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Ancient Greece 1
Unit 2 -- The Minoans: First Great Aegean Civilization and Greek Precursor
1, Minoan Civilization
2. Minoan Chronology
3. Sir Arthur Evans
4. Minoan Origins
5. Mythical Minos
6. Were Minoans Warlike?
7. Minoan Religion
8. Minoan Burial Customs
9. Minoan Burials and Tholi
10. Cretan Hieroglyphs
11. Linear A
12. Knossos Palace
13. Bull Leaping
14. Phaistos site
16. Hagia Triada
17. Minoan pottery
18, Cretan sacred caves
19. Cretan peak sanctuaries
20. Juktas peak sanctuary
21. Anemospilia peak site
22. Minoan eruption size
23. Internet links to Minoan Archeologocal sites
24. Internet links to Minoan web sites
(Following are excerpts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization)
The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands such as Santorini and flourished from approximately 2600 to 1400 BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans....
There is recent stone tool evidence that humans - either prehuman homonids or early modern humans - reached the island of Crete perhaps as late as 130,000 years ago; however, the evidence for the first anatomically modern human presence dates to 10,000-12,000 years ago. It was not until 5000 BC in the Neolithic period that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared in the Aegean, marking the beginning of civilization....
The term "Minoan" refers to the mythic "king" Minos of Knossos; who first coined the term is debated. It is commonly attributed to famed Minoan archeologist Arthur Evans (1851-1941). Minos was associated in Greek myth with the labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos. However, Karl Hoeck used the name Das Minoische Kretas in 1825 for Volume II of his major work, Kreta, which would appear to be the first known use of the term Minoan to mean ancient Cretan. Likely, Arthur Evans read the book, continuing the use of the term in his own writings and findings. Evans said:
"To this early civilization of Crete as a whole I have proposed — and the suggestion has been generally adopted by the archaeologists of this and other countries — to apply the name 'Minoan.'"Evans claims to have applied it, but not to have invented it....
1. Minoan civilization
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minoan_civilization
circa 3,650 BCE — circa 1,450 BCE
The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands such as Santorini and flourished from approximately 2600 to 1400 BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it as "the first link in the European chain."
There is recent stone tool evidence that humans - either prehuman homonids or early modern humans - reached the island of Crete perhaps as late as 130,000 years ago; however, the evidence for the first anatomically modern human presence dates to 10,000-12,000 years ago. It was not until 5000 BC in the Neolithic period that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared in the Aegean, marking the beginning of civilization.
3 Chronology and history
4.1 Minoans beyond Crete
5 Settlements of the Minoan civilization
6 Society and culture
7 Language and writing
10 Warfare and the "Minoan Peace"
12 Agriculture and subsistence
12.1 Evolution of agricultural tools in Minoan Crete
13 Minoan demise theories
14 Population genetics studies
15 See also
18 External links
Palaces (anaktora) are the best-known Minoan building types excavated on Crete. They are monumental buildings serving administrative purposes, as evidenced by the large archives unearthed by archaeologists. Each of the palaces excavated to date has its own unique features, but they also share features that set them apart from other structures. The palaces are often multi-storied, with interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive columns, storage magazines, and courtyards.
The term "Minoan" refers to the mythic "king" Minos of Knossos; who first coined the term is debated. It is commonly attributed to famed Minoan archeologist Arthur Evans (1851-1941). Minos was associated in Greek myth with the labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos. However, Karl Hoeck used the name Das Minoische Kretas in 1825 for Volume II of his major work, Kreta, which would appear to be the first known use of the term Minoan to mean ancient Cretan. Likely, Arthur Evans read the book, continuing the use of the term in his own writings and findings.  Evans said:
"To this early civilization of Crete as a whole I have proposed — and the suggestion has been generally adopted by the archaeologists of this and other countries — to apply the name 'Minoan.'"
Evans claims to have applied it, but not to have invented it. Hoeck had in mind the Crete of mythology. He had no idea that the archaeological Crete had existed. Evans' 1931 claim that the term was "unminted" before his use of it has been tagged a "brazen suggestion" by Karadimas and Momigliano. However, Evans' statement applies to archaeological contexts. Since he was the one who discovered the civilization, and the term could not have been in use to mean it previously, he did coin that specific meaning.
Chronology and history
Further information: Minoan chronology and Minoan pottery
Rather than associate absolute calendar dates for the Minoan period, archaeologists use two systems of relative chronology. The first, created by Evans and modified by later archaeologists, is based on pottery styles and the presence of imported Egyptian artifacts, which can be correlated with the chronology of Ancient Egypt. Evans's scheme divides the Minoan period into three main eras: Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM). These eras are further subdivided, for instance into Early Minoan I, II, III (EMI, EMII, EMIII).
Another dating system, proposed by the Greek archaeologist Nicolas Platon, is based on the development of the architectural complexes known as "palaces" at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Kato Zakros. He divides the Minoan period into Pre-palatial, Proto-palatial, Neo-palatial and Post-palatial subperiods. The relationship between these two systems is given in the accompanying table, with approximate calendar dates drawn from Warren and Hankey (1989).
The Thera eruption occurred during a mature phase of the LM IA period. Efforts to establish the calendar date of the volcanic eruption have been extremely controversial. Radiocarbon dating has indicated a date in the late 17th century BC; those radiocarbon dates, however, conflict with the estimates of archaeologists, who synchronize the eruption with the Conventional Egyptian chronology and obtain a date of around 1525–1500 BC. See the article on dating the Thera eruption for more discussion. The eruption often is identified as a natural event catastrophic for the culture, leading to its rapid collapse.
(Old Palace Period)
(New Palace Period)
(At Knossos, Final Palace Period)
The oldest evidence of inhabitants on Crete are preceramic Neolithic farming community remains that date to approximately 7000 BC. A comparative study of DNA haplogroups of modern Cretan men showed that a male founder group, from Anatolia or the Levant, is shared with the Greeks. The neolithic population dwelt in open villages. Fishermen's huts were built on the shores, while the fertile Mesara Plain was used for agriculture.
The Bronze Age began in Crete around 2700 BC. In the late 3rd millennium BC, several localities on the island developed into centers of commerce and handwork. This enabled the upper classes to continuously practice leadership activities and to expand their influence. It is likely that the original hierarchies of the local elites were replaced by monarchist power structures – a precondition for the creation of the great palaces. From the Early Bronze Age (3500 BC to 2600 BC), the Minoan civilization on Crete showed a promise of greatness.
At the end of the MMII period (1700 BC), there was a large disturbance in Crete, probably an earthquake, or possibly an invasion from Anatolia. The palaces at Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros were destroyed. But with the start of the Neopalatial period, population increased again, the palaces were rebuilt on a larger scale and new settlements were built all over the island. This period (the 17th and 16th centuries BC, MM III / Neopalatial) represents the apex of the Minoan civilization. There was another natural catastrophe around 1600 BC, possibly an eruption of the Thera volcano. The Minoans rebuilt the palaces, however they drastically changed.
The influence of the Minoan civilization outside Crete has been seen in the evidence of valuable Minoan handicraft items on the Greek mainland. It is likely that the ruling house of Mycenae was connected to the Minoan trade network. After around 1700 BC, the material culture on the Greek mainland achieved a new level due to Minoan influence. Connections between Egypt and Crete are prominent. Minoan ceramics are found in Egyptian cities and the Minoans imported several items from Egypt, especially papyrus, as well as architectural and artistic ideas. The Egyptian hieroglyphs served as a model for the Minoan pictographic writing, from which the famous Linear A and Linear B writing systems later developed. Bengtson has also demonstrated Minoan influence among Canaanite artifacts.
Around 1450 BC, Minoan culture experienced a turning point due to a natural catastrophe, possibly an earthquake. Another eruption of the Thera volcano has been linked to this downfall, but its dating and implications remain controversial. Several important palaces in locations such as Mallia, Tylissos, Phaistos, Hagia Triade as well as the living quarters of Knossos were destroyed. The palace in Knossos seems to have remained largely intact. This resulted in the Dynasty in Knossos being able to spread its influence over large parts of Crete, until it was overrun by Mycenaean Greeks.
The Minoan palace sites were occupied by the Mycenaeans around 1420 BC (1375 BC according to other sources), who adapted the Linear A Minoan script to the needs of their own Mycenaean language. It was a form of Greek, which was written in Linear B. The first such archive anywhere is in the LMII-era "Room of the Chariot Tablets". The Mycenaeans generally tended to adapt, rather than destroy, Minoan culture, religion and art. They continued to operate the economic system and bureaucracy of the Minoans.
