forthcoming). See the photographs of the actual fragments, BIETAK (supra n. 108) 47-48, no. F 4, pls. 14 D, 15 B, p. 51, no. F 10, pl. 18 B. Anoth er fragm ent shows a diagonal m aze-like patter n: Ibid . 46, no. F 2, pl. 14 B, C. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 43-44, with references in nn. 149-52. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 51 with references in n. 140; SHAW (supra n. 1 22) 499-504. EVANS (supra n. 37) 605-608; W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Zur Deutung des Thronraumes im Palast von Knossos,”  A M  101 (1986) 84-85; SH AW (supra n. 122) 500.



honour of Sinclair Hood, who as a young archaeologist had been Woolley’s collaborator at Alalakh in 1947-1948,155 gave us the opportunity to study the Alalakh fragments and to discuss them with distinguished colleagues. 156 We shall discuss here two groups of fragments for which we have produced new reconstructions. A restored panel, probably coming from t he NE part of th e salon, has at the upper edge a horizontal violet band framed by two yellow-brown ones outlined in black. 157 Near to the left edge of the panel, the yellow-brown horn of a bull is preserved and above it, on t he corn er of the restored panel, part of the black cur ved outline of an object. The exact upr ight po sition of the h orn appear s to indicate that not a living animal but rat her an isolated bull’s head or a bucranium, seen from the front, was represented, as suggested by Woolley. 158 He found it tempt ing to see in t he bu ll design an analogy with Knossos, but then preferred a north-Syrian origin for the motif, pointing to the tradition of the frontal bull’s head going back to the potter y of the Tell Ha laf culture. To our kn owledge there is, however, no continu ity with regard to t he front al bull’s head m otif in the Near East between Tell Ha laf and the wall paintings from the palace of the 15th centur y BC at Nuzi,159 where th is mot if possibly is influenced by Minoan prototypes.160 In Crete, frontal bulls’ heads are to be found on seals from MM IB-II on 161 (high chron ology: ca. 1925/ 1900 - 1750/ 20 BC; low chrono logy: 19th centur y - ca. 1700/ 1650 BC), in vase painting from MM III on 162 (high chronology: ca. 1750/ 20 - 1700/ 1680 BC; low chrono logy: ca. 1700/ 1650 - 1600 BC), as also in wall painting.163 What was the rounded object between the horns of the Alalakh fragment? Representations of frontal bulls’ heads and (more seldom) bucrania with rounded objects frequen tly occur in Aegean art . In Mino an vase painting, seal repre sentation s, and t hin golden cut-outs from Shaft Grave IV at Mycenae influenced by Minoan iconography, we see double axes between t he h orn s,164 while on inlaid m eta l vessels we find ro settes instead o f the double axes.165 The curve of the black object at the edge of the Alalakh fresco fragment in question is rat her f lat. If recon structed a s a rosette, this would be ver y large. Thu s we consider th e recon struction as a double axe to be mo re probable (Pl. VIe). If this is cor rect, it would form strong evidence for a Minoan character of th e fresco.

 ______________________  155 156 157 158 15 9 160 161

162 163



H.V.F. WINSTONE, Woolley of Ur: The Life of Sir Leonard Woolley (1990) 249-56. Beside P.R.S. MOOREY, to whom we are gr ateful for all his help, these colleagues were P.P. BETANCOURT, R. LAFFINEUR, N. MARINATOS, O. N EGBI, J. SCHÄFER, W. SCHIERING, a nd J. WEINGARTEN. For a colour photograph of the fragment, see NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n . 6) pl. 12. WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 231. R.F.S. STA RR,  Nu zi (1937/ 39) 143-44, pls. 128-29; Interconn ections, 33, 113-14, fig. 51. Cf. CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 175-76, 188. MM IB-II: P. YULE, Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology (1980) 123-24, pl. 4, mot if 3 A. MM III-LM I: A. ONASSOGLOU,  Die ‘talismanischen’ Siegel. CMS Sup pl. 2 (1985) 120-28, pl. XLVI. LM I: J. WEINGARTEN, “Aspects of Tradition and Innovation in the Work of the Zakro Master,”  L’iconographie minoenn e.  BCH  Supp l. XI (1985) 169-73, fig. 1. J.H. CROU WEL and W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Eine knossische Palaststilscherbe mit Bukranion -Darstellung aus Mykene,” AA (1989) 6-7, figs. 3-4. EVANS (supra n. 37) 742, fig. 475;  Idem (supra n. 122) 40-41, fig. 25 a, d. According to Evans, these bulls’ heads formed ornaments on garments of large, seated female figures, whereas STEVENSON SMITH ( Interconnections, 80) thou ght that t hey may have belonged to re presentation s of architecture. If this is tru e, they reproduce much larger prototypes. Vase painting: CROUWEL and NIEMEIER (supra n. 162) 7, figs. 3-4. Seal rep resent ation s: EVANS (supra n. 37) 619, n. 1; N. PLATON and I. PINI, CMS II.3: Irakleion, Archäologisches Mu seum, Die Siegel der   Neupalastzeit (1984) 14, n o. 11; M.A.V. GILL, in I. PINI, CMS XI: Kleinere europäische Sammlun gen (1988) 268, no . 259; V.E.G. KENNA and E. THO MAS, CMS XIII: Nordamerika II, kleinere Sammlungen (1974) 17, no. 15. Golden cut-outs from Shaft Grave IV: KARO ( supra n. 100) 91-92, nos. 353-54, pl. 44. As to th e Minoan influence in these pieces, cf. E.T. VERMEULE, The Art of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae (1975) 48-49. VERCO UTTER (supra n. 146) 306, pl. 35, no. 231 (representation of a silver Keftiu cup in the tomb of  Senmut in Egyptian Thebes); E.N. DAVIS, The Vapheio Cups and Aegean Gold and Silver Ware (1977) 118-23, no. 24, fig. 95, 263-66, no. 109, figs. 210-12.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Two other fresco pieces had been found together in situ as fallen from the salon. 166 Woolley thought that “if they do not actually fit one to the other they must be practically continuous.” He saw on on e of the fragments the tr unk, and on the oth er th e foliage, of a tree. W. Stevenson Smith recon structed in a drawing the tree imagined by Woolley.167 This recon struction has been accepted an d re-illustrated by sever al scholars, includ ing ourselves.168 Nevertheless it is wrong, as our investigations demonstrated. 169 The fragment on the r ight in Stevenson Smith’s recon struction is rep rod uced mu ch too sma ll. Moreover, it has to be rotated n inety degrees, as indicated by a ladder pattern which also occurs near t he u pper edge of the other fragment. At first we thought th at the ladder p attern of the fragment to be turn ed would be the continuation of the ladder p attern o n th e other fragment . Ther e, a wavy white band with d oubled outline ‘hangs down’ from the ladder p attern. This is an example of a characteristic Minoan phenomenon called “umschliessende Bildform” (encircling composition) by W. Schiering,170 “concentric composition” by Stevenson Smith,171 an d “all-embracing landscape” by S.A. Immerwahr,172 in which terrain motifs also project from above. As Schiering has demo nstr ated, the multiple wavy outlines of these pro jection s are influenced by the marbling of gypsum slabs. 173 Next to the ladder pattern of the other fragment, we d istinguished a d ifferent ter rain m otif: tight rou nd ed u nits representing pebbles or boulders.174 Similar terrain motifs can be seen on the bases of a faience panel from the Knossian Temple Repositories showing an agrimi (Cretan wild goat) suckling her calf, 175 of  the LM IB-II relief fresco with the charging bull from the Northern Entrance Passage at Knossos, 176 and of the bull-hunt and bull-tethering scenes of the two Vapheio gold cups. 177 Th e reliefs of th e Vaph eio cups are especially interesting, since m otifs comp arable to the wavy band of the other Alalakh fragment are hanging down from the upper edges of their friezes. E.N. Davis has interpreted these hanging motifs as representations of clouds, 178 but t his is not certain.179 Be that as it may, the ‘pebbles’ and ‘clouds’ of the Vapheio cups form interesting par allels to th e correspon ding motifs on t he t wo Alalakh fresco fragment s. Thu s we had identified the lower and the u pper edge of the frieze. But what was depicted in th e frieze? Here we had a great surpr ise. When having a closer look on t he suppo sed foliage of the tr ee we realized that it shows the ‘notched plum e’ mot if, and thus th e ‘foliage’ in fact is the wing-tip of a griffin. On t he other fr agment, we identified mo re ‘notched p lume’ motifs from the lower, nar rower par t of the wing, as well as part s of the gr iffin’s white body. Our recon struction (Pl. VIf) shows a reclining griffin of Aegean t ype. As in our recon struction, ladder pattern s are fram ing Knossian and Ther an frescoes from above and/ or below.180 The slender curved lines in groups of three above the ladder pattern of the left fragment,

