A Journey to the Late Bronze Age Minoan Underworld: The Reflection of Sunlight on the Sea as an Axis Mundi

Cristofaro, Ilaria (2018) A Journey to the Late Bronze Age Minoan Underworld: The Reflection of Sunlight on the Sea as an Axis Mundi. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

Around the times of sunrise and sunset, the sun’s reflection on a large body of water, such as a sea, appears as an elongated gold band, also called a ‘glitter path’. For the first time, this research explores this intangible manifestation of light from an archaeological perspective, focusing on the Late Bronze Age culture present on the Greek island of Crete. The observations gathered during the phenomenological fieldwork revealed that the elongated sunlight reflection has the qualities of a natural manifestation of the cosmological concept of the axis mundi, echoing the liminal convergence of opposing realities. By comparing Late Minoan III funerary iconography with the fieldwork results, this study developed an interpretation of Minoan eschatological beliefs establishing analogies between the cultural and the natural world. In particular, the hybrid form of the octopus-plant motif was analysed: the multivocality of the psychopomp octopus symbol may reveal, in its transformation into a flower and a water pillar, an affinity of shapes and qualities with the glitter path. A solar eschatology can be deduced in a Minoan world where life and death seems to procreate each other: the vision of the glitter path across the chthonic sea might have been regarded, in the Late Bronze Age, as the luminous roadway toward afterlife regeneration.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Lesley Cresswell
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2021 13:00
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2021 13:13
URI: https://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/1765

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