Conference Proceedings

The Sacred Life of Trees: What trees say about people in the prehistoric Aegean and Near East


ASCS 33 Selected Proceedings (2012) | Monash University | Published : 2012


The realistic nature of the glyptic idiom of Minoan Crete, as expressed in images of tree cult, has resulted in the general assumption that such illustrations depict real places within the Cretan landscape. Variously termed ‘rural sanctuaries’, ‘sacred enclosures’ or ‘open-air shrines’, glyptic iconography is the main source of evidence for this category of cult site and its supposed characteristics, thought to range from the architecturally elaborate to the ephemeral.1 This paper argues that, as a result of the miniaturisation process involved in the creation of glyptic motifs, it is more likely that images of tree cult are not scenes, but signs, comparable with more minimalist Cypriot and ..

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