During LMIIIA:1, Amenhotep III at Kom el-Hatan took note of k-f-t-w (Kaftor) as one of the "Secret Lands of the North of Asia". Also mentioned are Cretan cities, such as Ἀμνισός (Amnisos), Φαιστός (Phaistos), Κυδωνία (Kydonia) and Kνωσσός (Knossos) and some toponyms reconstructed as belonging to the Cyclades or the Greek mainland. If the values of these Egyptian names are accurate, then this Pharaoh did not privilege LMIII Knossos above the other states in the region.
After about a century of partial recovery, most Cretan cities and palaces went into decline in the 13th century BC (LHIIIB/LMIIIB). The last Linear A archives date to LMIIIA (contemporary with LHIIIA).
Knossos remained an administrative center until 1200 BC. The last of the Minoan sites was the defensive mountain site of Karfi, a refuge site which displays vestiges of Minoan civilization almost into the Iron Age.
Crete is a mountainous island with natural harbours. There are signs of earthquake damage at many Minoan sites and clear signs of both uplifting of land and submersion of coastal sites due to tectonic processes all along the coasts.
Homer recorded a tradition that Crete had 90 cities. To judge from the palace sites, the island was probably divided into at least eight political units during the height of the Minoan period. The north is thought to have been governed from Knossos, the south from Phaistos, the central eastern part from Malia, the eastern tip from Kato Zakros, and the west from Chania. Smaller palaces have been found in other places.
Some of the major Minoan archaeological sites are:
• Knossos – the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete; was purchased for excavations by Evans on March 16, 1900.
• Phaistos – the second largest palatial building on the island, excavated by the Italian school shortly after Knossos
• Malia – the subject of French excavations, a palatial centre which affords a look into the development of the palaces in the protopalatial period
• Kato Zakros – a palatial site excavated by Greek archaeologists in the far east of the island. This is also referred to as "Zakro" in archaeological literature.
• Galatas – the most recently[when?] confirmed palatial site
• Agia Triada – an administrative centre close to Phaistos
• Gournia – a town site excavated in the first quarter of the 20th century by the American School
• Pyrgos – an early Minoan site on the south of the island
• Vasiliki – an early Minoan site towards the east of the island which gives its name to a distinctive ceramic ware
• Fournu Korfi – a site on the south of the island
• Pseira – island town with ritual sites
• Mount Juktas – the greatest of the Minoan peak sanctuaries because of its association with the palace of Knossos
• Arkalochori – the find site of the famous Arkalochori Axe
• Karfi – a refuge site from the late Minoan period, one of the last of the Minoan sites
• Akrotiri – settlement on the island of Santorini (Thera), near the site of the Thera Eruption
• Zominthos – a mountainous city in the northern foothills of Mount Ida
Minoans beyond Crete
Minoans were traders, and their cultural contacts reached far beyond the island of Crete — to Egypt's Old Kingdom, to copper-bearing Cyprus, Canaan, and the Levantine coasts beyond, and to Anatolia. In late 2009, Minoan-style frescoes and other Minoan-style artifacts were discovered during excavations of the Canaanite palace at Tel Kabri, Israel, leading archaeologists to conclude that the Minoan influence was the strongest foreign influence on that Caananite city state. These are the only Minoan remains ever found in Israel.
Minoan techniques and styles in ceramics also provided models, of fluctuating influence, for Helladic Greece. Along with the familiar example of Thera, Minoan "colonies" can be found first at Kastri on Cythera, an island close to the Greek mainland that came under Minoan influence in the mid-third millennium (EMII) and remained Minoan in culture for a thousand years, until Mycenaean occupation in the 13th century. The use of the term "colony", however, like "thalassocracy", has been criticized in recent years. The Minoan strata there replace a mainland-derived culture in the Early Bronze Age, the earliest Minoan settlement outside Crete.
The Cyclades were in the Minoan cultural orbit, and, closer to Crete, the islands of Karpathos, Saria and Kasos, also contained Minoan colonies, or settlements of Minoan traders, from the Middle Bronze Age (MMI-II). Most of them were abandoned in LMI, but Minoan Karpathos recovered and continued with a Minoan culture until the end of the Bronze Age. Other supposed Minoan colonies, such as that hypothesised by Adolf Furtwängler for Aegina, were later dismissed by scholars. There was a Minoan colony at Ialysos on Rhodes.
Minoan cultural influence indicates an orbit that extended not only throughout the Cyclades (so-called Minoanisation), but in locations such as Egypt and Cyprus. Paintings from the 15th century BC in Thebes, Egypt depict a number of individuals, who are Minoan in appearance, bearing gifts. Inscriptions record these people as coming from Keftiu, or the "islands in the midst of the sea", and may refer to gift-bringing merchants or officials from Crete.
Certain locations within Crete emphasize it as an "outward looking" society. The Neopalatial site of Kato Zakros, for instance, is located within 100 metres of the modern shore-line, situated within a bay. Its large number of workshops and the richness of its site materials indicate a potential 'entrepôt' for import and export. Such activities are elaborated in artistic representations of the sea, including the 'Flotilla' fresco from room 5, in the west house at Akrotiri.
Settlements of the Minoan civilization
These are the estimated populations of hamlets, villages, and towns of the Minoan civilization over time. Note that there are several problems with estimating the sizes of individual settlements, and the highest estimates for a given settlements, in a given period, may be several times the lowest.
Table 2: 2500-1200 BCE
Society and culture
The Minoans were primarily a mercantile people engaged in overseas trade. Their culture, from 1700 BC onward, shows a high degree of organization.
The Minoan trade in saffron, the stigma of a mutated crocus which originated in the Aegean basin as a natural chromosome mutation, has left fewer material remains: a fresco of saffron-gatherers at Santorini is well-known. This inherited trade pre-dated Minoan civilization: a sense of its rewards may be gained by comparing its value to frankincense, or later, to pepper. Archaeologists[who?] tend to emphasize the more durable items of trade: ceramics, copper, and tin, and dramatic luxury finds of gold and silver.
Objects of Minoan manufacture suggest there was a network of trade with mainland Greece (notably Mycenae), Cyprus, Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and westward as far as the coast of Spain.
Minoan men wore loincloths and kilts. Women wore robes that had short sleeves and layered flounced skirts. The robes were open to the navel, allowing their breasts to be left exposed. Women also had the option of wearing a strapless fitted bodice. The patterns on clothes emphasized symmetrical geometric designs. Given the fragility of organic materials, other forms of dress may have been worn of which no archeological evidence exists.
The Minoan religion focused on female deities, with females officiating. The frescos include many depictions of people, with the genders distinguished by colour: the men's skin is reddish-brown, the women's white.
Language and writing
Knowledge of the spoken and written language of the Minoans is scant, due to the small number of records found. Clay tablets dating to around 3000 BC were found with the various Cretan scripts. Clay tablets seem to have been in use from around 3000 BC or earlier. Two clay cups from Knossos have been found to have remnants of ink, and inkwells similar to the animal-shaped inkstands from Mesopotamia have also been found.
Sometimes the Minoan language is referred to as Eteocretan, but this confuses the language written in Linear A scripts and the language written in a Euboean-derived alphabet after the Greek Dark Ages. While the Eteocretan language is believed to be a descendant of Minoan, there is not enough source material in either language to allow conclusions to be made.
The earliest dated writing found on Crete is the Cretan hieroglyphs. It is not known whether this language is Minoan or not and its origin is still a topic of debate. These hieroglyphs are often associated with the Egyptians, but they also show relation to several other writings from the region of Mesopotamia. The hieroglyphs came into use from MMI; they were used at the same time as the emerging Linear A from the 18th century BC (MM II). The hieroglyphs disappeared at some point during the 17th century BC (MM III).
In the Mycenean period, Linear A was replaced by Linear B, recording a very archaic version of the Greek language. Linear B was successfully deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, but the earlier scripts remain a mystery. The overwhelming majority of tablets are written in the Linear B script, apparently being inventories of goods or resources. Others are inscriptions on religious objects associated with a cult.[which?] Because most of these inscriptions are concise economic records rather than dedicatory inscriptions, the translation of Minoan remains a challenge.
Unless Eteocretan truly is its descendant, the Minoan language may have become extinct during the Greek Dark Ages, a time of economic and socio-political collapse.
