House (centric) societies on the prehistoric Greek mainland

Corien W. Wiersma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)


The concept of 'House Societies' was introduced by Levi-Strauss. It not only considers the social aspects of houses and households, but also the economic and political ones. By so doing, one gains a much more complete understanding of how a community is structured and organized, and how changes can slowly unfold within seemingly static communities. In this article it is argued that Early Helladic III and early Middle Helladic communities on the Greek mainland can be considered proto-house societies, while House Societies proper do emerge at some places during the later Middle Helladic and Late Helladic I periods. The arguments are based on an analysis of domestic architecture, mortuary practices and the domestic economy. These indicate that the concept of property became more important during the Middle Helladic period. The house was perpetuated through rebuilding and mortuary practices, thereby referencing the concept of kinship, in order to transmit property. Such habits define House Societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-158
Number of pages18
JournalOxford journal of archaeology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May-2020

Cite this