Bintliff, J. L. (2014). Spatial analysis of past built environments: Houses and society in the Aegean from the Early Iron Age to the impact of Rome. Spatial Analysis and Social Spaces. E. Paliou, U. Lieberwirth and S. Polla. Berlin, De Gruyter/

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Bintliff, J. L. (2014). Spatial analysis of past built environments: Houses and society in the Aegean from the Early Iron Age to the impact of Rome. Spatial Analysis and Social Spaces. E. Paliou, U. Lieberwirth and S. Polla. Berlin, De Gruyter/ Open
  SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF PAST BUILT ENVIRONMENTS  263  John Bintliff  Spatial analysis of past built environments:Houses and society in the Aegean from the Early Iron Agetill the impact of Rome 1 Abstract Between ca. 1000 BC, the Early Iron Age, and the Roman Late Republican era ca. 100BC, domestic life in Greecechanged in remarkable ways. On one level we see a process of continual elaboration, confirming Susan Kent’s(Kent 1990) generalization that growing complexity in the built environment can form a mirror for that in con-temporary social and political life. Yet in parallel we can also see a cycle, beginning with a largely undifferentiatedand simple domestic environment matched by the larger residences of an elite, passing through a period whenrelative equality becomes the norm, then returning to an era where class differences in homes are striking. TheGreek house is thus a barometer for the longer-term transformations in social life as a whole. 1Introduction As a specialist in material culture, I would like to explore the theme of ‘communal values’,through the evolution of house and town planning in the Greek city, summarizing recentwork by various authors, and using the simplest form of Space Syntax– Access Analysis(Hillier and Hanson 1984; Hillier 1996). The theoretical and more importantly the empiri-cal underpinnings of Space Syntax are elegantly summarized in Bill Hillier’s chapter in thisvolume, while much more sophisticated combinations of built-space investigation whereaccess-analysis is complemented by other methodologies such as viewsheds are to be foundin the chapters by Fisher, Hacıgüzeller and Thaler, and Stöger. Nonetheless since this paperis a presentation and discussion of recent work on ancient Greek towns, in which thesemore elaborate techniques are only just being applied, it seems worthwhile to demonstratehow remarkably effective even access analysis can be when brought together with a richarchaeological, artistic and contemporary literary corpus for relating social change to thedynamics of the built domestic environment. 2Iron Age beginnings In the Iron Age we find two recognized settlement types (Snodgrass 1980; 1991; Morris1991; 2000; Lang 1996; Mazarakis-Ainian 1997). The first is a scattered village plan, such 1The analysis in this paper is explored in more detail in Bintliff (2012).  264 JOHN BINTLIFF as has been excavated underneath the later city of Eretria. Domestic dwellings are dispersedand disorganized with regard to each other. Houses are frequently just a single room, suchas was discovered at Old Smyrna. However, several settlements appear to show a chieftain’sgreathouse/communal focus amidst them. The best-known example is Lefkandi. Lang(2005) has deployed Access Analysis in the typical family home. Movement into andthrough these houses is extremely basic, a simple sequent access route (fig. 1).Only the rare chief’s house offers slightly more complex internal space, but this alsofollows a linear progression of rooms. The small scale of the normal dwellings indicatesthat everyday life was carried out largely outside in communal view, in contrast to the largecentral rooms of the chieftain’s dwellings, assumed to be used for feasts and other commu-nal activities. The majority social group of peasants clearly required no significant differ-entiated house spaces for their social or economic lifestyle.The other form of Early Iron Age community can be described as more townlike. Thisis made up of close clusters of the previously discussed unplanned hamlets, each with theirown cemeteries and presumed chiefs (basileis). The best-known examples are Athens andArgos. The multiple foci are assumed to reflect settlements of agglomerated chieftain-centred hamlets, run by a competitive oligarchy.‘Dark Age’ society is believed to be dominated by the strong control over peasants bychiefs and a middle class farming group (Morris 1987). The dependence on individualleaders, more ‘Big Men’ than hereditary aristocratic dynasties, may account for the relativemobility of the smaller of the two settlement forms described above.Nevertheless, notably towards the end of the protohistoric era, there are occasionalexperiments with formal planning of such minor communities. One striking example isthe site of Vroulia (fig. 2), which although likely to be set out under elite direction, appearsin its regimented rows of ‘citizen’s houses’ to reflect the same concepts which were under-lying the contemporary rise of the larger city-state or polis as a corporate community of occupants (Lang 1996). Figure 1| Access and function diagrams for typical houseplans of Early Iron Age Greece. The upper image showsaccess, the lower one depicting room arrangements.Key: crossed circle is the entrance, double circle is a roomwith 2 access points, empty circle is a room, dotted circle isthe smallest room, empty square largest rooms (from Lang2005, p.24).  SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF PAST BUILT ENVIRONMENTS  265 The explosion of city-states across the Aegean between 800 and 500BC is an extra-ordinary phenomenon. Hansen (2004) and Ruschenbusch (1985) have shown that the typi-cal polis was surprisingly small, 2000–4000 citizens, arising as nucleated, introverted ‘cor-porate communities’ over tiny territories, in which dependent villages and farmsteadsclustered around an urban focus, where generally 70 to 80% of the population resided.It was the historical geographer Ernst Kirsten (Kirsten 1956; cf. Bintliff 1994), who rec-ognized that this evolution gave birth to the normal Greek polis as a ‘village-state’ (Dorf-staat), whilst a very small minority of city-states reached far greater population, his ‘Mega-lopoleis’, which were territorial states and generally included other towns in their regionsor empires. Notable megalopoleis in the Aegean were Athens and Thebes. 3The Archaic era The rise of the city-state or polis, out of these fragmented settlements, can in part beaccounted for through population growth, creating their fusion into single integrated settle-ments, but is as much due to major social change, resulting from the decline of the elitegrip on the community matched by increasing legal and political rights for all free malecitizens. A case can still be made that the broadening of citizen’s rights is linked with mili-tary reforms, notably the growing centrality of the essentially middle-class citizen-army orhoplite warfare to the city-state. In any case, the Archaic era sees the generalized erosion of  Figure 2| Plan of the final Iron Age, transitional Archaic settlement of Vroulia on Rhodes (from Whitley 2001,p.172).  266 JOHN BINTLIFF the power of the aristocratic basileis in favour of the middle class, and in varying degreestowards the free peasant class. By Classical times, perhaps half of the city-states in theAegean had adopted what we might term a ‘moderate democracy’.These major sociopolitical changes can be seen in material form when we return to theevidence from private house architecture and town-planning (fig. 3). Already from finalGeometric and early Archaic times (the 8 th  to 7 th  centuries) we can see the elaboration of family homes, expanding the number of rooms and enclosing partly or wholly the outsideworking areas, to construct a more focussed, private citizen-family residence reflecting asense of growing importance for this basic constituent of the emergent city-state or polis.The last phases of the settlement at Zagora on Andros exhibit this trend well, as can be seenboth in its increasingly complex plan and in the more elaborate house access diagrams. Atfirst such sprawling room-complexes may represent clusters of related families gainingmore privacy, but over time these simplify into the small, more coherent, radially plannedregular room-groups arrayed around a private courtyard, which we can later associate withthe nuclear or extended citizen family.However, the remainder, some half of Greek societies, were not to adopt democracy,remaining under aristocrats, even kings, or in a form reminiscent of, and perhaps merelyperpetuating, the South Aegean Dark Age model, where a large serf population is domi-nated by an equally large body of middle and upper class citizens. This latter model is best-known from Thessaly, and from Doric states such as Sparta and the city-states of DorianCrete. It is of great interest to see what changes in the settlement plan and then in thedomestic house occur in these politically conservative ‘serf’ societies from Archaic intoClassical times.Haggis (2007) has used a detailed regional survey and excavation at the emergent city-state of Azoria in Crete to trace the material evidence for the creation of this distinctive formof Dorian serf-state in Archaic to Classical times. Firstly there is clearly a rise in populationand wealth, as well as nucleation into a series of city-state centres. Rich tombs, as generally Figure 3| Access and function diagrams for more elaborate houses at Zagora on Andros,from the transitional Iron Age/Archaic period. The upper image shows access, the lower onedepicting room arrangements. Key: crossed circle is the entrance, filled square is the largestroom serving as transitional areas; empty circles are rooms, dotted circle is the smallestroom (from Lang 2005, p.24).  SPATIAL ANALYSIS OF PAST BUILT ENVIRONMENTS  267 in the Southern Mainland of Greece, decline as prestigious objects are redirected intotemple offerings, a sign of the creation of a civic identity and the decline of aristocraticpower in favour of a broad middling-citizen community. Yet the similarity to the trajectoryleading to Greek democracy is then frozen at this point of evolution. The public monumen-tal city-centre, although including the customarily prominent Agora and major temple, alsocontains complexes for the storage, preparation and communal consumption of food by themale citizen community (the andreion or syssitia).At the Cretan town of Trypetos (Westgate 2007) Early Hellenistic private homes showtwo significant features (fig. 4). On the one hand, the houses are multi-roomed, continuingthe trend we witnessed generally from the late Iron Age towards elaboration of the familyhome. But equally notable is the fact that most houses have simple linear access, beingrelatively open to the neighbours and the rest of the community. Figure 4| Typical houses at the Cretan early Hellenistic settlement of Trypetos, Crete. Outside space in the house access diagrams are shown asdark circles, whilst the simple linear sequence of rooms is shown as clearcircles (from Westgate 2007, p.438).
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