The greatest collection of Minoan art is in the museum at Heraklion, near Knossos on the north shore of Crete. Minoan art, with other remains of material culture, especially the sequence of ceramic styles, has been used by archaeologists to define the three phases of Minoan culture (EM, MM, LM) discussed above.
Since wood and textiles have vanished through decomposition, the best preserved, and so most easily learned from, surviving examples of Minoan art are its pottery, the palace architecture with frescos that include landscapes, stone carvings, and intricately carved seal stones.
Main article: Minoan pottery
In the Early Minoan period ceramics were characterised by linear patterns of spirals, triangles, curved lines, crosses, fish bone motifs, and such. In the Middle Minoan period, naturalistic designs such as fish, squid, birds, and lilies were common. In the Late Minoan period, flowers and animals were still the most characteristic, but the variability had increased. The 'palace style' of the region around Knossos is characterised by a strong geometric simplification of naturalistic shapes and monochromatic paintings. Notable are the similarities between Late Minoan and Mycenaean art. Frescoes were the main form of art during these times of the Minoan culture.
This jug on the left is dated from the Late Minoan IB, or sixteenth century B.C.E. On Crete, the Minoans led an apparently peaceful and prosperous existence that thrived on their sea-girt island. That contacts between the island inhabitants and their neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean were widespread is attested to the fact that this jug was found in Egypt. Minoan knowledge of the sea was continued by the Mycenaeans in their frequent use of marine forms among the many natural motifs employed in the decoration of beautifully designed utilitarian and decorative objects. The four large creatures on this spouted pitcher are nautiluses (sometimes called Argonauts) which jauntily wave their tentacles in a rhythmic in unrealistic fashion. Corals, algae, and other sea life fill every space in an underwater composition bursting with vitality.
Main article: Minoan religion
The Minoans seem to have worshipped primarily goddesses, and their culture has been described as being based on a "matriarchal religion." Professor Nanno Marinatos stated: "The hierarchy and relationship of gods within the pantheon is difficult to decode from the images alone." She denies earlier descriptions of Minoan religion as primitive, saying that it "was the religion of a sophisticated and urbanized palatial culture with a complex social hierarchy. It was not dominated by fertility any more than any religion of the past or present has been, and it addressed gender identity, rites of passage, and death. It is reasonable to assume that both the organization and the rituals, even the mythology, resembled the religions of Near Eastern palatial civilizations."
Although there is some evidence of male gods, depictions of Minoan goddesses vastly outnumber depictions of anything that could be considered a Minoan god. While some of these depictions of women may be images of worshippers and priestesses officiating at religious ceremonies, as opposed to deities, several goddesses appear to be portrayed. These include a Mother Goddess of fertility, a Mistress of the Animals, a protectress of cities, the household, the harvest, and the underworld, and more. They are often represented by serpents, birds, poppies, and a somewhat vague shape of an animal upon the head.
A major festive celebration was exemplified in the famous athletic Minoan bull dance, represented at large in the frescoes of Knossos and inscribed in miniature seals.
The Minoan horn-topped altars, conventionally called "Horns of Consecration" ever since Evans coined the term, are represented in seal impressions, and survive in examples as far afield as Cyprus. Minoan sacred symbols include the bull and its horns of consecration, the labrys (double-headed axe), the pillar, the serpent, the sun-disk, and the tree.
Haralampos V. Harissis and Anastasios V. Harissis have suggested a completely different interpretation of these symbols. They argue that they were based on apiculture rather than religion.
Evidence of human sacrifice by the Minoans has been found at three sites: (1) Anemospilia, in a MMII building near Mt. Juktas, interpreted as a temple, (2) an EMII sanctuary complex at Fournou Korifi in south central Crete, and (3) Knossos, in an LMIB building known as the "North House."
Similar to archaeological finds of the Bronze Age, burial remains constitute much of the material and archaeological evidence for the period. By the end of the Second Palace Period, Minoan burial practice was dominated by two broad forms: 'Circular Tombs', or Tholoi, (located in South Crete) and 'House Tombs', (located in the north and the east). Many trends and patterns within Minoan mortuary practice do not conform to this simple breakdown. Overall, inhumation was the most popular form of burial; cremation does not seem to have been as popular. Throughout this period the trend was towards individual burials, with some distinguished exceptions. These include the much-debated Chrysolakkos complex, Mallia, consisting of a number of buildings forming a complex. This is located in the centre of Mallia's burial area and may have been the focus for burial rituals, or the 'crypt' for a notable family.
Warfare and the "Minoan Peace"
Though the vision created by Arthur Evans of a Pax Minoica, a "Minoan peace", has been criticised in recent years, it is generally assumed there was little internal armed conflict in Minoan Crete itself, until the following Mycenaean period. As with much of Minoan Crete, however, it is hard to draw any obvious conclusions from the evidence. New excavations sustain scholarly interest and document the culture's influence around the Aegean.
Despite having found ruined watchtowers and fortification walls, Evans argued that there was little evidence for ancient Minoan fortifications. But as S. Alexiou has pointed out (in Kretologia 8), a number of sites, especially Early and Middle Minoan sites such as Aghia Photia, are built on hilltops or are otherwise fortified. As Lucia Nixon said, "...we may have been over-influenced by the lack of what we might think of as solid fortifications to assess the archaeological evidence properly. As in so many other instances, we may not have been looking for evidence in the right places, and therefore we may not end with a correct assessment of the Minoans and their ability to avoid war."
Chester Starr points out in "Minoan Flower Lovers" (Hagg-Marinatos eds. Minoan Thalassocracy) that Shang China and the Maya both had unfortified centers and yet engaged in frontier struggles, so the lack of fortifications alone cannot be enough to conclude that the Minoans were a peaceful civilization unparalleled in history.
In 1998, however, when Minoan archaeologists met in a conference in Belgium to discuss the possibility that the idea of Pax Minoica was outdated, the evidence for Minoan war still proved to be scanty. Archaeologist Jan Driessen, for example, said the Minoans frequently show 'weapons' in their art, but only in ritual contexts. He said,
"The construction of fortified sites is often assumed to reflect a threat of warfare, but such fortified centres were multifunctional; they were also often the embodiment or material expression of the central places of the territories at the same time as being monuments glorifying and merging leading power" (Driessen 1999, p. 16).
On the other hand, Stella Chryssoulaki's work on the small outposts or 'guard-houses' in the east of the island represent possible elements of a defensive system. Claims that they produced no weapons are erroneous; type A Minoan swords (as found in palaces of Mallia and Zarkos) were the finest in all of the Aegean (See Sanders, AJA 65, 67, Hoeckmann, JRGZM 27, or Rehak and Younger, AJA 102).
Keith Branigan claimed that 95% of so-called Minoan weapons possessed hafting (hilts, handles) that would have prevented their use as weapons (Branigan, 1999). But, recent experimental testing of accurate replicas has shown this to be incorrect; these weapons were capable of cutting flesh down to the bone (and scoring the bone's surface) without any damage to the weapons themselves. Archaeologist Paul Rehak maintains that Minoan figure-eight shields could not have been used for fighting or hunting, since they were too cumbersome (Rehak, 1999). And archaeologist Jan Driessen says the Minoans frequently show 'weapons' in their art, but only in ritual contexts (Driessen 1999). Finally, archaeologist Cheryl Floyd concludes that Minoan "weapons" were tools used for mundane tasks such as meat-processing (Floyd, 1999). But, this theory is questionable given the evidence of "rapiers nearly three feet in length" dated to the Middle Minoan period.
About Minoan warfare, Branigan concludes that "The quantity of weaponry, the impressive fortifications, and the aggressive looking long-boats all suggested an era of intensified hostilities. But on closer inspection there are grounds for thinking that all three key elements are bound up as much with status statements, display, and fashion as with aggression.... Warfare such as there was in the southern Aegean EBA early Bronze Age was either personalized and perhaps ritualized (in Crete) or small-scale, intermittent and essentially an economic activity (in the Cyclades and the Argolid/Attica) " (1999, p. 92). Archaeologist Krzyszkowska concurs: "The stark fact is that for the prehistoric Aegean we have no direct evidence for war and warfare per se" (Krzyszkowska, 1999).
No evidence has been found of a Minoan army, or for Minoan domination of peoples outside Crete. Few signs of warfare appear in Minoan art. "Although a few archaeologists see war scenes in a few pieces of Minoan art, others interpret even these scenes as festivals, sacred dance, or sports events" (Studebaker, 2004, p. 27). Although armed warriors are depicted being stabbed in the throat with swords, violence may occur in the context of ritual or blood sport.