 ______________________  166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 18 0

WOOLLEY (supra n. 3) 230-31, pls. 36 b, 37 b-c.  Interconn ections, 103, fig. 137. NUNN (supra n. 25) 93, fig. 171; NIEMEIER ( supra n. 5) 193-94, pl. 46 c; E.H. CLINE, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: Minoans an d Mycenaeans ab road,” in Politeia, 269. Which are more thoroughly described in NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6). SCH IERING (supra n. 8) 3.  Interconn ections, 73-77. IMMERWAH R ( supra n. 24) 41-42. W. SCHIERING, “Steine und Malerei in der minoischen Kunst,” JdI  75 (1960) 26-34; Idem (supra n. 8) 9-11. See the colour-photograph in NIEMEIER and NIEMEIER (supra n. 6) pl. 19. EVANS (supra n. 24) 510, fig. 366. As to the MM IIIB-LM IA dating of the Temple Repositories, cf. supra n. 122. EVANS (supra n. 122) 171-72, fig. 115;  Idem (supra n. 43) 16-17, fig. 8. As to th e pro bable LM IB-II datin g, see B. K AISER, Untersuchungen zum minoischen Relief  (1976) 287-89. S. MARINATOS and M. HIRMER, Kreta, Thera und das mykenische Hellas (1973) pls. 200-207; DAVIS ( supra n. 165) figs. 1-10. Roll-out o f the e ntire co mp osition s: F. SCHACHERMEYR, Die min oische Kultu r des alten Kreta (1964) pl. 49 b-c. DAVIS (supra n. 165) 20-23. See WALBERG (supra n. 8) 129-30. Kn o sso s: EVA NS (supra n. 24) 549, fig. 400; IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) pls. 22, 41, 43. Th er a: DOUMAS (supra n. 41) 174-75, pls. 136-37.



interpreted as stalks of missing flowers by Woolley, instead formed part of the imitation of  stone inlays combined in some Minoan frescoes with ladder pattern frames. 181 5. The Problem of the Date of the Tell el-Dab ca Frescoes

From 1990 on, we suggested that the Kabri and the Alalakh frescoes were painted by travelling Aegean specialists,182 and from 1992 on Bietak and Marinatos did th e same for th e Avaris frescoes.183 Following the identification of the Hyksos as Canaanites and the initial dating of the fresco fragments from Ezbet Helmi Areas H/ I and H / IV to the late Hyksos period, they have, together with the Alalakh and Kabri frescoes, been interpreted by a series of scholars as a phenomenon of the Hyksos period and have caused speculation about some possible special relationship b etween t he Can aanites/ Hyksos of the later Syro-Palestinian Middle Bronze Age and the Minoan world. 184 Until most recently Bietak belonged to this group of scholars,185 editing the Metropolitan Museum Symp osium of November 1993 on th e topic “Trade, Power and Exchange: Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World.” 186 Before we discuss the possible background and reasons for this fascinating ph eno menon, we have to con sider t wo aspects shaking this scenar io. Th e first aspect has been pro duced by Bietak himself. As discussed supra, for several years he had dated the fresco fragments from Ezbet Helmi Area H/ I and H/ IV to the late Hyksos period, whereas according to him frescoes certainly to be dated to the early 18th Dynasty had been only found in Area H/ III. The refore, the participants in a colloquium in memo r y of Aharon Kempinski in November 1995 in Jerusalem were rather surprised and confused when in his paper Bietak, without giving furt her explanation, changed the dating of the fragments from Area H/ I and H/ IV to the early 18th Dynasty. In a Post Scriptum to the 1995 preliminar y repor t on th e Avaris frescoes, Bietak and Marinatos stated “that excavations in 1994 and 1995 opened the possibility to date th e platform construction H / I perhaps into the ver y beginning of the 18th Dynasty.”187 In his most recent publications of 1996, Bietak now firmly ascribes the palatial fortress in Area H/ I to Ahm ose, after his conquest of Avaris, and — dismissing th e stratigraphical evidence according to which fresco painting existed in Tell el-Dab ca/ Ezbet Helmi in the Hyksos period as well as in the early 18th Dynasty188 —dates all Avaris fresco fragments to the early 18th Dynasty. 189 Confusingly, he in the same year, however, edited without any change a paper given in a 1992 conference by the actual excavator of the mon ument al platform in Area H/ I, P. Jánosi, in which the latter m aintains the late H yksos period dating of the structure, 190 whereas Bietak himself changed the late Hyksos date of the structu re given in h is 1992 Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology at th e British Museum for th e 1996 publication of that lecture to the early 18th Dynasty. 191

 ______________________  181 182 183 184

185 186 187 188 189 190 191

For instance: IMMERWAHR (supra n. 24) pls. 41-42. Accord ing to EVANS (supra n. 24: 312-14;  Idem [supra n. 122] 211, n. 2), these imitations of stone inlay are a variant of the scale pattern used as a conventional indication o f rocks. NIEMEIER (supra n. 32);  Idem (supra n. 5) 192-99;  Idem (supra n. 106) 2-11. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 27-28;  Idem (supra n. 108) 55;  Idem (supra n. 114) 26; BIETAK and MARINATOS (supra n. 117) 60. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 192-200; Idem (supra n. 106) 9-11; V. H ANKEY, “Egypt, t he Aegean and th e Levant,” Egyptian Archaeology 3 (1993) 28-29; CLINE (supra n. 168) 267-70; M.J. MELLINK, “New Perspectives in the Hyksos per iod,” in Hyksos Egypt an d the Eastern Mediterranean W orld , 86-87; MORGAN (supra n. 122) 29, 44; P.M. WARREN, “Minoan Crete and Pharaonic Egypt,” in Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant , 4-5, 13. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 55-58;  Idem (supra n. 114) 26; BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 60-61. Pu blished in  Ägypten u nd Levan te 5 (1995). BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 62. See supra with nn. 119-21. BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 75-76;  Idem (supra n. 120) 13-14 with n. 31. P. JÁNOSI, “Die Fundamentp lattform eines Palastes (?) der späten Hyksoszeit in Ezbet H elmi (Tell el-Dab ca),” in M. BIETAK (ed.),  Haus und Palast im Alten Ägypten, In ternationales Symposium, 8.-11. A pril 1992 in Kairo (1995) 93-98. BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 67-83.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Scholars have reacted to this re-dat ing in two ways. Some accept it without furt her comment,192 others —to which the present authors belong —are rather perplexed and skeptical. E.H. Cline, belonging to the latter category, states that “Bietak’s decision to redate the relevant str ata (C/ 1-3) at Tell el-Dabca is rather sudd en, to say the least” and suggests “that the rest of the scholarly community might consider giving the Tell el-Dab ca excavators some breathing room” and should “wait until they have concluded their excavations in the relevant areas of the site, and have published all of their raw data, including sectional drawings and enough strat igraph ical evidence to firmly date th e frescoes and oth er p ertinent artifacts, both to their satisfaction and to ours.”193 We symp ath ize with Cline’s suggestion . Since we have, however, taken the task to summarize in this conference the state of research on Minoan frescoes in the eastern Mediterranean, and because Bietak’s redating —if it is correct —has consider able con sequences, we must here d iscuss the evidence for it. Th e arguments as yet pu t for ward by Bietak are t he following: 1. The or ientation of the foundation o f the palatial fortr ess in Area H/ I is the same as that of the ear ly 18th Dynasty palatial compound in Areas H/ II-III, while it is oblique to t he orientation o f the late Hyksos period stratum .194 2. The foundation in H/ I resembles the substru cture of the so-called “Souther n Palace” and “Nort her n Palace” at Deir e l-Ballas in a com plex interpreted by its excavator, P. Lacovara, as a military residence of the late 17th Dynasty during the war against the Hyksos and abandoned after the conquest of Avaris by Ahmose. 195 3. “It would ... be more easy and economic to explain the presence of the paintings within one stratum instead of two which are separated by a political break.” 196 As to the first argument, differences in orientation do not necessarily indicate chrono logical differences but may have top ogr aphical and ot her reasons.197 The orientation of the mon ume ntal platform in Area H/ I cor responds to the cur ve of the Pelusiac Branch of  the Nile just to the north of it.198 Borings by J. Dörner have shown that there are no older architectural remnants below the monumental platform.199 If the platform was not constructed d ur ing the Hyksos per iod, this strategically imp ort ant area of the Hyksos citadel at the bend o f the Pelusiac bran ch was not built up before th e 18th Dynasty. Th is would be inconsistent with t he d escription on Kamose’s second stela, accord ing to which women looked down from the palace’s roof to the river during his attack against Avaris. 200 If the palatial fortress on t he p latform of Area H / I did o nly have a ver y short p eriod o f use in t he early 18th Dynasty, as Bietak now thinks, 201 how is one to explain the evidence for different building periods, including repair work with stratified fresco fragments in the foundations? 202 If the

