DAEDALOS. Conceptualising Processes of Monumental Architectural Creation in the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age

01 November 2022 → 31 October 2027
European funding: framework programme
Principal investigator
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
    • Archaeology of the built environment
    • Protohistoric archaeology
monumental architecture ancient building projects resources mobilisation collective performance collective action construction sequence cooperation dynamics scale of monuments architectural energetics craftspeople labour mobilisation GIS ancient leadership socio-political organisation of Bronze Age societies Southern Europe Protohistory (Bronze Age, Iron Age) Comparative Geographic and map based Quantitative Field research Architecture building techniques History Archaeology
Other information
Project description

The ERC Consolidator project DAEDALOS aims to challenge the predominant metanarrative that uniformly sees monuments as an attribute of centralised, hierarchical political economies and top-down power structures, a view that exerts a strong influence on our understanding of the organisation of Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean societies. In the 2nd mill. BCE, Mainland Greece, Western Anatolia and the islands of Crete, Cyprus and the Cyclades witness a growing architectural elaboration. Impressive ‘palatial’ monuments are built, which are often interpreted as the seat of rulers exerting centralised control over the population. The surmised political power necessary for the mobilisation and management of the human and material resources invested in monumental construction is taken as further evidence for the leading function of these edifices, and for the position of their commissioners at the top of hierarchical socio-political systems. Taking into consideration the ability for human groups with no centralised leadership to efficiently manage and control resources, DAEDALOS questions the preconceived conflation of monumental architecture and centralised hierarchical power. To assess this, the project will analyse integration and segmentation patterns in 2nd mill. BCE monumental building projects of the Aegean and Cyprus, and investigate the organisational centralisation of the societies that managed the labour and material resources invested in construction. Based on the architectural study of monuments distributed over 35 sites and their examination through new, specially devised analytical parameters, DAEDALOS will explore the possibility for grassroots, bottom-up building processes and their impact on architectural creation. By doing so, the project aims to trigger a paradigm shift in the ways we approach and interpret monumental architecture while producing nuanced and compelling definitions of Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age socio-political systems.

Role of Ghent University
Ghent University is the host institution for DAEDALOS, sponsoring the research, nurturing the researchers, furnishing facilities, and supplying full support staff.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.