chapter  16
4 Pages

Epilogue

On two important topics, recent discoveries and research have greatly enhanced our understanding of Geometric Greece: one external, the other internal.

In some mainland areas, especially those where full publications have been rare, ‘dark’ may still be appropriate for their archaeological record before the middle of the eighth century; but detailed ceramic study in Messenia and new finds reported from Macedonia have helped to cast light on areas where the record was previously in deep obscurity. By contrast, archaeologists who have been working in Crete and, especially, Euboea have become impatient of a supposed Dark Age, citing fresh evidence of exchanges with the Near East, almost unbroken since the end of the Bronze Age. These exchanges must in part be related to the gradual expansion of Phoenician commerce throughout the Mediterranean, of which much new knowledge has been acquired; but, on the Greek side, the positive initiative of the Euboeans has received much emphasis. It may be thought that the miraculous discovery at Lefkandi of several rich and unplundered cemeteries, with their copious orientalia, may have caused us to exaggerate the Euboean achievement at the expense of other Greek regions where conditions of recovery have been much less favourable. Athens, for example, was the source of the most admired and influential school of pottery, and has produced a few impressively rich graves with Levantine imports (pp. 5561) contemporary with the latest from Lefkandi; but these are lucky finds in their context, from areas much despoiled and damaged under later structures in a city which, unlike Lefkandi, was to enjoy a glorious future. Even so, discoveries in Euboea did bring to light the regional ceramic style that is by far the most frequent among exports to Cyprus, Tyre and the north Levant.