On the Mainland of Greece at the time of the Shaft Graves at Mycenae, there is little evidence for major fortifications among the Mycenaeans there. (The famous citadels post-date the destruction of almost all Neopalatial Cretan sites.) The constant warmongering of other contemporaries of the ancient Minoans – the Egyptians and Hittites, for example – is well documented.
The Minoan cities were connected with stone-paved roads, formed from blocks cut with bronze saws. Streets were drained and water and sewer facilities were available to the upper class, through clay pipes.
Minoan buildings often had flat tiled roofs; plaster, wood, or flagstone floors, and stood two to three stories high. Typically the lower walls were constructed of stone and rubble, and the upper walls of mudbrick. Ceiling timbers held up the roofs.
The materials used in constructing the villas and palaces varied, and could include sandstone, gypsum, or limestone. Equally, building techniques could also vary between different constructions; some palaces used ashlar masonry while others used roughly hewn megalithic blocks.
The first palaces were constructed at the end of the Early Minoan period in the third millennium BC (Malia). While it was formerly believed that the foundation of the first palaces was synchronous and dated to the Middle Minoan at around 2000 BC (the date of the first palace at Knossos), scholars now think that palaces were built over a longer period in different locations, in response to local developments. The main older palaces are Knossos, Malia, and Phaistos. Some of the elements recorded in the Middle Minoan 'palaces' (Knossos, Phaistos and Mallia, for example) have precedents in earlier styles of construction in the Early Minoan period. These include the indented western court, and the special treatment given to the western façade. An example of this is seen at the "House on the Hill" at Vasiliki, dated to the Early Minoan II period.
The palaces fulfilled a plethora of functions: they served as centres of government, administrative offices, shrines, workshops, and storage spaces (e.g., for grain). These distinctions might have seemed artificial to Minoans.
The use of the term 'palace' for the older palaces, meaning a dynastic residence and seat of power, has recently come under criticism (see Palace), and the term 'court building' has been proposed instead. However, the original term is probably too well entrenched to be replaced. Architectural features such as ashlar masonry, orthostats, columns, open courts, staircases (implying upper stories), and the presence of diverse basins have been used to define palatial architecture.
Often the conventions of the better-known, younger palaces have been used to reconstruct older ones, but this practice may be obscuring fundamental functional differences. Most older palaces had only one story and no representative facades. They were U-shaped, with a big central court, and generally were smaller than later palaces.
Late palaces are characterised by multi-story buildings. The west facades had sandstone ashlar masonry. Knossos is the best-known example. Further building conventions could include storage magazines, a north-south orientation, a pillar room, a Minoan Hall system, a western court, and pier-and-door entrance ways. Palatial architecture in the First Palace Period is identified by its 'square within a square' style, whilst later, Second Palace Period constructions incorporated more internal divisions and corridors.
A common architectural standard among the Middle Minoan 'palaces' was that they are aligned with their surrounding topography. The MM palatial structure of Phaistos appears to align with Mount Ida, whilst Knossos is aligned with Juktas. These are oriented along a north-south axis. Scholars suggest the alignment was related to the sacred or ritual significance of the mountain, where a number of Peak Sanctuaries (spaces for public ritual) have been excavated (i.e., Petsophas). The material record for these sites show clusters of clay figurines and evidence of animal sacrifice.
One of the most notable contributions of Minoans to architecture is their unique column, which was wider at the top than the bottom. It is called an 'inverted' column because most Greek columns are wider at the bottom, creating an illusion of greater height. The columns were also made of wood as opposed to stone, and were generally painted red. They were mounted on a simple stone base and were topped with a pillow-like, round piece as a capital.
A number of compounds interpreted as 'Villas' have been excavated in Crete. These structures share many features with the central Palaces (i.e., a conspicuous western facade, storage facilities, and a 'Minoan Hall') of the Neopalatial era. These features may indicate either that they performed a similar role, or that the structures were artistic imitations, suggesting that their occupants were familiar with palatial culture. These villas are often richly decorated (see the frescos of Haghia Triadha Villa A).
Agriculture and subsistence
The Minoans raised cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats, and grew wheat, barley, vetch, and chickpeas; they also cultivated grapes, figs, and olives, and grew poppies, for poppyseed and, perhaps, opium. The Minoans also domesticated bees.
Crops including lettuce, celery, asparagus and carrots grow wild in Crete. Pear, quince, and olive trees were also native. The people imported date palm trees, and cats (used for hunting purposes) from Egypt. They adopted pomegranates from the Near East, although not lemons and oranges, as is often thought.
They developed Mediterranean polyculture, the practice of growing more than one crop at a time. Their more varied and healthy diet resulted in the growth of population. Theoretically this method of farming would maintain the fertility of the soil, as well as offer protection against low yields in any single crop. Linear B tablets indicate the importance of orchard farming (i.e., figs, olives and grapes) in processing crops for "secondary products". Olive oil in the Cretan diet (or more widely, the Mediterranean diet) is comparable to butter in the Northern diet. The process of fermenting wine from grapes is likely to have been a concern of the "Palace" economies, whereby such prestige goods would have been both important trade commodities as well as culturally meaningful items of consumption. Equally, it is likely that the consumption of exotic or expensive products would have played a role in the presentation and articulation of political and economic power.
Farmers used wooden plows, bound by leather to wooden handles, and pulled by pairs of donkeys or oxen.
Marine resources were also important in the Cretan diet. The prevalence of edible molluscs in site material, and artistic representations of marine fish and animals, including the distinctive "Octopus" stirrup jar (LM IIIC), indicate an appreciation and occasional use of fish within the economy. But scholars believe these resources were not as significant in relation to grain, olives and animal produce. The intensification of agricultural activity is indicated by the construction of terraces and dams at Pseira in the Late Minoan period.
The Cretan diet included wild game. Cretans hunted and ate wild deer and boar along with the meats made available to them by their livestock. Wild game can no longer be found on Crete.
Not all plants and flora would have a purely functional or economic utility. Artistic depictions often show scenes of lily gathering and performances within 'green' spaces. The fresco known as the Sacred Grove at Knossos, for instance, depicts a number of female figures facing towards the left-hand-side of the scene, flanked by a copse of trees. Some scholars have suggested that these depictions represent the performance of 'harvest festivals' or ceremonies, as a means to honour the continued fertility of the soil. Artistic depictions of farming scenes also appear on the Second Palace Period "Harvester Vase" (an egg-shaped rhyton, or pouring vessel), where 27 male figures, led by another, each carry hoes. This suggests the importance of farming as an artistic motif.
The discovery of storage magazines within the palace compounds has prompted much debate. At the second 'palace' at Phaistos, for instance, a range of rooms in the western side of the structure have been identified as a magazine block. Within these storage areas, numerous jars, jugs and vessels have been recovered, indicating the role of the complex as a potential re-distribution centre of agricultural produce. Several possibilities may be suggested, including a model where all economic and agricultural produce was controlled by the Palace and re-distributed by it. At sites such as Knossos, where the town had developed to a considerable size, there is evidence of craft specialisation, indicating workshops. The Palace of Kato Zakro, for instance, indicates workshops that were integrated into the structure of the palace. Such evidence contributes to the theory that the Minoan palatial system developed through economic intensification, where greater agricultural surplus could support a population of administrators, craftsmen and religious practitioners. The number of domestic, or sleeping, chambers at the Palaces indicate that they could have supported a large population of individuals who were removed from manual labour.
Evolution of agricultural tools in Minoan Crete
Originally the tools were made of wood or bone, and bound to the handle with leather straps. During the Bronze Age, the tools were upgraded to bronze, with wooden handles. Due to its circular hole, the tool head would spin around on the handle. The Minoans developed oval- shaped holes in their tools to fit oval-shaped handles. This stopped the spinning.