 ______________________  19 2 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202

Fo r in st an ce , SH AW (supra n. 122) 483; P. REHAK, “Interconnections between the Aegean and the Orient in the Second Millennium B.C.,”  AJA 101 (1997) 400; S.P. MORRIS, “From Thera to Scheria: Aegean Art and Narrative,” in Wall Paintings of Thera. E.H. CLINE, “Rich beyond th e Dreams of Avaris: Tell el-Dabca and th e Aegean World - A Guide for the Perplexed,” BSA 93 (1998; in pre ss). We would like to than k E.H. Cline for send ing us a copy of the p ape r before its pu blication. BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 68. BIETAK (supra n. 120) 8-11; P. LACOVARA, State and Settlement: Deir el-Ballas an the Development, Structure, and Function of the New Kingdom City, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Chicago (1993) 27. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 62. Cf., for instance, the discussion of the different orientations of the Mycenaean Kadmeia in Boeotian Thebes by H.W. CATLING, J.F. CHERRY, R.E. JONES and J.T. KILLEN, “The Linear B Inscribed Stirrup Jars and West Cr ete,”  BSA 75 (1980) 95-96. See the plan in BIETAK, Avari s (supra n. 109) 69, fig. 55. See JÁNO SI (supra n. 113) 27. Cf. supra with n. 116, and BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 70: “From this platform a magnificent view over the river could be obtained. Besides its military function this platform must also have had a palatial and perhaps even cultic purpose.”  Ibid . 68;  Idem (supra n. 120) 11. Cf. supra with n. 112.



building was not p artly destroyed o r d id not part ly dilapidate in connection with or after t he expulsion of the Hyksos,203 who was responsible for its destruction or dilapidation soon after its erection ? As to th e second argum ent, the similarity of the p latform in Area H/ I to the palaces at Deir el-Ballas had already been recognized in 1994 by P. Jánosi, 204 without imped ing him from dat ing the Avaris platfor m to th e late Hyksos period . Bietak himself conced es that similar substructures were foun d in th e H yksos level of Area H/ III, as well as on top of defensive structures at Ebla and Hazor, and that therefore a Near Eastern origin of this type of  construction cannot be ruled out.205 As to the third argument, earlier Bietak himself had regarded as possible that “trade ... links between Avaris and Crete ... might have survived a dynastic change and might have carried on into the 18th Dynasty, even after the fall of the Hyksos,”206 and t here is ind eed en ough eviden ce from histor y that t he kind of diplomatic and economic relations which apparently are behind these fresco paintings (see infra) can survive the changes of regimes. Now Bietak apparently no longer attaches importance to the diplomatic and economic relations between the Hyksos and the Minoan world, although he had earlier pointed to the Khyan lid from Knossos —thought to indicate diplomatic relations between the Hyksos and the Minoan ru lers —and ot her Hyksos per iod impor ts in the Aegean.207 According to Bietak, “king Ahmose, the founder of the 18th Dynasty and most prob ably the b uilder of the citadel of the early 18th Dynasty, fits part icularly well into the p icture of Minoan conn ections.”208 As evidence for this, Bietak points to the dagger and inlaid axe showing Aegean influence (flying gallop, crested g riffin with ‘notched plum e’ wings), inscribed with Ahmo se’s name, an d found in the tomb of the 17th Dynasty Queen Ahhotep, mother of both Kamose and Ahmose. 209 He imagines the possibility of a political deal between Ahmose and the “Minoan Thalassocracy” in which the Minoan fleet helped Ahmose —who had no fleet —against the danger still threatening from the Hyksos harbour bases in souther n Palestine.210 There is no archaeological or textual evidence for the latter hypothesis, and it recalls rather imaginative and today forgotten scenarios connected with the expulsion of the Hyksos, like those according to which Mycenaean mercenaries helped Ahmose in evicting the Hyksos, 211 or according to which fugitive Hyksos princes conquered the Argolid and subsequently were bur ied in th e Shaft Graves at Mycenae. 212 Moreover, Kamose and Ahmose already had a fleet:

 ______________________  203 204 205 206 207

208 209 210 211 212

As JÁNO SI ( supra n. 113) 38;  Idem (supra n. 112) 68-70 thinks. JÁNOSI (supra n. 113) 31. BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 68-70. BIETAK (supra n. 114) 26. BIETAK (supra n. 108) 55-56. As to th e Khyan lid pro bably being a diplom atic gift, cf. H. STOCK, “Der Hyksos Chian in Bogazköy,”  MDOG 94 (1963) 74-80. To the three Tell el-Yahudiyeh juglets probably from Thera mentioned by Bietak (op. cit . n. 168), add more recent finds from the Akrotiri settlement: fragments of MB IIB stone vessels (P.M. WARREN, “The Stone Vessels from the Bronze Age Settlement at Akrotiri, Thera,”  ArchEph [1979] 88-90, 106-107) and a Canaanite storage jar (S. MARINATOS, Excavations at Thera VII [1976] 30, pl. 49), with parallels in the MB IIB pottery group 4 from Kabri tomb 498 (cf. A. KEMPINSKI, “Some samples of Pottery from Tomb 498,” in A. KEMPINSKI [ed.], Excavations at Kabri 3: Preliminary Report of 1988 Season [1989] 31-35 [Hebrew] X-XI [English Summary] fig. 18, no. 9), as well as from the MB IIB Levels XI and X at Megiddo (cf. G. LOUD,  Megiddo II: Seasons of 1935-39 [1948] pls. 35 no. 2, 42 no. 2, 43 no. 1), and the MB IIB level 3 in Hazor Area C (cf. Y. YADIN et al.,  Hazor II: An Account  of the Second Season of Excavations [1956] 89-90, pl. CXIV, 1-6). BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 80. Cf. KANTOR, 63-66, 71-74, pl. XIII A; W. STEVENSON SMITH, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt , revised with add ition s by W.K. SIMPSON (1981) 219-22, f igs. 215-16. BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 80-81;  Idem (supra n. 120) 24-25. A.W. PERSSO N,  New Tombs at Dendra near Midea (1942) 1 78-96; F. SCHACHERMEYR, “Welche geschichtlichen Ereignisse führten zur Entstehung der mykenischen Kultur?,”  Archiv Orientáln i 17 (1949) 331-40. F.H. STUBBINGS, “The Rise of Mycenaean Civilisation,” Hi story of the Middle East and the A egean Region, CAH  , 3rd edition, Vol. II.1 (1973) 633-37.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Kamose att acked Avaris from ships,213 and Ahmose captured Avaris after a series of assaults by both land and water, as an Egyptian sea captain with the same name reports in a text inscribed in his tomb at el-Kab in Upper Egypt. 214 Accord ing to this report, after the capture of Avaris, Ahmo se proceeded to souther n Palestine an d besieged Sharuhen , most pr obably to be identified with Tell el-Ajjul,215 for t hree years before conqu ering it. Ther e apparent ly was no m ore dan ger from the Hyksos, since the ph araoh and h is captain then sailed to Nub ia. The two weapons from Ahhotep’s tomb certainly are not imported Aegean works, but are of Egyptian workmanship showing influence from the Aegean world. 216 The character of  this influence is not easy to detect, but the motif of the flying gallop as seen on the dagger was already introduced to Egypt during the Hyksos period, 217 possibly via Syria.218 In summary, in the present state of published evidence, we still consider it possible that the Avaris fresco fragments come from two different periods, the late Hyksos period and the early 18th Dynasty. 6. Travelling Aegean Fresco Painters?

Were the Alalakh, Kabri and Avaris frescoes painted by itinerant Aegean ar tists, as we as well as Bietak and Marin atos think? Sever al scholars have agreed to th is theor y,219 whereas oth ers are skeptical or refuse it. When V. Hankey thinks that “it is premature to attr ibute th e (Avaris) frescoes to Minoan art ists when ver y little is known abou t Near Eastern wall painting between those at Mari (18th century BC) and those from Alalakh VII, Tell Kabri and Tell el-Dab ca (17th to 16th century BC),”220 she is, of course, correct that our material is rather fragme ntar y. We would disagree , however, with he r argum ent that the Avaris frescoes are too gr and iose to be of Minoan or igin. 221 Gran diose wall decorations are not u nkn own in Minoan Crete. The East H all in t he p alace at Knossos was adorn ed in t he f irst per iod of its existence —dated to MM III —with magnificent stucco reliefs of bulls in life-size, together with some human figures.222 Some t ime in the LM I period, in LM IA223 or LM IB,224 the East Hall was remod eled into its final shape. The d ecorative schem e with hum an figures carr ying objects, female figures, at least one priestly figure in hide-dress, griffins of various sizes, and a huge ‘Snake Fram e’ certainly was ver y gran diose an d prestigious,225 as were also the impressive bu ll scenes (charging bulls and/ or b ull leaping) in t he West Porch and above th e Nor ther n

