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Smashed pots in a pit

10 June 2011

At www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2011/jun/10/archaeology-mystery-keros-is… is a story about fragments of beautiful but deliberately smashed bronze age figurines and marble bowls found in shallow pits on a small rocky Greek island, Keros, that have puzzled archaeologists for years. Why were they smashed? As in all such thing inexplicable archaeology falls back to the catch-all 'ritual' deposit idea. Greeks appear to have sought out this small island, inhabited only by goats in the modern world, precisely because it was isolated and purposely with the intent to smash valuable and charming artifacts. Colin Renfrew, as a young archaeologist, investigated Keros, but what I found striking is the fact they all belong to a particular window in time – between 2500 and 2000BC. Were they offerings to an earthquake god?

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