• Double Adze
• Double Axe
• Single-Bladed Axe
Minoan demise theories
Main article: Minoan eruption
Between 1935 and 1939, the Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos came up with the theory of the Minoan Eruption. The Minoan eruption on the island of Thera (present-day Santorini about 100 km distant from Crete) occurred during the LM IA period. This eruption was among the largest volcanic explosions in the history of civilization, ejecting approximately 60 km3 of material and rating a 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index. The eruption devastated the nearby Minoan settlement at Akrotiri on Santorini, which was entombed in a layer of pumice. The eruption is believed to have severely affected the Minoan culture on Crete, although the extent of the effects has been debated. Early theories proposed that ashfall from Thera on the eastern half of Crete choked off plant life, causing starvation of the local population. More thorough field examinations have determined that no more than 5 millimetres (0.20 in) of ash fell anywhere on Crete. Based on archaeological evidence found on Crete, 21st century studies indicate that a massive tsunami, generated by the Theran eruption, devastated the coastal areas of Crete and destroyed many Minoan settlements.
The LM IIIA (Late Minoan) period is marked by its affluence (i.e., wealthy tombs, burials and art) and the ubiquity of Knossian ceramic styles. But, by LM IIIB the importance of Knossos as a regional centre, and its material 'wealth', seem to have declined.
Significant Minoan remains have been found above the Late Minoan I era Thera ash layer, implying that the Thera eruption did not cause the immediate downfall of the Minoans. As the Minoans were a sea power and depended on naval and merchant ships for their livelihood, the Thera eruption likely caused significant economic hardship to the Minoans. Whether these effects were enough to trigger the downfall of the civilization is intensely debated. The Mycenaean conquest of the Minoans occurred in Late Minoan II period. The Mycenaeans were a military civilization. Using their functional navy and a well-equipped army they were capable of an invasion. Mycenaean weaponry has been found in burials on Crete. This demonstrates Mycenaean military influence not many years after the eruption. Many archaeologists speculate that the eruption caused a crisis in Minoan civilization, making them vulnerable to conquest by the Mycenaeans.
Sinclair Hood writes that the destruction of the Minoans was most likely due to an invading force. Although the demise of the flourishing civilization was aided by the erupting volcano on Thera, the ultimate end came from outside conquerors. Archaeological evidence suggests that the destruction of the island was due to fire damage. Hood notes that the palace at Knossos appears to have experienced less damage than other sites along the island of Crete. As natural disasters do not choose targets, the uneven destruction was likely caused by invaders. They would have seen the usefulness of preserving a palace center like Knossos for their own use.
Several authors have noted evidence that the Minoan civilization had exceeded the environmental carrying capacity. For example, archaeological recovery at Knossos shows deforestation of this part of Crete near the late stages of Minoan development.
Population genetics studies
A 2013 mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) study was conducted by a research team that analyzed DNA from ancient Minoan skeletons that were sealed in a cave in Crete's Lassithi Plateau between 3,700 and 4,400 years ago, as well as other Greek, Anatolian, western and northern European samples, while being distant from North African and Egyptian samples.
They then compared the skeletal mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on through the maternal line, with that found in a sample of 135 modern and ancient populations from around Europe and Africa. The researchers found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern-day Europeans — and especially close to modern-day Cretans, particularly those from the Lassithi Plateau. They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans, but distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations. According to the authors, these results are consistent with the hypothesis of an indigenous development of the Minoan civilization from the descendants of the first Neolithic settlers to the island (who arrived from Anatolia, present-day Turkey and Iraq, approximately 9,000 years ago,), as opposed to a North African or Egyptian origin, as originally hypothesized by Evans. "We now know that the founders of the first advanced European civilization were European," said study co-author George Stamatoyannopoulos, a human geneticist at the University of Washington. "They were very similar to Neolithic Europeans and very similar to present day-Cretans."[96
· Linear A
· Linear B
· Peak sanctuaries
· Sacred caves
· Phaistos Disc
· Herakleion Archaeological Museum
· Cretan diet
· Bull-Leaping Fresco
1 ^ "Ancient Crete" in Oxford Bibliographies Online: Classics, offers a scholarly guide to the academic literature on this topic.
2 ^ Durant, Will (1939). "The Life of Greece". The Story of Civilization II. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 21.
3 ^ Wilford, J.N., "On Crete, New Evidence of Very Ancient Mariners", The New York Times, Feb 2010
4 ^ Bowner, B., "Hominids Went Out of Africa on Rafts", Wired, Jan 2010
5 ^ John Bennet, "Minoan civilization", Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd ed., p. 985.
6 ^ to: a b Karadimas, Nektarios; Momigliano, Nicoletta (2004). "On the Term 'Minoan' before Evans's Work in Crete (1894)" (PDF). Studi micenei ed egeo-anatolici (Roma: Edizione del 'Ateneo) 46 (2): 243–258.
7 ^ Evans 1921, p. 1.
8 ^ Manning, Sturt W; Ramsey, CB; Kutschera, W; Higham, T; Kromer, B; Steier, P; Wild, EM (2006). "Chronology for the Aegean Late Bronze Age 1700-1400 B.C". Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 312 (5773): 565–569. Bibcode:2006Sci...312..565M. doi:10.1126/science.1125682. PMID 16645092. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
9 ^ Friedrich, Walter L; Kromer, B; Friedrich, M; Heinemeier, J; Pfeiffer, T; Talamo, S (2006). "Santorini Eruption Radiocarbon Dated to 1627–1600 B.C". Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science) 312 (5773): 548. doi:10.1126/science.1125087. PMID 16645088. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
10 ^ "Chronology". Thera Foundation. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
11 ^ Balter, M (2006). "New Carbon Dates Support Revised History of Ancient Mediterranean". Science 312 (5773): 508–509. doi:10.1126/science.312.5773.508. PMID 16645054.
12 ^ Warren PM (2006). Czerny E, Hein I, Hunger H, Melman D, Schwab A, ed. Timelines: Studies in Honour of Manfred Bietak (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 149). Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: Peeters. pp. 2: 305–321. ISBN 90-429-1730-X.
13 ^ C. Broodbank, T. Strasser, "Migrant farmers and the Neolithic colonisation of Crete" Antiquity 1991 65: 233–245.
14 ^ R.J. King, S.S. Ozcan et al., "Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian influences on the Greek and Cretan Neolithic"
15 ^ to: a b Hermann Bengtson: Griechische Geschichte, C.H. Beck, München, 2002. 9th Edition. ISBN 340602503X. pp.8–15
16 ^ Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 1966) p. 101.
17 ^ to: a b c d e f Karl-Wilhelm Welwei: Die Griechische Frühzeit, C.H.Beck, München, 2002. ISBN 3406479855. pp.12–18
18 ^ Hermann Kinder & Werner Hilgemann, Anchor Atlas of World History, (Anchor Press: New York, 1974) p. 33.
19 ^ Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X.
20 ^ All estimates have been revised downward by Todd Whitelaw, “Estimating the Population of Neopalatial Knossos,” in G. Cadogan, E. Hatzaki, and A. Vasilakis (eds.), Knossos: Palace, City, State (British School at Athens Studies 12) (London 2004); at Moschlos in eastern Crete, the population expansion was at the end of the Neoplalatial period (Jeffrey S. Soles and Davaras, Moschlos IA 2002: Preface p. xvii).
21 ^ (Driesson, Jan, and MacDonald, Colin F. 2000)
22 ^ Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times p. 77.
23 ^ Ibid. p. 107.
24 ^ BBC "The Minoan Civilisation of Crete": "The later Minoan towns are in more and more inaccessible places, the last one being at Karfi, high in the Dikti Mountains. From that time onward, there are no traces of the Minoans".
25 ^ For instance, the uplift as much as 9 metres in western Crete linked with the earthquake of 365 is discussed in L. Stathis, C. Stiros, "The 8.5+ magnitude, AD365 earthquake in Crete: Coastal uplift, topography changes, archaeological and Ihistorical signature," Quaternary International (23 May 2009).
26 ^ Homer, Odyssey xix.
27 ^ to: a b "Thera and the Aegean World III". Retrieved 2009-09-13.
28 ^ "Remains of Minoan fresco found at Tel Kabri"; "Remains Of Minoan-Style Painting Discovered During Excavations of Canaanite Palace", ScienceDaily, 7 December 2009
29 ^ Hägg and Marinatos 1984; Hardy (ed.) 1984; Broadbank 2004
30 ^ J. N. Coldstream and G. L. Huxley, Kythera: Excavations and Studies Conducted by the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the British School at Athens (London: Faber & Faber) 1972.
31 ^ E. M. Melas, The Islands of Karpathos, Saros and Kasos in the Neolithic and Bronze Age (Studies in Mediterranean archaeology 68) (Göteburg) 1985.
32 ^ James Penrose Harland, Prehistoric Aigina: A History of the Island in the Bronze Age, ch. V. (Paris) 1925.
