Hellenistic and Roman Pottery from Hierapytna, Crete
Chapter One: Introduction
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For Classical Archaeologists, the island of Crete has always been a haven for Bronze Age and Iron Age scholars, with the Hellenistic and Roman periods serving as minor backdrops to a more illustrious past. Scholars have begun to show more interest in these later periods, although their emphasis has been on only a small number of sites. One settlement that deserves far more attention is the city of Hierapytna. Located at the southern end of the Isthmus of Ierapetra along the southeastern coast of the island, Hierapytna was an important polis during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Its position along the coast suggests that much of its prosperity must have derived from economic connections. The site remains understudied, however, and fundamental issues, such as when it was founded, its size and topography, when and why it rose to prominence, and when it began to decline, are rarely, if ever, addressed. While this study of Hierapytna, which examines pottery from three rescue excavations carried out from 1998 to 2001, cannot fill in all of these lacunae, it should provide an important step toward an improved understanding of the site and of the Hellenistic and Roman periods on Crete.
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