 ______________________  213 214 215

216 217 218 219

220 221 222 223 224 225

As the inscription of his second stela reports; cf. supra with n. 116. See the translation in PRITCHARD (supra n. 116) 233-34. Sharuh en ha s been identified with Tell el-Far’ah (South ) —see Y. YISRAELI, “Far’ah, Tell el- (South ),” in E. STERN (ed.), The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land  2 (1993) 441 —or Tell el-Ajjul —see KEMPINSKI (supra n. 20) 147-48. We consider the second suggestion to be the m ore pr obable one, since Tell el-Far’ah (South) is situated inland, whereas Tell el-Ajjul was the most important stronghold of the Hyksos in Souther n Palestine and is situated n ext to the sea. Thu s, the p articipation in the siege by the sea captain Ah mose m akes more sense when Sharuh en is ident ified with Tell el-Ajjul. Cf. STEVENSON SMITH (supra n. 209) 222; ARUZ (supra n. 84) 42-43. Cf.  Interconn ections, 155. Cf. ARUZ (supra n. 84) 40. O. NEGBI, “The ‘Libyan Landscape’ from Thera: A Review of Aegean Enterpr ises Overseas in the Late Minoan IA Period,” JMA 7.1 (1994) 87-88; ARUZ ( supra n. 84) 33. 43; E.H. CLINE, “‘My Brot her, My Sun,’ Rulership and Trade between the LBA Aegean, Egypt and the Near East,” in  Role of the R uler ,150;  Idem (supra n. 168) 267-69; E.N. DAVIS, in the  Discussion at the end o f Hyksos Egypt an d the Eastern M editerranean World , 128; MORGAN ( supra n. 122) 44; WARREN ( supra n. 184) 4-5. H ANKEY (supra n. 184) 28. V. HANKEY, “A Theban ‘Battle Axe’, Queen Aahotep and the Minoans,” Minerva 4.3 (1993) 13. KAISER (supra n. 176) 289-90. EVANS (supra n. 122) 496. KAISER (supra n. 176) 292.  Ibid . 279-82, 287-93; R. HÄGG AND Y. LINDAU, “The Minoan ‘Snake Frame’ Reconsidered,” OpAth 15 (1984) 75-77.



Entrance Passage in the Knossian palace.226 When S. Sher ratt thinks that t hose scholars who see in the Alalakh, Kabri and Avaris frescoes the work of Aegean craftsmen are mesmerized by an Aegeocentric view,227 th is suspicion could p ossibly count for Aegean archeo logists like E.N. Davis, L. Morgan, an d u s, but n ot for Ne ar Eastern archaeo logists like A. Kemp inski and O. Negbi, or an Egypt ian archaeo logist like M. Bietak. Sherr att states that “if Bietak had got to Dab ca, or Kempinski and Niemeier to Kabri, before Evans got to Knossos, I doubt if the question of a diaspor a of Aegean fresco artists to th e east would seriously have arisen.”228 The place of origin of objects of art is, however, not necessarily identical with their first findspot. Greek vases were, for instance, found in Etru ria before t hey were excavated in Greece an d were commonly called Etruscan during the 18th century.229 Vases of the 7th century Wild Goat Style were first found in Rhodes and for a long period of time designated as ‘Rhodian.’230 More recent scientific analyses and stylistic investigations have, however, demonstrated that Rhodes was not an important pottery production centre and that there were four producers of Wild Go at Style potter y: Miletus, Chios, Clazomenae and a furth er p lace in n ort hern Ionia, of which Miletus was the most important one.231 Following Sherratt’s scenario, I think that after Evans had gone to Knossos and Marinatos had gone to Thera, they and other scholars soon would have recogn ized that t he frescoes of Alalakh, Kabri, an d Avaris display a style very similar to the Knossian and the Theran ones, but very different from the styles of Egyptian and Levantine ar ts. The differences between the styles of Egyptian and Minoan arts have been analyzed by H.A. Groenewegen-Frankfort and, most recently, by M. Bietak. 23 2 According to Groenwegen-Frankfort, Minoan art differs from Egyptian (and ancient Near Eastern) art in its “absolute mo bility in organ ic forms.” Bietak aptly explains this with th e different cultur al patte rn s of both civilizations. Th e Minoan society was not —as the Egyptian one —dominated by writing, listing, and absolute order, and therefore Minoan art was not subjected to hieroglyph ic clichés and a rigid cano nical order. As to a com par ison of Canaan ite and Mino an arts, we unfortunately do not have many objects of art from the late Middle Bronze Age Levant. But tho se which are extant show a style distinctly different from t he Minoan o ne. For instance, the bird representations on bone inlays from Megiddo and Lachish 233 seem motionless in comparison to the crane on an ivory plaque from Palaikastro. 234 Canaanite female and m ale metal figur ines235 appear stiff in com parison to th e Minoan female and male meta l figurines displaying strong inner tension and dynamics.236

 ______________________  226 227 228 229 230 231

232 233 23 4 235 236

See B. and E. H ALLAGER, “The Knossian Bull —Political Propaganda in Neo-Palatial Crete?,” in Politeia, 547-48, with references. S. SHERRATT, “Comment on Ora Negbi, The ‘Libyan Landscape’ from Thera: A Review of Aegean Enterprises Overseas in the Late Minoan IA Period,”  JMA 7.2 (1994) 237-40, esp. 237.  Ibid . 238. Cf. B.A. SPARKS, The Red and the Black, Studies in Greek Pottery (1996) 47-50. Cf. R.M. CO OK, Greek Painted Pottery, 2nd ed. (1972) 117 P. DUPONT, “Natur wissenschaftliche Bestimmun g der archaischen Keramik Milets,” in M. MÜLLER-WIENER (ed.),  Milet 1899-1980: Ergebnisse, Probleme un d Perspektiven einer Au sgrabung. IstMitt Suppl. 31 (1986) 57-71; R.E. JONES, Greek and Cypriot Pottery: A Review of Scientific Studies (1986) 665-71; R.M. COOK, “The Wild Goat and Fikellura Styles: Some Speculations,” OJA 11 (1992) 255-66. H.A. GROENEWEGEN-FRANKFORT,  Arrest and Movement: An Essay on Time and Space in the  Representational Art of the An cient Near East  (1951)  passim , especially 195-205; M. BIETAK, “The Mode of  Representation in Egyptian Art in Comparison to Aegean Bronze Age Art,” in Wall Paintings of Thera. I. ZIFFER,  At the Time the Canaanites were in the Land  (1990) 23* fig. 1*, 28 fig. 24. MA RIN AT OS a nd H IRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 113 above. ZIFFER (supra n. 233) 79* fig. 39* (silver figurine of naked female from Megiddo), 114 fig. 130 (steatite mould from the Nahariya temple for casting goddess figur ines); O. NEGBI, Canaanite Gods in Metal (1976)  passim (male figur ines). C. VERLINDEN,  Les statuettes anthropomorphes crétoises en bronze et en plomb, du IIIe millénaire au VIIe siècle av.  J.-C. (1984) pls. 4-6, 16-18 (female), 7-15 (male).


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

In the preference for red backgrounds at both Alalakh and Tell el Dab ca/ Avaris, S. Sher ratt sees a difference to t he Aegean where, according to her, red background s are rare.237 In fact, red backgrounds are rather common in Minoan frescoes from MM III-LM I on, 238 an d also occur in Mycenaean frescoes.239 “The un usually large scale of the bull’s head at Alalakh” is considered by Sherratt an un-Aegean feature. 240 In our reconstruction (Pl. VIe), however, the bull’s head with ho rn s is only ca. 22 cms high and thus smaller t han , for instance, th e bulls’ heads on a jar from Pseira .241 Accord ing to J.G. Youn ger and M.C. Shaw,242 the fronta l face of the bu ll in a bull leaping scene from Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris243 is rather unusual. According to Shaw, in th e Aegean “bulls’ faces are not shown that way until later than the estimated date of the Tell el-Dab ca frescoes.” She cites two examp les from LM IB/ LH IIA find contexts: seal imp ressions from the destruction level of the Minoan ‘villa’ at Sklavokampos,244 and a bull on th e ‘quiet’ one of the two gold cups from the Vaph eio tholos.245 Th e find conte xts provide, however, only a terminus ante quem. For stylistic reason s, B. Kaiser d ated t he Vaph eio cups to LM IA or even little earlier.246 Moreover, Shaw uses the tr aditional low chronology. If using the revised high chronology (to which we tend), the Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris frescoes are contemp or ary with LM IB/ LH IIA. Anot her reason for Youn ger not to see genuin e Mino an works in th e Tell el-Dabca/ Avaris frescoes is that the two preserved bull leapers do not conform accurately to any of the poses reconstructed by Evans and himself. 247 This typology is, of course, not of Bronze Age date,

 ______________________  237 238

23 9 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247

SH ERRATT (supra n. 227) 237. Examples: The Saffron Gatherer fresco from Knossos: EVANS (supra n. 24) 265, pl. IV; new restoration: IMMERWAHR ( supra n. 24) pl. 11. Th e Lily fresco from Am nisos: MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) colour p l. 23. Both th e Saffron Gather er fresco and the Lily fresco are possibly of MM III date; for t he Saffron Gatherer, cf. NIEMEIER ( supra n. 24) 85, with references in n. 155; for the Lily fresco, cf. V. STüRMER, “Areal A: Die ‘Villa der Lilien,’” in J. SCHÄFER (ed.),  Amnisos nach den archäologischen, historischen und epigraphischen Zeugnissen des Altertums und der Neuzeit  (1992) 148-49. Th e Monkey fresco from th e H ouse of t he Frescoes at Kno ssos: EVANS (supra n. 37) 447, pl. X; M.A.S. CAMERON, “Unpublished Paintings from the ‘House of the Frescoes’ at Knossos,”  BSA 63 (1968) colour pl. A1 (MM III/ LM IA). The Sacral Knot fresco from Nirou Ch ani: S. XANTHOUDIDES, “Minoikon Megaron Nirou,”  ArchEph 1922, 11, fig. 9, and re storation in t he H erakleion Museum. The Yellow Lotus (?) fresco from stratum IIA of house 1 at Ialysos in Rhodes: M. MONACO, “Scavi nella zona micenea di Jaliso 1935-36,” Clara Rhodos X (1941) 88-89, pl. X; for the date see A. FURUMARK, “The Settlement at Ialysos and Aegean Histor y c. 1550 - 1400 B.C.,” OpArch 6 (1950) 153-66. Th e White Lily fresco from th e so-called first bu ilding per iod of Bron ze Age Miletus: M.-H. GATES, “Archaeo logy in Tu rkey,” AJA 100 (1996) 303, fig. 117; B. and W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Projekt ‘Minoisch-Mykenisches Milet’: Zielsetzung und Grabungen auf dem Stadionhügel und am Athenatempel 1994/ 95, AA (1997) 239, fig. 78 (LM IB). Th e Priest King re lief fresco from Knossos: EVANS ( supra n. 37) 775-90, pl. XIV (frontispiece); new reconstruction: W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Das Stuckrelief des Prinzen mit d er Federkron e aus Knossos und m inoische Gö tterdarstellungen,” AthM itt  102 (1987) 65-98; for the date, cf. KAISER ( supra n. 176) 284 (LM IB-II). Th e Griffin fresco from th e Throne Room in the palace at Knossos: A.J. Evans, The Palace of Minos at Knossos IV  (1935) 908-913, pls. XXXII-XXXIII (frontispiece); for the date, cf. W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Zur Deutung des Thronraumes im Palast von Knossos,” AthMitt  101 (1986) 67-68 (LM IB-II); IMMERWAHR ( supra n. 24) 94, 96-98 (LM II-IIIA:1). G . RO DEN WALDT, Tiryns II: Die Fresken des Palastes (1912) 217; M.L. LANG, The Palace of Nestor at Pylos in Western Messenia II: T he Frescoes (1969) 79-81, 43 H 6 and 44 H 6, pls. 125, A. SH ERRATT (supra n. 227) 237. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 81. J.G. YOUNGER, “Bronze Age Representations of Aegean Bull-Games III,” in Politeia, 516-18; M.C. SH AW, “Bull Leaping Scenes at Knossos and t heir In f luence on the Tell el-Dabca Murals,” in  Hyksos Egypt an d the Eastern Mediterranean World , 105. BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 15 B (photogr aph); Idem (supra n. 114) pl. 1,1 (water colour). S. MARINATOS, “To minoikon m egaron Sklavokampou,” ArchEph (1939-1941) 90, fig. 15. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 207; DAVIS ( supra n. 165) figs. 2, 8. KAISER (supra n. 176) 160-63. YO UNGER (supra n. 242) 517.



but rather invented by these two archaeologists.248 Not all representations fit in th eir schem e, such as, for instance, an unusual bull leaping scene on a gold ring from chamber tomb 4 at Antheia in Messenia.249 Youn ger certainly goes too far in suspe cting th e p iece —which was found in a reg ular excavation —of being a forger y, salted in the tomb to app ear aut hentic.250 One of the two Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris acrobats251 grasps the neck of the bull in a similar manner as the acrobat on a sealing from the Knossian Temple Repository.252 The other on e 253 may be the hitherto singular representation of a side leaper as suggested by Bietak and Marinatos.254 Anot her peculiarity is seen by Youn ger in th e cushion seal worn on the r ight wrist by the first bull leaper. It is the twelfth d epiction o f a sealstone worn at the wrist in an Aegean setting, “but the only one of a cushion seal (all the rest are lentoids), one of the two depictions with the seal worn on the right wrist (it is extremely common to wear seals or rings at the left wrist ...), and the only one worn by a problematic bull-leaper.” 255 The cushion is, however, also a characteristic Minoan seal shape. 256 Evidence from Minoan tombs demonstrates that not only lentoids were worn at the wrist, but also other seal types. 257 As convincingly argued by N. Marinatos, bull games provided an arena for display of the young men of the aristocracy.258 If so, why should n ot the young ar istocr ats have wor n t heir seals as status symbols, as does the Cup Bearer of the Knossian Procession fresco, 259 probably also a young aristocrat, and the ‘priest’ on a jasper lentoid from the Vapheio tholos?260 The latter is, by the way, the only representat ion of a ‘priest’ with a Syrian robe kn own to wear a seal at the wrist. Thus one should be very cautious in using statistics in Aegean iconography. P. Rehak interp rets th e kilt of t he second bull leaper as a misunderstand ing of a Minoan ‘breechcloth’ with a rigid codpiece of metal or leather, which makes it unlikely that this was painted by a Minoan artist. 261 We do not think, however, that this rigid codpiece actually existed. The feature is merely due to the often strong accentuation of the penis.262 The kilt of the Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris bull leaper is similar to th e kilts of the ‘officer’ and the ‘chieftain’ of the Chieftain Cup from Ayia Triada,263 and to the kilt of the man falling down alongside the charging bull on the ‘violent’ Vapheio cup.264 According to Rehak, “the heads of the Dab ca leapers are large in p ropor tion to their r ubber y bod ies: comp are th e lithe, even sinewy, musculature of Minoan figures.”265 The only leaper of which the head and most of the body is preserved is the ‘side leaper.’ I cannot see that its head is abnormally large in proportion. As to the bodies, one has to take into account the state of preservation of the very worn Tell

 ______________________  248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257

258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265

Cf. also the cr itical remarks by J. PINSENT, “Bull-Leaping,” in O . KRZYSZKOWSKA and L. NIXON (eds.),  Min oan Society: Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquiu m 1 981 (1983) 259-60. M. KOUMOUZELIS, in I. PINI, CMS V, Suppl. 1B (1993) no. 135, found on the floor of the tomb. YO UNGER (supra n. 242) 512, 530 no. 63. See illustrations cited supra n. 143. EVANS (supra n. 122) 218, fig. 149. See illustrations cited supra n. 144. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 51, 52, fig. 2. YO UNGER (supra n. 242) 517-18. Cf. YULE (supra n. 161) 44-46. M.S.F. HOO D, “Another Warrior-Grave at Ayios Ioannis near Knossos,” BSA 51 (1956) 85, 93- 94, no. 3, fig. 3, pl. 14 c-d; PLATON an d PINI ( supra n. 164) nos. 64 (amygdaloid) and 65; M.S.F. HOOD and P. de JONG, “Late Minoan Warrior Tombs from Ayios Ioann is and t he New Hospital Site,” BSA 47 (1952) 273-74, nos. III.22-23, 275, fig. 16, pl. 54; for the find position next to the wrist, see  Ibid . 251, fig. 6. We do n ot see any reason why cushion seals should not a lso h ave bee n worn at th e wrist. MARINATO S (supra n. 81) 218-20. EVANS (supra n. 37) pl. XII facing p. 756. P. REH AK, “The Aegean ‘Priest’ on CMS I.223,” Kadmos 33 (1994) 76-84. P. REHAK, “Aegean Breechcloth, Kilts and the Keftiu Paintings,” AJA 100 (1996) 39-41, with n. 29. Cf. H.-E. GIESECKE, “Kretische Schurze,” OpAth 17 (1988) 91-92. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 102; S. HOOD, The Arts in Prehistoric Greece (1978) 144, fig. 137. MARINATOS and HIRMER (supra n. 177) pl. 200 above; DAVIS (supra n. 165) fig. 7. For the reconstru ction of this kilt type, see GIESECKE (supra n. 262) 96-97, figs. 8-9, type IIId. REH AK (supra n. 192) 401.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