33 ^ Arne Furumark, "The settlement at Ialysos and Aegean history c. 1500-1400 B.B.", in Opuscula archaeologica 6 (Lund) 1950;T. Marketou, "New Evidence on the Topography and Site History of Prehistoric Ialysos." in Soren Dietz and Ioannis Papachristodoulou (eds.), Archaeology in the Dodecanese (1988:28–31).
34 ^ Dickinson, O (1994) Pg. 248
35 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=l6rRTWv8zY0C&pg=PT48
36 ^ Unicity Europe .:|:. Home
37 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=g8eIAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA68
38 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=Qcr9AQAAQBAJ&pg=PA172
39 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=F6NMeQ_z3SsC&pg=PA77
40 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=b76EBrop0sEC&pg=PA56
41 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=qi6CAgAAQBAJ&pg=PT355
42 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=P43ChiFyVVEC&pg=PA37
43 ^ https://www.princeton.edu/~pswpc/pdfs/morris/120510.pdf
44 ^ http://s3.amazonaws.com/BronzeAge/Minoan_Life_in_Bronze_Age_Crete.pdf
45 ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=lXqFAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97
46 ^ http://www.academia.edu/3118298/Concepts_in_Urbanization_and_Early_State_Formation_The_Case_of_Minoan_Crete_v8
47 ^ http://www.fashionencyclopedia.com/fashion_costume_culture/The-Ancient-World-Greece/Minoan-Dress.html
48 ^ Patricia Rosof Family History p.12
49 ^ Hood, Sinclair (1985). "The Primitive Aspects of Minoan Artistic Convention". Bulletin de Correspondence Héllenique. Suppl. 11: 21–26.
50 ^ Hood, Sinclair. The Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age. Thames and Hudson, 1971, pg.114
51 ^ to: a b Hood, Sinclair. “The Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age”. Thames and Hudson, 1971, pg.111
52 ^ See Castleden 1994[page needed]; Goodison and Morris 1998;[page needed]
53 ^ to: a b Nanno Marinatos (2004). "Minoan and Mycenaean Civilizations". In Sarah Isles Johnston. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Harvard University Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0674015173.
54 ^ In the small courtyard of the east wing of the palace of Knossos.
55 ^ An ivory figure reproduced by Spyridon Marinatos and Max Hirmer, Crete and Mycenae (New York) 1960, fig. 97, also shows the bull dance movement.
56 ^ Haralampos V. Harissis, Anastasios V. Harissis. Apiculture in the Prehistoric Aegean.Minoan and Mycenaean Symbols Revisited, British Archaeological Reports S1958, 2009 ISBN 978-1-4073-0454-0 https://www.academia.edu/1259037/Apiculture_in_the_Prehistoric_Aegean._Minoan_and_Mycenaean_Symbols_Revisited
57 ^ Sinclair Hood (1971) The Minoans; The Story of Bronze Age Crete, pp. 140
58 ^ Alexiou wrote of fortifications and acropolises in Minoan Crete, in Kretologia 8 (1979), pp 41–56, and especially in C.G. Starr, "Minoan flower-lovers" in The Minoan Thalassocracy: Myth and Reality R. Hägg and N. Marinatos, eds. (Stockholm) 1994, pp 9–12.
59 ^ W.-B. Niemeier, "Mycenaean Knossos and the Age of Linear B", Studi micenei ed egeoanatolici 1982:275.
60 ^ Ekathimerini.com | Pax Minoica in Aegean
61 ^ Gere, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism
62 ^ Nixon, "Changing Views of Minoan Society," in Minoan Society ed L. Nixon.
63 ^ Early Aegean Warrior 5000–1450 BC Osprey Publishing, 2013.
64 ^ [Hood, S. The Minoans, 1971. Thames and Hudson Ltd: London]
65 ^ Ian Douglas, Cities: An Environmental History, p. 16, I.B. Tauris: London and New York (2013)
66 ^ D. Preziosi and L.A. Hitchcock Aegean Art and Architecture pg.48-9, Oxford University Press (1999)
67 ^ Peziosi, D & L.A. Hitchcock (1999) Pg. 121
68 ^ Preziosi, D & Hitchcock, L.A. (1999) pg. 86
69 ^ Benton and DiYanni 1998, p. 67.
70 ^ Bourbon 1998, p 34
71 ^ to: a b Sinclair Hood (1971) "The Minoans; the story of Bronze Age Crete"
72 ^ Sinclair Hood (1971) "The Minoans; the story of Bronze Age Crete" p.87
73 ^ But, Hamilakis raised doubts in 2007 that the systematic exploitation within a Polyculture model was employed at Crete (Hamilakis, Y (2007) Wiley.com
74 ^ Sherratt, A. (1981) Plough and Pastoralism: Aspects of the Secondary Products Revolution
75 ^ Sinclair Hood (1971), The Minoans; The Story of Bronze Age Crete, pp. 86
76 ^ Hamilakis, Y (1999) Food Technologies/Technologies of the Body: The Social Context of Wine and Oil Production and Consumption in Bronze Age Crete 
77 ^ Dickinson, O (1994) The Aegean Bronze Age pg. 28)
78 ^ Sinclair Hood (1971), The Minoans; The Story of Bronze Age Crete, pp. 83
79 ^ "Santorini eruption much larger than originally believed". 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
80 ^ McCoy, FW, & Dunn, SE (2002). "Modelling the Climatic Effects of the LBA Eruption of Thera: New Calculations of Tephra Volumes May Suggest a Significantly Larger Eruption than Previously Reported" (PDF). Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Earth's Atmosphere. Thera, Greece: American Geographical Union. Retrieved 2007-05-29.
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82 ^ Vergano, Dan (2006-08-27). "Ye gods! Ancient volcano could have blasted Atlantis myth". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
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91 ^ Bruce Bowen: Mycenae and Minoan Crete, 2000,
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93 ^ Pendlebury, 2003
94 ^ C. Michael Hogan, "Knossos fieldnotes", Modern Antiquarian (2007)
95 ^ to: a b Hughey, Jeffrey (2013). "A European population in Minoan Bronze Age Crete". Nature Communications 4. Bibcode:2013NatCo...4E1861H. doi:10.1038/ncomms2871. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
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· Krzszkowska, Olga, 1999. "So Where's the Loot? The Spoils of War and the Archaeological Record," pp. 489–498 In Laffineur, Robert, ed., Polemos: Le Contexte Guerrier en Egee a L'Age du Bronze. Actes de la 7e Rencontre egeenne internationale Universite de Liège, 1998. Université de Liège, Histoire de l'art d'archeologie de la Grece antique.
· Lapatin, Kenneth, 2002. Mysteries of the Snake Goddess: Art, Desire, and the Forging of History. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-306-81328-9
· Manning, S.W., 1995. "An approximate Minoan Bronze Age chronology" in A.B. Knapp, ed., The absolute chronology of the Aegean Early Bronze Age: Archaeology, radiocarbon and history (Appendix 8), in series Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol. 1 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press) A standard current Minoan chronology.
· Marinatos, Nanno, 1993. Minoan Religion: Ritual, Image, and Symbol. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
· Marinatos, Spyridon, 1960. Crete and Mycenae (originally published in Greek, 1959), photographs by Max Hirmer.
· Marinatos, Spyridon, 1972. "Life and Art in Prehistoric Thera," in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol 57.
· Mellersh, H.E.L., 1967. Minoan Crete. New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons.
· Nixon, L., 1983. "Changing Views of Minoan Society," in L. Nixon, ed. Minoan society: Proceedings of the Cambridge Colloquium, 1981.
· Pendlebury, J.D.S., 2003. Handbook to the Palace of Minos at Knossos with Its Dependencies, republication of earlier work with contributor Arthur Evans, Kessinger Publishing, 112 pages ISBN 0-7661-3916-6
· Quigley, Carroll, 1961. The Evolution of Civilizations: An Introduction to Historical Analysis, Indianapolis: Liberty Press.
· Papadopoulos, John K., "Inventing the Minoans: Archaeology, Modernity and the Quest for European Identity", Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 18:1:87-149 (June 2005)
· Preziosi, Donald & Hitchcock, Louise A. (1999) Aegean Art and Architecture, Oxford History of Art series, Oxford University Press.
· Rehak, Paul, 1999. "The Mycenaean 'Warrior Goddess' Revisited," pp. 227–240, in Laffineur, Robert, ed. Polemos: Le Contexte Guerrier en Egee a L'Age du Bronze. Actes de la 7e Rencontre egeenne internationale Universite de Liège, 1998. Universite de Liège, Histoire de l'art d'archeologie de la Grece antique.
