Maud Devolder, "Manpower and Neopalatial Architecture. The Architectural Project as a Meaningful Experience", in: Diamantis Panagiotopoulos, Ute Günkel-Maschek and Sarah Cappel (Eds.), Proceedings of the conference ‘Minoan Archaeology. Challenges and Perspectives for the 21st Century’ held in Heidelberg, 23–27 March 2011, 2015, 241–252


The built environment of Neopalatial Crete is considered here through the manpower implicated in its production. This approach is based on a quantitative method of estimating the time needed to build a structure. It relies on standard costs empirically established through experiments, observations and accounts of large building sites. The volumes of materials of a selection of Neopalatial buildings which offer a sufficient degree of architectural precision are estimated, to which standard costs are hence applied. Based on such application, the strong polarization between the costs of Neopalatial simple and complex buildings is obvious, but more pertinently the relationship between the potential workforce and the costs of simple or vernacular architecture reaffirms the involvement of the inhabitants in the construction of their own homes. This statement makes it possible to explore the size of a Neopalatial social unit associated with vernacular architecture. Complex or “polite” architecture shows a drastically different scheme. In this case, the manpower needed by far exceeds the capacity of the residents to provide the required workforce. Rather, it indicates the privileged access of the commissioners to resources, both human and agricultural. They were able to mobilize many workers, amongst whom were specialists, thus relying on a totally different kind of workforce, both in terms of availability and nature.

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