el-Dab ca/ Avaris fresco fragments. When looking at the photog rap hs of the original fragments, one re alizes that m uch of t he interior details of the bod ies are lost.266 Taking this into account, I do not find the bodies of the bull leapers more rubbery than, for instance, tho se of the f isherm en from t he West House at Akrotiri on Th era. 267 Shaw and Rehak argue that t he combinat ion of bulls and a geometric backdrop pattern (Pl. VId) is unusual. 268 For Rehak, it is even a “mo st un-Minoan concept.” We have, however, to consider that we only possess a very small fraction of the Minoan frescoes which actually existed. The fact that the combination of bulls and a geometric backdrop pattern is not a “most un-Minoan concept” is demonstrated by a cushion seal from Gournia with the representation of a bull with a ‘tectonic ornament’ as backdrop. 269 Rehak doubts th at th e Kabri f loor was painted by Minoan ar tists since “the f loral chains are really quite unlike anything attested in the Aegean.”270 Th is is not true. Flor al chains of  iris V-flowers exist in Minoan pottery decoration from at least LM II on. 271 As the examples of the festoon with crocus pendant and the ‘water sign’ motifs show, in Minoan art motifs can appear earlier in other media and only later in pottery decoration.272 Iris V-chains d ecor ate, for instance, the garm ent of one of the crocus gatherer s on th e fresco of room 3 b in Xeste 3 at Akrotiri on Thera, contemporary with LM IA. 273 If the Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos274 had been found in the Levant or in Egypt, would Rehak doubt that it was painted by a Minoan artist since it has no parallels in Crete? I do not see any peculiarities in t he Alalakh, Tel Kabr i, and Tell el-Dabca/ Avaris frescoes which would be so hybrid as to exclude the possibility that Minoan artists were involved in painting them. Style and icono gr aph y are ver y close to those of genuine Aegean fresco paintings and very far from an ything else known from th e Levant and Egypt. Th e relationship between style and ethnic identity is a complicated and controversial issue.275 We would agree with J.M. Hall that it is “hopeless to believe that archaeological evidence can identify ethnic groups in the past. Artifacts can, however, be taken and consciously employed as emblemic indicia of ethnic boundaries in much the same way as language or religion. The task, then, that should be reserved for archaeology, and for which it is well equipped, is to illuminate the ways in which ethnic groups actively employed material culture in marking boundaries that had already been discursively constructed.”276 In this sense, fresco painting in Minoan style and icono grap hy form in combination with Minoan r eligion (obvious to u s in special types of  sanctuaries as tripartite shrines, peak sanctuaries and cave sanctuaries, religious iconography and cult implements), Minoan domestic pottery, and Minoan language (Linear A script), eviden ce for the ethn ic boundar ies of the ‘Minoan s.’277 The existence of fresco paintings of  Minoan style and iconogr aphy in foreign countr ies and cultural surroun dings form eviden ce for an export beyond the ethn ic bound aries which has to be explained .

 ______________________  266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277

See, for instance, the ‘side leaper;’ BIETAK (supra n. 108) pl. 16. Of his face, only th e eye is visible; th e prof ile outline is lost, as pro bably also are inter ior d etails of the m uscles. DOUMAS ( supra n. 41) pls. 18-19. SH AW (supra n. 242) 110; REHAK ( supra n. 192) 401. PLATO N an d PINI (supra n. 164) no. 238. REH AK (supra n. 192) 401-402. As to th e f lora l chain s, see NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) pl. LI a-b. See W.-D. NIEMEIER, Die Palaststilkeramik von Knossos (1985) 63-64, 65 fig. 21:21. For LM IB pre dece ssors, see  Ibid , fig. 21:6, 8. See L. MORGAN, “Morp hology, Syntax and the Issue of Chron ology,” in J.A. MacGILLIVRAY and R.L.N. BARBER (eds.), The Prehistoric Cyclades, Contributions to a workshop on Cycladic Chronology (1984) 166-71, 172-75. DOUMAS (supra n. 41) fig. 156. P.M. WARREN, “The Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos,” in P. DARCQUE and J.-C. POURSAT (eds.),  L’iconographie minoenn e. BCH-Supp l. XI (1985) 187-208. See most recently S. JONES, The Archaeology of Ethnicity (1997) 110-16, 119-27; J.M. HALL, Ethnic Identity in Greek Antiquity (1997) 132-34.  Ibid . 142. Cf. R. HÄGG and N. MARINATOS, “Conclusions,” in  Min oan T halassocracy, 221-22; M.H. WIENER, “T he Isles of Crete? The Minoan Thalassocracy Revisited,” in TAW  III, vol. I, 128-60; W.-D. NIEMEIER, “A Linear A Inscription from Miletus (MIL Zb 1),” Kadmos 35 (1997) 87-99.



Sherratt thinks that the similarities in iconography between the Levantine and the Aegean frescoes should b e seen in term s of an intermed iary textile connection.278 As E.J.W. Barber has argued, there indeed appears to have been a textile exchange in the second millenn ium ea stern Mediterran ean in severa l directions: Syria to t he Aegean (the motifs of the griffin an d the sphinx may have come via em broider y from Syria to Crete)279 and t he Aegean to Egypt.280 Aegean textiles were an important component of international trade from early in the second millennium,281 and there is possible evidence for the appearance of figural motifs on Minoan textiles from the beginning of the New Palace period on. 282 According to Sherratt, “the links .... between the floral elements of the Kabri painted floor and Aegean pottery might equally plausibly be seen in terms of an intermediary textile connection.” 283 But what about the imitation of gypsum slabs on th e Tel Kabri f loor? This motif has nothing to do with textiles. Nor can t he Aegean landscape and architecture of the Tel Kabri min iature fresco fragme nts have been tr ansmitted via textiles. Moreover, it appe ars a stran ge scenar io to us that Aegean pictorial motifs should have been transmitted via textiles to the Near East and there copied by Near Eastern painters in the Aegean  fresco technique not at hom e in the Near East. The use of the  fresco technique in the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris murals, representing an isolated and rather short-lived element in the Levant and Egypt, form s, in com bination with the Aegean iconogr aphy and style, the strongest argu ment for t he suggestion that this phenomenon cannot be explained without direct reference to Aegean fresco p ainting ar tistry. There are various po ssibilities: the frescoes were painted by tr avelling Aegean artisans; they were painted under the supervision of Aegean artists with the assistance of Levantine painters trained by them; they were painted by Levantine painters trained by Aegean m asters. It is difficult to decide in each case which of these solution s is the cor rect on e. We would agre e with P.P. Betan court that on ly a ver y small percentage of th e fresco paintings is known and “that we are touching the tip of the iceberg of a whole series of  interrelated workshop s, working in Knossos, the Aegean island s, on the coast of Western Asia and in Egypt, perhaps travelling back and forth, perhaps occasionally exchanging personnel or going back to Knossos to learn the most recent things.” 284 7. The Alalakh, Tel Kabri and Tell el-Dab ca Frescoes Within the Eastern Mediterranean Koiné

As argued in an earlier paper, we see the phenomenon of the Alalakh and Tel Kabri frescoes (to which now the Tell el Dab ca/ Avaris frescoes are to be added) in t he fr amework of  diplomatic relations and gift exchange bet ween the ru lers in the ancient Near East, in which the rulers of Crete whose palaces “appear to be at the West end of a long line of palaces, palace-temples and temples stretching to the East as far as the Euphrates and the Tigris”285 were involved.286 This has been d oubted by Mann ing et al. on t he grou nds that “it has yet to be d emon str ated convincingly that the Aegean p alaces, and especially tho se of the LM IA/ LH I per iods, participated in th e same level of interpalatial exchange t hat is eviden ced in t he Near