· Sakellarakis, Y. and E. Sapouna-Sakellarakis (1981). "Drama of Death in a Minoan Temple". National Geographic 159 (2): 205–222.
· Schoep, Ilse, 2004. "Assessing the role of architecture in conspicuous consumption in the Middle Minoan I-II Periods." Oxford Journal of Archaeology vol 23/3, pp. 243–269.
· Soles, Jeffrey S., 1992, The Prepalatial Cemeteries at Mochlos and Gournia and the House Tombs of Bronze Age Crete: And the House Tombs of Bronze Age Crete, Published by ASCSA, 1992.
· Warren P., Hankey V., 1989. Aegean Bronze Age Chronology (Bristol).
· Watrous, L. Vance (1991), "The origin and iconography of the Late Minoan painted larnax", Hesperia, 60(3): 285–307; JSTOR 148065.
· Willetts, R. F., 1976 (1995 edition). The Civilization of Ancient Crete. New York: Barnes & Noble Books. ISBN 1-84212-746-2
· Yule, Paul. Early Cretan Seals: A Study of Chronology. Marburger Studien zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte 4, Mainz 1980 ISBN 3-8053-0490-0
· External links
· Ancient History Encyclopedia - Minoan Civilization
· Thera Foundation
· au.encarta.msn.com (Archived 2009-10-31) Minoan Civilization article in Encarta.
· Donald A. MacKenzie, Myths of Crete & Pre-Hellenic Europe, 1917, etext at sacred-texts.com. This is a very thorough text, but given its age and so on, much of its analysis and many of its statements need to be taken with a grain of salt.
· minoancrete.com, Extensive photos, videos and information on Minoan Crete archaeological sites.
· matala-holidays.gr, Knossos.
· fotopedia.com, Selected photos related with the Minoan civilization.
2. Minoan chronology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sir Arthur Evans developed a relative dating scheme of Minoan chronology based on the excavations initiated and managed by him at the site of the ancient city of Knossos. He called the civilization that he discovered there Minoan. The same scheme was later applied to the Greek mainland and the Cyclades Islands to form a general plan for dating events of the prehistoric and early historic Aegean. The relative chronology is based on the shapes and decorative styles of pottery found at many sites on Crete and elsewhere.
1 Evans and Knossos
2 Evans' chronology
3 Table of Minoan chronology
4 Other tables on the Internet
7 External links
Evans and Knossos
Arthur Evans began excavating on a hill called tou tseleve he kephala, "the headland of the chieftain", some three miles (5 km) from the north coast of Crete, on March 23, 1900. Two of the palace storerooms had been uncovered by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878, whose work ceased at the demand of the land owners. Simultaneously, coins and seals inscribed with a mysterious script were also discovered. These came to Evans' attention as the curator of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, a position he held from 1884 to 1908. The area was rumored to have been the site of the ancient city of Knossos.
Evans examined the site on March 19, 1894. Nothing further could be done at that time, but in 1898 Crete became an independent republic. In 1899 Evans purchased the land with his own funds (his family had been factory owners in industrial Britain) and decided to set up an excavation. In the first two weeks he discovered the Linear A tablets, a streak of luck exceeded only by Carl Blegen's legendary first day's dig at Pylos, when he uncovered the Pylos tablets, written in Linear B, a script also found at Kephala and named by Evans.
Attacking the site with crews of hundreds of diggers, Evans uncovered most of the site's 6 acres (24,000 m2) within 6 seasons. By 1905 he had named the civilization whose traces he found there Minoan, after the legendary king Minos, and had created a detailed chronology of the serial phases of the pottery styles in Minoan Crete, based on what he found at Knossos. Subsequently he concerned himself mainly with restoration, an activity frowned upon by archaeologists of today. He continued to excavate there and elsewhere and to restore until 1935.
Evans was knighted in 1911 for his work. In 1921, the first edition of his monumental work, Palace of Minos, was released, which became indispensable for any department of classical archaeology. On Evans' death in 1941, the British School of Archaeology assumed responsibility for the excavation, later turning the property over to the Greek government, while retaining excavation rights.
Evans' chronological framework had triple divisions each triply divided, a formula that has been retained, thus Early Minoan (EM) I, II and III, Middle Minoan (MM) I, II and III etc. Each subsection he divided into A and B, early and late. In 1918 Alan J. B. Wace and Carl Blegen adapted Evans' chronology to the Greek mainland and the islands, where the culture was termed Helladic and Cycladic. In 1941 Arne Furumark applied the term Mycenaean to LH and LC. As it is clear that the Mycenaean Greeks dominated at Knossos at some point in Late Minoan (LM), the latter is often included under "Mycenaean" or called "Minoan-Mycenaean".
The major study of Cretan pottery was Evans'. A very general stylistic trend was from dark decoration on a light background in the Early Minoan to white and red decorations on a dark wash or slip in Middle Minoan. Finally, there was a return to the earlier manner of dark on light in Late Minoan. New body shapes for vessels also emerged and various styles of decoration are evident within Evan's chronology.
Evans never intended to give exact calendrical dates to the pottery periods. He did correlate them roughly to better dated Egyptian periods using finds of Egyptian artifacts in association with Cretan ones and obvious similarities of some types of Cretan artifacts with Egyptian ones. Subsequent investigators checking Evans' work varied the dates of some of the periods a little, usually less than a few hundred years, but the chronological structure remains basically as Evans left it, a solid framework for placing events of Aegean prehistory.
Most criticism does not aim at the overthrow of Evans' system, but only complains that it does not capture all the data, such as local variations. Even with these faults the system has no competitors. In 1958 Nikolaos Platon proposed a new chronology at the Prehistoric Conference in Hamburg. In it, the terms "Pre-palace", "Old Palace" and "New Palace" were to replace Evans' scheme. The academic community accepted the scheme but not the replacement, simply stating where in Evans' system the new terms fit.
The one serious question concerns the date of the Knossos tablets. Allegations were made that Evans falsified the stratum in which the tablets were found to place the tablets at 1400 BCE when they ought to have been the same date as the Pylos tablets, 1200 BCE. This dispute became known as the Palmer-Boardman Dispute when it first appeared. Despite the intense debate that developed on the subject no conclusive evidence has yet been found to settle the question. A key part of the case was that a certain kind of vase, a stirrup jar (named from the handles) found in tablet contexts, is dated only to 1200. Other archaeologists hastened to the journalistic scene with instances of similar jars going back to 1400. The search for closure goes on. By default, archaeologists tend to use Evans' dating.
Table of Minoan chronology
Conventional Dates, BCE
Prepalatial, Pre-Palace (Προανακτορική), Protominoan Age (Platon)
Copper Age (Matz, Hutchinson)
Early Bronze Age (Hood)
3000–2200 (Evans, Hood)
Πρωτομινωική or ΠΜ in Greek.
First Early Minoan (Hutchinson)
Phase I (Platon)
3000–2600 (Willetts, Hood)
The main problem has been setting the end of the Neolithic; its layers were destroyed by building at Knossos.
Second Early Minoan (Hutchinson)
Phase II (Platon)
2600–2300 (Gimbutas, Willetts, Hood)
Seals like those of Egyptian 1st Intermediate Period, Dynasties 6–11, 2345–1991.
Third Early Minoan (Hutchinson)
Phase III (Platon)
2300–2200 (Willetts, Hood)
Palace Period (Matz, Platon)
Minoan Age (Platon)
Full Bronze Age (Matz)
2000–1580 (Ventris & Chadwick)
Μεσομινωική or MM in Greek
Phase III of Pre-Palace (Platon)
Early Palace (Matz)
First or Early Palaces (Hood)
2200–2000 (Willetts, Hood)
2000–1925 (Ventris & Chadwick
Kephala mound cleared of earlier structures, palace at Knossos begun (Hutchinson).
Old Palace (Evans)
Early Palace (Matz)
Old Palace (Παλαιοανακτορική) Phase I (Platon)
First or Early Palaces (Hood)
2000–1900 (Platon, Willetts, Hood)
1925–1850 (Ventris & Chadwick)
"First Palaces" or "First temple-palaces" (Gimbutas)
Use of potter's wheel. It may have been introduced in IA.
