Crete and Cretans in the Mediterranean, eighteenth to sixteenth centuries bc
The terms 'Minoan'/Minoanising' have often been heavily loaded when used in the literature to characterise Crete-linked movement and consumption practice affecting a number of Mediterranean areas within a much shorter timeframe, late MBA–LB I. The activities of Cretan and Crete-linked groups – long encountered on the move and in situ by insular and coastal Aegean communities – clearly acquired new impetus in the sphere of long-distance goods/materials circulation. Powerful Levantine trader groups, and Crete-based groups engaging with them, clearly circulated along routes which were difficult to control politically from any central point. Crete-linked connections in the south Aegean clearly fed back rewardingly into Cretan systems, giving Cretan polities an increasingly strong economic influence. Both Crete-based movement of people and the generally related uptake of Crete-linked items and practices were evidently mediated, agent-driven and selective processes. Offshore communities thus potentially formed important arenas for intensified contact between Crete-based and mainland groups.