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British Academy Lectures 2012-13Published in the online Journal of the British Academy$
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Janet Carsten and Simon Frith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265666

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265666.001.0001

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The Sanctuary at Keros: Questions of Materiality and Monumentality

The Sanctuary at Keros: Questions of Materiality and Monumentality

Albert Reckitt Archaeological Lecture read 25 April 2013 by

(p.187) The Sanctuary at Keros: Questions of Materiality and Monumentality
British Academy Lectures 2012-13

Colin Renfrew

British Academy

The discovery of the early bronze age sanctuary on the Cycladic island of Keros is briefly described. Why islanders in the Aegean should establish the world’s first maritime sanctuary around 2500 BC is then considered, and other instances of early centres of congregation are briefly discussed. Specific features of the Special Deposit South at Kavos, a key component of the sanctuary, are then reviewed along with those of the accompanying settlement on the islet of Dhaskalio. The Aegean context for the development in the later bronze age of cult, involving the reverence of specific deities, is then surveyed. The conclusion is reached that the Confederacy of Keros may not have involved the practice of cult in this sense, but rather the performance of rituals of congregation such as are widely seen at very early centres before the development of hierarchically ordered (‘state’) societies.

Keywords:   Keros, Sanctuary, Early Bronze Age, centre of congregation, ritual, cult, deity, confederacy

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