What are these Queer Stones? Baetyls: Epistemology of a Minoan Fetish

Sam Crooks


This monograph examines the aniconic cult stones, or baetyls, of the Aegean Bronze Age. Minoan baetyls are commonly understood by reference to the interpretive vocabularies of ancient Near Eastern traditions developed by comparative ethnographies popularin the early 20th century. This study presents and interrogates the Aegean evidence for baetyl cult, providing a catalogue of archaeological evidence attesting to this cultic practice. Contextual analysis provides the basis for interpreting and (re)constructing aspects of the cult. It is argued that the ambiguity inherent in these aniconic stones renders them uniquely flexible in serving multAle cultic, ritual and ideological functions across different contexts.