Countryside & road systems

  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 19-05-18 11:09
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  • Countryside & Road Systems
    • Independent palace centres controlled a territory & the settlements within it - system of roads & bridges enabled connections within the kingdom
    • Most remote parts of kingdoms were no more than 2 days walk from the capital, but reliable defence & efficient centralised government suggested by Linear B relied upon connections
      • Inland sites needed a system of roads and bridges for these connections
    • Network of roads linked Mycenae to other centres in the Argolid
    • Good roads would have been needed for effective connections, overland trade & the moving of troops
      • More substantial roads would have been needed for carts & chariots
    • Traces of roads wide enough to take wagons can still be found around Mycenae
      • Usually follow the contours of the hill - easier to build, used gentle gradients rather then steep drops
    • On the route to Corinth retaining walls were built of Cyclopean size to support the road as it went through the hillside
    • Viaducts built across ravines near Mycenae
      • Viaduct 2km south of Mycenae, 1160BC
        • Carried the road from Mycenae to the Heraion over the Chavos river - discovery of this led to discovery of entire road network
    • Used engineering to build their roads - streams crossed with bridges using large blocks of stone with gaps between to let the water pass through
    • Roads seem to have been 3.5-4m wide - similar width to those in Crete
    • Roads built in 3 layers
      • 1. Foundation layer of stones
      • 2. 25cm layer of small stones & earth
      • 3. Surface of pebbles, earth & sand
    • Mycenae seems to have had roads leading from it in 3 directions - north to Nemea, south to Midea, 11km to Argos & Tiryns
      • Road systems near other citadels have been harder to identify - either because they were not built or have not survived
    • In Mycenae the road system developed during the 13thC, & coincided with a phase of cultural & economic growth
      • Roads built at same time as the Lion Gate
      • Roads occurred after population rise used to manage increase in farming production?
      • Also possible that the roads existed as paths & the increasingly wealthy ruler wished to display wealth - similar to Lion Gate
      • Particularly good road contact with fertile inland plains nearby in the hills, reflecting their power base there
    • Mycenae Survey - found important relationship between many cemeteries attached to main settlement & the road network
      • Placing of more hidden chamber tombs by a road may have been merely a matter of convenience rather than a powerful display
    • Roads near Gla
      • One led about 100m away from the south gate
      • Another led to a sanctuary on its way to Mycenae
      • Built to link fortress with land around it on lake shore
    • Krisa near Delphi dominated trade routes leading north
      • 500m of excellent road supported on a 3m high wall
      • Trade routes seem to have been protected with small semi-circular towers placed in the mountain passes north of Amphissa
    • At least 3 roads seem to have led away from Tiryns
      • To the dam site & perhaps Midea
      • North to Mycenae
      • South to Nauplion then to Epidaurus
    • Steffen - roads built primarily for a military purpose
      • No evidence for this - others have argued that they were more likely for trade & everyday use - military roads would probably not zig-zag across the landscape
    • Jansen - road systems only for travel within one kingdom
    • Castleden - roads designed to join up with other kingdoms
      • Evidence from Knossos that this was the case in Crete - likely that the road system meant that the different kingdoms did have some contact with one another
    • East of Tiryns tens of thousands of tons of earth was moved to form a dam & divert a fast river into a new direction
      • Meant that river no longer flowed near the citadel & its surrounding towns
    • Near the citadel of Gla a lake was drained so the citadel could be built


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