Michael J. Boyd with Colin Renfrew and members of the Keros team, “The creative cultural nexus of Keros”
The third millennium in Europe is marked by expanding horizons, the increasing importance of information, and by new identities forged in connectivity. In the Aegean, these changes are manifest in a series of creative social experiments that ultimately lead toward the large-scale, complex societies of the second millennium. The island of Keros is located south of Naxos in the central Cyclades. Previously a backwater, on the side lanes of connectivity, suddenly around 2750 BCE it became a central haven. Waves of visitors brought with them choice material destined for deposition in the now well-documented cult area at Kavos. But over a 500-year period of often intense activity visitors were also attracted to the adjacent islet of Dhaskalio. Here a monumental and planned architectural complex housed skilled metalworkers and the imported material and agricultural produce of other islands. Understanding the role of Dhaskalio, and its place in island networks, has been the goal of the Keros-Naxos Seaways Project since 2015. This paper outlines our initial thinking on what drove the early stages of proto-urbanisation at Dhaskalio. The parameters that enabled the creation, manifestation, and negotiation of identity were connectivity and information transmission; creativity in material production and in the physical reimagination of space; the direction and process of communal acts of labour; and the organisation at a distance of landscape and agricultural resource manipulation and exploitation. The added parameters of time and space allow us to envisage the drawing in of people and materials to the site, and their subsequent onward journeys: the people transformed by their experience, and the materials transformed in the workshops of the site. The creative cultural nexus of Keros is the prism through which we can begin to understand how identity creation in the mid-third millennium became rooted in place, in space, and in community action.
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Monday 17 October 2022, 5pm (UK) / 7pm (Greece)