 ______________________  278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286

SH ERRATT (supra n. 227) 239. E.J.W. BARBER, Prehistoric Textiles (1991) 321.  Ibid . 338-57. As copies painted in Egyptian tombs of the 12th Dynasty demonstrate: see M.C. SHAW, “Ceiling Patterns from the Tomb of Hepzefa,”  AJA 74 (1970) 25-30; BARBER (supra n. 279) 346-47.  Ibid . 320-21, figs. 15:6-7. It is not cert ain, however, that t he fresco fra gmen ts from Kno ssos with m iniatu re bulls’ head s, sphinxes and griffins come from representat ions of wome n’s clothing. The y may have belonged to representations of architecture as argued by Interconn ections, 80. SH ERRATT (supra n. 227) 239. P.P. BETANCOURT, in the  Discussion at the end of  Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World , 129. G. CADOGAN, “Why was Crete Different?,” in G. CADOGAN (ed.), The End of the Early Bronze Age in the  Aegean (1986) 153-71, esp . 169. NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199-200. Th is view ha s bee n ado pte d by NEGBI (supra n. 219) 87-88 for the Tell el-Dab ca frescoes.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Eastern palace archives: such an Aegeocentric approach is unwarranted on present evidence.”287 Indeed, there exists as yet no archival evidence from the Minoan palaces for interpalatial exchange with the pa lace centres of the Near East. However, th e Minoan Hieroglyphic and Linear A scripts remain undeciphered, and they may be as silent on this topic as are the later Linear B tablets, although there is evidence of Mycenaean élite exchange with the Near East from the archaeological record.288 And there is evidence that Minoan Crete was involved from t he O ld Palace per iod in a “down th e line pa latial gift exchange” with the Near East and Egypt:289 the export of fine palatial Kamares pottery,290 precious metal vessels,291 richly decorated textiles,292 and possibly jewellery.293 Of special interest are a num ber o f texts from th e archives of the Mari palace —contempor ar y either with the Cretan late Old Palace period or the very beginning of the New Palace period (cf. supra) —which list objects of Caphtorian (Cretan) manufacture, including ostentatious weapons, metal vases, clothing and leather shoes.294 The fact that some of these Cretan objects were given by king Zimr i-Lim of Mari as diplomatic gifts to other Mesopotam ian kings, among th em Ham mur abi of Babylon, demonstrate their prestige character within the Near Eastern élite exchange net work. Th e lid of an alabaster vase with the cartouche of Khyan appe ars to ind icate that royal gifts were sent by the Hyksos pharaoh of Avaris to the ruler of Knossos. 295 Later, in th e early 18th Dynasty, emissaries from Keftiu (Cret e)296 are represented in the wall-paintings of  a series of tombs of high officials in Egyptian Thebes carrying precious objects, among them gold and silver vessels with inlays, swords and textiles, many of them undoubtedly of Aegean origin.297 In the tomb of Menkheperresoneb, these objects are given to the pharaoh by the wr (prince or king) of Keftiu, who is named together with the pr inces/ kings of Hatti, of Tunip and of Kadesh. 298 As Cline has convincingly argued, the goods carried by the Keftiu in the

 ______________________  287 288

289 290


292 293

294 295 296

297 298

S.W. MANNING, S.J. MONKS, G. NAKOU and F.A. de MITA Jr., “The Fatal Shore, Th e Long Years and the Geographical Unconscious,”  JMA 7 (1994) 219-35, esp. 220-21. For the silence on this topic of the Linear B tablets, cf. J. CH ADWICK, The Mycenaean World (1976) 156-58; J.T. KILLEN, “The Linear B Tablets and the Mycenaean Economy,” in: A. MORPURGO DAVIES and Y. DUHOUX (eds.),  Linear B: A 1984 Survey (1985) 241-305, esp. 262-70; for t he ar chaeo logical eviden ce, most recently SWDS ,  passim , esp. 85-88. M.H. WIENER, “The Nature and Control of Minoan Foreign Trade,” in Bronze Age Trade, 325-50, esp. 328. See B.J. KEMP and R.S. MERRILLEES,  Min oan Pottery in Second Millennium Egypt  (1980) 1-219; G. WALBERG, Provincial Middle Minoan Pottery (1983) 144; WARREN and HANKEY ( supra n. 24) 134-35; WIENER (supra n. 289) 332; G. WALBERG, “Th e Find s at Tell el-Dabca and Middle Minoan Chronology,”  Ägypten un d Levante 2 (1991) 115-18; J.A. MacGILLIVRAY, “A Minoan Cup at Tell el-Dab ca,” in  Hyksos Egypt  and the Eastern Mediterranean World , 81-84. G. CADOGAN, “Early Minoan and Middle Minoan Chronology,” AJA 87 (1983) 507-518, esp. 514, thinks that two silver cups with spiral decoration from the Royal Tombs at Byblos might be Minoan; P. MONTET,  Byblos et l’Égypte. Quatre campagnes de fouilles à Gebeil 1921-1922-1923-1924 (1929) 191-92, Pls. 111:748, 112:749. As copies in Egyptian tombs of the 12th Dynasty demon strate: see SH AW (supra n. 281) 25-30; BARBER (supra n. 279) 346-47. G. WALBERG, “A Gold Pendant from Tell el-Dabca,”  Ägypten un d Levante 2, (1991) 111-12 has suggested that a gold pendant from a Middle Kingdom level at Tell el-Dabca is of Minoan man ufacture. This has, however, been doubte d by J. ARUZ, “Imagery and Interconn ections,” Ägypten and Levante 5 (1995) 33-48 who considers the piece to be of Canaanite origin. Se e m ost re cen tly SWDS , 27, 126 -28 n os. D:3-12 with r eferen ces. Cf. supra with n. 207. We here follow recent research which almost unanimously identifies the country of Keftiu as Crete; cf. E. and J.A. SAKELLARAKIS, “The Keftiu and the Minoan Tha lassocracy,” in Min oan T halassocracy, 197-203 with references, to which S. WACHSMANN,  Aegean s in the T heban Tombs (1987) has to be added. For a different view, see J. STRANGE, Caphtor/Keftiu: A New Investigation (1980). KANTOR, 44-49; VERCOUTTER ( supra n. 146) 305-368; W. HELCK,  Die Beziehun gen Ägyptens un d  Vorderasiens zur Ägäis bis ins 7. Jahrhundert v. Chr. (1979) 64-75; WACHSMANN (supra n. 296) 55-57, 60-61, 64-66, 69-70, 72-73. VERCO UTTER (supra n. 146) 64; STRANGE (supra n. 296) 50-51; CLINE (supra n. 219) 146.



Theb an p aintings were n ot tribute bu t gifts from th e ru lers of Crete to the ru lers of Egypt.299 The word inw is usually translated as ‘tribute,’ but this should not be taken literally since, accordin g to Egypt ian ideology, the ph arao h was not on ly king of Egypt b ut actu ally the d ivine king of the world.300 As A.R. Schulman has arg ued in a similar case of inw given by the court of Hatti to Thutmose III: “The Egyptians, however, with their characteristic egocentric sense of superiority, would have presented such gifts as tribute.”301 Although admittedly somewhat fragmentary, this archaeological, textual, and pictorial evidence appears to indicate that the Cretan palaces from the Old Palace period on were involved in interp alatial exchanges in th e Eastern Mediter ran ean. We completely agree with Sherr att t hat t he Alalakh, Tel Kabr i, and Tell el-Dabca/ Avaris frescoes are to be seen “in term s of the forging of an élite koiné —artistic, iconographical, ideological, technological —in the circumstances of the intense maritime interaction between the coastal Areas of the Eastern Mediterranean.”302 We do not understand, however, why the existence of this koiné should mean t hat the frescoes of Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dabca/ Avaris have n othing to do with Minoans per se, as argued by A.B. Knapp. 303 Essential to an artistic koiné are the exchanges of ideological idea s, of motifs, of iconogr aph y, of technique s, but a lso of living peop le. As C. Zaccagnini has demonstrated, the sending of specialized craftsmen is well attested in the framework of the diplomatic relations between t he r ulers in t he an cient Near East, and th eir transfers were inserted into the dynamics and formal apparatus of the practice of  gift-exchange.304 Bietak has suggested that the Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris frescoes were p ainted by Mino an artists belonging to the entourage of a Knossian princess married to the pharaoh, which he first identified a s a Hyksos ruler, but n ow as Ahmose, the first phar aoh of the 18th Dynasty.305 As stated by Cline, dynastic intermarriage was a favoured diplomatic tactic in the Bronze Age Near East.306 P.W. Haider thinks that the entourage of a foreign princess would comprise several hundred people, who until the end of their lives remained in the harem of the pharaoh, and that one can well imagine that at Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris the room s of the foreign princess and her entourage were decorated according to her desires.307 According to their find po sitions, the frescoes from areas H/ I and H/ IV had not, however, decor ated the inner rooms of a harem, but apparently the eastern flank of the building, probably next to a ramp leading into t he b uilding.308 The frescoes from area H/ III had served as orn amentation of the gate of an enclosure wall.309 As discussed supra, at Alalakh and Tel Kabri, the frescoes probably had been attached to the walls of major ceremo nial (and p ossible r itual) halls of the palace, not of th e private room s of queen s or p rincesses. Moreover, when accepting Bietak’s hypothesis, we would have to imagine that the in-coming Minoans brought no domestic and cultic accoutreme nts, but n onet heless insisted o n Minoan artists providing a painted shrine for per sonal worship. I would agree with Morgan th at this is a curious scenar io.310

