Metal-working and gold ware
During the second phase of the Pre-Palace period a marked improvement can be detected in the working of metals, particularly bronze, though also silver and lead. Bronze daggers were better made and longer, and come in various types: with or without a spine, and with rivets to attach the handles. Some daggers were made of silver, as were two cups found in the cemetery of Mochlos. Bronze was also used to manufacture tools: cutters, spits, scrapers, chisels, axes, etc.
The third phase of the period saw further advances in technique, and new shapes were devised. Bronze daggers became longer and more solid. Bronze was also used to manufacture new tools of everyday use: double axes, mattocks, saws, and tweezers.
The art of the goldsmith progressed at an unprecedented rate during this phase. Some fine large collections of gold jewellery come from the tombs of Mochlos in south Crete and Archanes, where the items had been placed as offerings accompanying the dead. All of them attest to the refined taste of the Minoans. In the sphere of technique, the Cretans were already familiar with hammering, cut-out, and repoussé. Various types of objects were made of precious metals: diadems, finger-rings, necklace beads, pins, bracelets, hair-clasps, earrings, pendants, and ornaments sewn to clothing. Gold and silver beads were combined in necklaces with others made of precious materials such as ivory, faience, and coloured stones, forming beautiful, colourful compositions.
In the third phase of the period, gold-working produced some brilliant pieces, making use of new, advanced techniques: casting, granulation and filigree. Some of the pendants, such as a gold frog from Koumasa, are veritable masterpieces. The artefacts made of precious metals come from the upper levels of the tombs of the Mesara and Mochlos.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis