This study examines a repeated plan of rooms that is defined here, consisting of a broadly rectangular room with an adjacent corridor-shaped room; clear examples have been published from the southern rooms of the West House at Agia Triada (EM IIA), rooms 39 and 39α and the southern portion of corridor A in the Red House at Vasiliki (EM IIB), and the southernmost rooms in the South Front House at Knossos (EM III), with a similar plan in ‘House’ A at Knossos (MM IA). In addition to their shared plan, the earlier three of these suites also display regularities in their orientations, proportions, locations, and socio-economic distribution.
These Prepalatial suites share similarities with later Lustral Basins in their plans, proportions, socio-economic distribution, frequency among contemporary elite rooms, and relative energy expenditure in their building methods. The Prepalatial suites might also have achieved a differentiation of levels relative to the floors of surrounding rooms like that distinctive to the sunken Lustral Basins, but by different building methods. ‘House’ A at Knossos may preserve a transitional stage in a series of changes in architectural fashion linking Prepalatial broad-room-and-corridor suites to later Lustral Basins. A diachronic series of changes in the plans, building methods, sizes, and positions of these rooms is traced from the Prepalatial broad-room-and-corridor suites through Proto- and Neopalatial Lustral Basins to the late Neopalatial level Bathrooms.
Elite Proto- and Neopalatial houses are well documented as an arena for social emulation and competition and were subject to resultant changes in fashion. This study expands the evidence for such competition through stylistic changes in elite houses during the Prepalatial era to include the broad-room-and-corridor suites defined here. This in turn provides evidence for the dating of the emergence of increasing social complexity in Prepalatial Crete.