Existing Member?

More Expat Vagabonds "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness" Mark Twain

The Palace of Knossos or Making (Up) History

GREECE | Friday, 16 January 2015 | Views [539]

Arthur Evans and mates, excavator of the Palace of Knossos

Arthur Evans and mates, excavator of the Palace of Knossos

ARCHEOLOGY WAS A GENTLEMAN’S GAME in the late 19th Century with few rules.  It took money and good contacts to mount an expedition and Arthur Evans had both, plus a bit of lucky timing.  Crete had just won independence from Turkey and Evans used his family inheritance to purchase the site that he believed held promise .  Within three years he had uncovered many large and sprawling structures of what would be called “the Palace of Knossos.”


   Pastoral setting, Archeological site at Knossos

A major perqs of being the first to discover something are the rights to name and interpret the discovery.  Evans find reminded him of the labyrinth where Minos, King of Cretan Minoans of Greek mythology kept the Minotaur.  He dubbed the thousand interlocking rooms a palace and called the civilization Minoan, after Minos.  


   Reconstructed temple hinting at bull worship

Not only did Evans excavate the site, he reconstructed many of the rooms as he imagined they would have looked and named them based upon his interpretation of their use, hence the Throne Room.  While he used archeological evidence for his reconstructions, he has been criticized for using concrete and other materials not available to the Minoans.   


   Murals reconstructed from tiny bit and pieces

In his defense, there were few standards in archeology at the time.  Excavations were done haphazardly and often were not well recorded.  Besides his pioneering work in excavating the main palace site, among Evans' most significant discoveries at Knossos was the recovery of about 3000 ancient Linear A and Linear B writing tablets.  Linear B eventually proved to be an early form of ancient Greek from a later, Mycenaean occupation of the site. Linear A, a script representing the language of the Minoans, still remains largely undeciphered.

Connie and I enjoy concocting stories about things we have seen, stories that make sense to us despite having no basis in fact.  But we don’t publish them in learned journals.  Only here.

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.

About vagabondstoo

Easter Island, 2012

Follow Me

Where I've been


Photo Galleries

My trip journals



Travel Answers about Greece

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.