Old Palace (Evans)
Early Palace (Matz)
Old Palace Phase II (Platon)
First or Early Palaces, Middle Bronze Age (Hood)
1850–? (Hutchinson, Ventris & Chadwick)
1900–1800 (Platon, Willetts, Hood)
Old Palace (Evans)
Early Palace (Matz)
Old Palace Phase III (Platon)
First or Early Palaces, Middle Bronze Age (Hood)
?–1700 (Matz, Ventris & Chadwick)
1800–1700 (Platon, Willetts, Hood)
Palaces were so destroyed by an earthquake ca. 1700 that they had to be rebuilt. This is the dividing line between Old and New Palace and between II and III.
Old Palace (Evans)
Late Palace I (Matz)
New Palace (Νεοανακτορική) Phase I (Platon)
Middle Bronze Age (Hood)
1700–1660 (Ventris & Chadwick)
First pot signs in Linear A.
Late Palace I (Matz)
New Palace Period Phase I (Platon)
Middle Bronze Age (Hood)
1660–1580 (Ventris & Chadwick)
Another earthquake requiring more rebuilding occurred ca. 1570, which for some was the middle of IIIB and for others the start.
First Linear A archives from Mallia.
Υστερομινωική or ΥΜ in Greek
Late Palace II (Matz)
New Palace Phase II (Platon)
1600–1500 (Palmer, Furumark)
1580–1510 (Ventris & Chadwick)
The period of Thera eruption and tsunami.
Largest cache of Linear A tablets, Hagia Triada, IA and/or IB.
Late Palace II (Matz)
New Palace Phase II (Platon)
1510–1450 (Ventris & Chadwick)
1500–1450 (Palmer, Furumark)
All the palaces except Knossos were burned ca. 1450, events interpreted by the majority view as the advent of the Greeks and installment at Knossos.
Late Palace II (Matz)
New Palace Phase III (Platon)
Palace Period (Evans, MacKenzie)
1450–1400 (Hutchinson, Palmer, Furumark, Matz, Platon)
1450–1405 (Ventris & Chadwick)
The period ends with a destruction by fire of all the palaces on Crete from unknown causes. They were, of course, reoccupied.
Post-Palace Phase I (Platon)
Linear B tablets ca. 1400 (Evans and his defender, Boardman)
Post-Palace Phases II, III (Platon)
1320–1280 (II), 1260–1150 (III) (Platon)
Linear B tablets ca. 1200 (Palmer, doubter of Evans' chronology)
A general Mycenaean Greek palace destruction by fire on the mainland and Crete happened in a window of time ca. 1200 at the end of IIIB. How wide a window is not known, nor are the causes for sure. Some possibilities are any or all of civil strife, the Sea Peoples, the Dorians.
Subminoan Age (Platon, Matz, Willetts)
This period is considered a Mycenaean Greek holdout against the Dorian Greeks arriving at this time. Its end marks the completion of assimilation to them.
Other tables on the Internet
The search for a consistent chronology of Cretan civilization goes on. Other tabular chronologies have been published on the Internet by
· Ian Swindale
· Dartmouth College
· World History Encyclopedia
· Thera Foundation
· L. Marangou in the Foundation of the Hellenic World site
· Companion to Manning (Cornell)
· University of Oklahoma.
1. ^ "Page 4". Webfea-lb.fea.aub.edu.lb. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
2. ^ Sinclair Hood, The Home of the Heroes: The Aegean before the Greeks, 1975, ISBN 0-500-29009-1, Chapter 3, Dating the Bronze Age.
3. ^  Dead link
4. ^ There are many questions, of course, but this one persists and would overthrow an important part of Evans' chronology. A brief review can be found at the Stanford Archaeopedia site.
5. ^ It is well-nigh impossible to peruse any several books and articles on Crete and come up with anything like a uniform chronology. The underlying reason is no doubt that the time windows of the artifacts are not uniform. Some sites did not experience the full complement of periods; one period got extended over more than one elsewhere. The dates of the periods are not the same everywhere. The utility of a scheme such as Evans' becomes evident in a context such as this. It might be viewed as a median chronological framework.
6. ^ The dates given below are a sampling from the noted works listed in the References section below. Many samples of other noted works might be selected with little likelihood of finding the same dates, but they would tend to vary about Evans' relative chronology. Note also that some of the authors, such as Hutchinson, revised their dates as part of the ongoing process of discovery. Even in different chapters of the same book the reader will find the same period dated differently by the same author.
7. ^ Platon's Pre-Palace Period includes EM and MM IA. His Protominoan Age includes the Neolithic and the Pre-Palace Period.
8. ^ Matz uses "Metal Age" also to comprise Copper and Bronze Ages.
9. ^ The lacuna 0f 100 years is Hutchinson's. As the dates are imprecise, the reader may pick either.
10. ^ Platon's Minoan Age includes MM (exclusive of IA) and LM. His Palace Period includes MM (exclusive of IA) and LM I and II.
11. ^ Matz's Full Bronze Age includes MM and LM I&II (but not III)
12. ^ This hyphenated name is a concession to the view that the palaces were really temples. Those who espouse this minority view use "Temple Period" instead of "Palace Period", etc. A brief discussion of the question is given by Jan Driessen under The Court Compounds of Minoan Crete, Athena Review, Vol. 3 No. 3. All the authors from Evans on recognize that some areas of the palaces found religious uses. On the other hand the throne rooms and private quarters tend to support the "great king" idea. The degree to which the complexes were communal, religious or secular remains open.
13. ^ The events of course are not quite so simple. There was more than one earthquake. Old Palace at Knosses seems to have gone on modified until the middle of IIIA. There is some equivocation also about what building activities constitute "old" and "new", as earthquakes in Crete were frequent and rebuilding ongoing. The transition from old to new should not be regarded as any sharp event. The quest for precision goes on.
14. ^ The date (and effect) of the Thera eruption is as indecisive as the rest of the chronology. Carbon dating indicates the date of the eruption was near 1600 and if that were correct then the time of LMIA would need to change.
15. ^ Furumark divides IIIA into a pre-disaster IIIA1 and a post-disaster IIIA2. The latter is dated by its pottery being found at Amarna, 1375–1350. Most chronologies ignore Furumark's distinction. Until absolute dating showed the Thera eruption to be earlier, Spyridon Marinatos' theory that the eruption caused the disaster prevailed.
· Platon, Nicolas, Crete (translated from the Greek), Archaeologia Mundi series, Frederick Muller Limited, London, 1966
· Hutchinson, Prehistoric Crete, many editions hardcover and softcover
· Matz, Friedrich, The Art of Crete and Early Greece, Crown, 1962
· Mackenzie, Donald A., Crete & Pre-Hellenic, Senate, 1995, ISBN 1-85958-090-4
· Palmer, L. A., Mycenaeans and Minoans, multiple editions
· Willetts, The Civilization of Ancient Crete, Barnes & Noble, 1976, ISBN 1-56619-749-X
· Minoan Civilization, Myrtos Museum site.
· The First Great Expansion of Aegean Commerce, Chapter 9 in H. J. Kantor, Plant Ornament in the Ancient Near East
· The Impact of Cycladic Settlers on Early Minoan Crete, article by Philip P. Betancourt in Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 3 No. 1 2003.
· Minoans and Mycenaeans: Sociopolitical & Economic Evidence for LM III Crete at Knossos and Khania
· The Palaces of Minos at Knossos, article by Colin F. Macdonald in Athena Review, Vol.3, no.3: Minoan Crete
· A brief history of Knosós, British School at Athens
· Aegean Archaeology Research Resources UT Arlington
· Settlement Patterns ... in East Crete in the Final Neolithic, Peter Tomkins et al.
· The Rise of the Minoan Palaces, article by Ioannis Georganas in Antistoreton, Issue E985 of 1 July 1998.
· MINOAN TRADE: ASPECTS AND AMBIGUITIES, unrestricted thesis at the University of South Africa, by Deanne Kieser
· Courtyard Complexes and the Labyrinth of Minoan Culture, Michele A. Miller, Athena Review, Vol.3, no.3y
3. Arthur Evans
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Excerpts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Evans#External_links
Sir Arthur Evans
Archaeology, museum management, journalism, statesmanship, philanthropy
V. Gordon Childe; all archaeologists and historians of the ancient Aegean region
Fellow of the Royal Society, knighted 1911
Sir Arthur John Evans was an English archaeologist most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete and for developing the concept of Minoan civilization from the structures and artifacts found there and elsewhere throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Evans was the first to define Cretan scripts