 ______________________  299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310

CLINE (supra n. 219) 145-46. Cf. also K. KILIAN in t he d iscussion after t he p ape r by I. STRØM, “Aspe cts of Minoan Foreign Relations, LM I-LM II,” in  Minoan T halassocracy, 191-94, esp. p. 195. Cf. STR ANGE ( supra n. 296) 47, 52. A.R. SCHULMAN, “Hittites, Helmet s and Amar na: Akhenaten ’s First War,” in D.B. REDFORD (ed.), T he  Akhenaten Temple Project Vol. 2: RW D-MN W, Foreigners and In scriptions (1988) 53-79, esp. 73 n. 55. SH ERRATT (supra n. 227) 237-39. A.B. KNAPP, unpublished lecture at Reading, UK, December 1995, summar ized by him in an Email commu nication on “Aegeanet,” 7.3.1996. See also Idem, in this volume. C. ZACCAGNINI, “Patterns of Mobility among Ancient Near Eastern Craftsmen,” JNES  42 (1983) 245-64. BIETAK (supra n. 110) 28;  Idem (supra n. 114) 26;  Idem,  Avari s (supra n. 109) 136; BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117) 61 CLINE (supra n. 168) 277-78; see also CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 256-66; P.W. HAIDER, “Menschenhandel zwischen dem ägyptischen Ho f un d der minoisch-mykenischen Welt,” Ägypten und Levante 6 (1996) 137-56, esp. 149-55.  Ibid . 155-56. JÁNOSI (supra n. 112) 68. BIETAK and MARINATOS ( supra n. 117). MORGAN (supra n. 122) 44; cf. also M.H. WIENER, in the discussion at the end of  Hyksos Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean World , 127, 131-32.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

In our opinion, th e occurren ce of frescoes in Aegean techn ique, style, and icono gr aphy in the palaces of Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris has to be explained in a d ifferent way. Th e Ugar itic myth accordin g to which t he god of han dicr afts, Koth ar-wa-Khasis, has his seat in Crete and has to be brought from t here to bu ild a splendid pa lace for t he god Baal and to furnish it with precious works of art, 311 dem onstrates that Minoan hand icrafts were h ighly esteemed in t he Levant. On the oth er hand , it points to an esoteric dimen sion. In this context, M.W. Helms’ investigations on long-distance relations, trade, and craftsmanship are helpful. As she has demonstrated, the knowledge of distant realms and regions as well as the acquisition of foreign prestige good s are used by elites for t heir p olitical advantage.312 In this context, artisans travel because elites seek craftsmen from distant locales to enhance their chiefly reput ations with t heir pr esence and the prod ucts of their skills.313 The acquisition o f  esoteric knowledge from outside has an important role in this kind of long-distance connection. 314 This may explain the religious connotations of the themes of the Alalakh, Tel Kabri, and Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris frescoes,315 and the fact that later many of the Aegean ob jects carried by the Keftiu in the wall-paintings of the Theban tombs have cultic functions in the Aegean: rhyta of d ifferent shapes (bull’s head, lion’s head, conical rhyta) and bull statuettes.316 Minoan fresco painting apparently was a rather short-lived phenomenon in the Levant and Egypt —in Egyptian ter ms, covering the H yksos per iod and the very beginn ing of the ear ly 18th Dynasty. Later, in the p alaces of Amenhotep III at Malkata in The bes and of his son Amen hotep IV (Akhen aten) at Amar na, we find again p aintings of nature scenes which appear to breathe a Minoan spirit.317 They are, however, executed in secco technique and certainly were not painted by Aegean art ists. Mino an wall painting was a thing of the pa st at th at time. H. Frankfort suggested t hat th e Egyptians at the time of Akhenaten had seen older p aintings while trad ing in th e Argolid. Th e suggestions by Kantor and Stevenson Smith , that such influences derive from earlier contacts with the Aegean rather than contemporary contacts, appear more convincing.318 As Morgan has pointed out, the Minoan frescoes of Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris may well provide th e first, and cr ucial, examp le of the m issing links.319 The painted imitations of gypsum dadoes at Alalakh level IV (15th century BC) and at Qatna (probably 14th century BC)320 possibly indicates a similar sur vival of m otifs of Minoan or igin in later local wall paintings. Thus, the Minoan ar tists involved in t he p ainting of the frescoes at Alalakh, Tel Kabri, an d Tell el-Dab ca/ Avaris apparent ly form ed an impo rtant element in the growth of th e so-called ‘Internat ional Style’ of the Late Bron ze Age eastern Med iterr anean.321

 ______________________  311 312 313 314 315

316 317 318 319 320 321

Wolf-Dietrich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

See NIEMEIER (supra n. 5) 199, with references in nn. 91-92. M.W. HELMS, Ulysses’ Sail: an Ethnographic Odyssey of Power, Knowledge, and Geographical Distance (1988) 3-4, 131-71; Eadem, Craft and the Kingly Ideal: Art, Trade, and Power  (1993) 8-9, 160-70.  Ibid . 34; cf. also CROWLEY ( supra n. 73) 263-65. H ELMS 1988 (supra n. 311) 16, 148-60, 261. At Alalakh, the religious connotation of the fresco fragments is clear from the motifs represented, the frontal bull’s head with a double axe (cf. M.P. NILSSON, T he Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and its Surviv al in Greek Religion , 2nd edition [1950] 231) and th e gr iffin (cf. N. MARINATOS [supra n. 81] 54, 151-54). Th e same applies to the Tell el-Dab ca frescoes with the representation of bull-leaping; cf.  Ibid . 218-20. For the Tel Kabri fresco, the religious connotation is at first glance not so clear, but the parallel from the West House at Akrotiri had a ritual function (see W.-D. NIEMEIER, “Iconography and Context: the Thera Frescoes,” in EIKVN , 99-100, with references), as had Hall 611 of the Kabri palace on which the fresco probably was painted (cf. NIEMEIER [supra n. 5] 197;  Idem [supra n. 106] 2). VERCO UTTER ( supra n. 146) 311-21, 323-28; 357-59; HELCK (supra n. 297) 71-72; WACHSMANN ( supra n. 296) 55-61, 69-70. Cf. D. FIMMEN,  Die kretisch-mykenische Kultu r , 2nd edition (1924) 206-207; H. FRANKFORT, The Mural Paintin gs of El-’Amarneh (1929); STEVENSON SMITH (supra n. 209) 286-95. K ANTO R, 83-84;  Interconn ections, 161-62. MORGAN (supra n. 122) 29-30. Cf. supra with n. 44. On the ‘International Style,’ see  Interconn ections, 32, 44-45, 97, 107, 113; CROWLEY (supra n. 73) 221-27; CAUBET, in this volume.



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS Pl. Va Pl. Vb Pl. Vc Pl. Vd Pl. VIa Pl. VIb Pl. VIc Pl. VId Pl. VIe Pl. VIf

Tel Kabri, Palace, Hall 611, painted plaster floor, plan, by B. Niemeier. Mari, palace, pod ium on the east side of hall 64 painted with imitation of gypsum slabs; from A. Parrot,  Mission archéologique de Mari, Vol. II.2: le palais, peintu res murales (1958) Pl. XV:2. Tel Kabri, palace, fragment s from miniature fresco, repre sentation of a rocky shore, reconstru ction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragment s from miniature fresco, repre sentation of rough sea and boats (?), reconstru ction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragment s from miniature fresco, repre sentation of an Aegean town, reconstru ction by B. Niemeier. Tel Kabri, palace, fragment from miniature fresco, repre sentation of a f lying swallow. Tel Kabri, from the palace, fragment s from miniature fresco, representat ion of a griffin, reconstru ction by B. Niemeier. Tell el Dab ca/ Avaris, fragm ent s from b ull-leapin g fresco, recon stru ction by L. Pinch-Brock; from BIETAK,  Avari s (supra n. 109) Pl. IV. Alalakh, from the palace of level VII, fresco fragme nts with representation of a fronta l bull’s head with doub le axe, reconstruction by B. Niemeier. Alalakh, from the palace of level VII, fresco fragments with the representation of a reclining griffin, reconstru ction by B. Niemeier.


Wolf-Dietr ich and Barbar a NIEMEIER

Discussion following W-D. and B. Niemeier’s paper: J. Aruz: I just wanted to make one comment about Mari, that it’s not surprising to see Minoan-inspired works [there], because even in the most significant wall painting which you said otherwise was pu rely Mesopotam ian, it, in fact, is not. It is full of Egypt ianizing imagery, surrou nd ing the investiture scene of the king. And so, ther e is an ope nn ess related perh aps to the position of Mari as a great international empor ium, that is reflected in the visual arts. W-D. Niemeier: Thank you. A.B. Knapp: I hadn’t realized until the last couple of years what an impact Gordon Childe made upon Aegean histor y. Th e continuing reaction against a ‘Light, and a few r amp ant meta llur gists, coming ou t of th e East’ now compr ises coming out of th e West, I believe, a Minoan king or pr ince, a princess, tr ader s, r aiders, craftsm en, wall painters and so on. I am not in a position to come back with point-by-point iconographic arguments to yours, but there are people who are working on just that po int. But on e thin g I would like to ask you, specifically in respon se to what you talked about today: you want to see the influence being Minoan iconographic instead of  Canaan ite iconog rap hy. My question to you is: what is Canaanite iconogr aphy? I’ll make it easy on you. Just tell me th ree features of Canaan ite iconogr aphy. M. Fotiadis (Chair): Shall we reser ve th e answer for th is even ing? Th at might give him some t ime to th ink and we rea lly have to stop at th is point.

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