minoan civilization: arthur evans and knossos

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  • Minoan Civilization: Arthur Evans and Knossos

  • Minoans and Mycenaeans

  • English archaeologist Arthur Evans holds a Cretan sculpture of a bull's head at the exhibition of relics from Knossos, Crete at the Royal Academy of London in 1936. One of his generation's most venerable archaeologists, Evans established the scope and influence of Bronze Age Minoan civilization.

  • Palace at KnossosThe first excavations on the site of Knossos were conducted in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan merchant and antiquarian, who brought to light part of the magazines in the west wing of the palace and a section of the west facade. After Kalokairinos, several people attempted to continue the excavations: They all abandoned their efforts, not being able to purchase the land, due to the exaggerated demands of the owners. In 1898, when Crete became an independent state with Prince George as the Governor General, a law was established according which all the antiquities of the island were the property of the state. Thus, in 1900, the systematic excavation of the palace began under the direction of A. Evans. Work was interrupted in 1912-1914 by the Balkan Wars but was resumed in 1922 and continued until 1931, when the investigation of the West Court and the Minoan town was completed.

  • Palace at KnossosThe site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 B.C.) until Roman times. The Linear B tablets (Mycenaean script) of the 14th century B.C. mention the city as ko-no-so. Intensive habitation occured mostly in the Minoan period, when the so-called first (19th-17th centuries B.C.) and second palaces (16th-14th centuries B.C.) were built along with luxurious houses, a hospice and various other structures. After its partial destruction in 1450 B.C., Knossos was settled by Mycenaeans from the Greek Mainland. The city flourished again during the Hellenistic period (sanctuaries of Glaukos, Demeter, other sanctuaries, chamber tombs, north cemetery, defensive towers) and in 67 B.C. it was captured by the Roman Quintus Caecilius Metelus Creticus. The "Villa of Dionysos", a private house with splendid mosaics was built in the same period.

  • Palace at KnossosThe old (first) palace was built in around 2000 B.C. but it was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 B.C. The new (second) palace, more complex in plan, strongly resembling a labyrinth : complex floor plan with many passageways, was constructed immediately afterwards. In the middle of the 15th century B.C. the Achaeans (Myceneans) from the Greek Mainland conquered the island of Crete and settled at the palace of Knossos. They used the Greek language, as is indicated by the clay tablets they left, written in the Linear B script. The palace was again destroyed by fire in the mid-14th century B.C. (LM IIIA period) and ceased to function as a palatial centre. Used as a defense of citizenry when the first line of defense (their navy) failed and outside invaders reached the island.Very thin walls;

  • Palace at KnossosThe Palace at Knossos is the largest (it covers an area of 215,278 square feeta football field is 57,600 sq. feet) and most spectacular of all the Minoan palatial centres (other centers included: Phaistos, Mallia, Zakros). It has all the typical features of the architectural type established in ca. 1700 B.C.: four wings arranged around a rectangular, central court, oriented N-S, which is actually the nucleus of the whole complex. The east wing contains the residential quarters, the workshops and a shrine. The west wing is occupied by the storerooms with the large pithoi (storage jars), the shrines, the repositories (places where things are storedwarehouse/museum), the throne room and, on the upper floors, the banquet halls. The north wing contains the so-called "Customs House", a lustral basin (a place of purification) and the stone-built theatrical area. The south wing: The South Propylon (monumental gateway/court before another entrance/gateway) is the most imposing building.A second, paved courtyard to the west of the palace, equipped with the "processional ways" (narrow causeways), was probably used for religious ceremonies. The palace had many stories, it was built of ashlar blocks and its walls were decorated with splendid frescoes, mostly representing religious ceremonies. Included red-colonnaded throne room, ceremonial theatre area, central courtyard with adjacent state apartments for kings officials, warehouses in case of famines/sieges, primitive sewage and plumbing, and baths.

  • View of a reconstructed portion of the Palace of Minos at Knossos on Crete

  • Palace at KnossosAccording to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Icaros. Capital center of Minoan civilization

  • Palace at Knossos

  • Palace at Knossos

  • Palace at Knossos: Red-colonnaded throne room

  • The Royal VillaIt lies to the NE of the palace and its architectural form is distinguished by the polythyra (rectangular room with piera vertical structural support, i.e. pillarand door partitions, exclusively Minoan ), the pillar crypt ,and the double staircase. It is strongly religious in character and might have been the residence of an aristocrat or a high priest. Dated to the 14th century B.C.

  • Palace at Knossos: storage warehouse with pithoiAmong the many artifacts discovered in the excavation of the ancient Minoan civilization at Knossos on Crete are large ceramic storage jars known as pithoi. The jars, measuring from four to six feet in height, were used to store oil, wine, and food.

  • Palace at Knossos: frescoes in throne roomA fresco is a painting made on fresh, wet plaster or a wall covered in plaster as a replacement for a canvas. Fresco painting was one of the most important forms of Minoan art. Unfortunately, many of the surviving examples are fragmentary. The walls of the great halls of the palaces and houses of Crete were skilfully decorated with frescoes. The paint was applied swiftly while the wall plaster was still wet, so that the colours would be completely absorbed and not fade. The Minoans followed the Egyptian convention regarding colours, for example, red for men's flesh, white for women's flesh, yellow represented gold, blue represented silver, and red represented bronze.

  • Throne room: Palace at Knossos

  • Lily Prince frescoe at KnossosIt shows a young man strolling in a garden. He wears a short apron which was incorrectly added by Arthur Evans. a necklace of lilies, a crown of lilies and peacock feathers. He is thought to represent the Priest King of Knossos. Possibly he has a griffin or a sphinx on a leash held in his left hand. His skin is painted white which was normally reserved for depicting women.

  • Frescoes at Palace at Knossos

  • Torreador frescoe at Knossos

  • Caravanserai It lies to the south of the palace and was interpreted as a reception hall and hospice. Some of the rooms are equipped with baths and decorated with wall paintings.

  • Cycladic figuresAncient peoples placed figurines like this in grave sites. Their lack of eyes and mouths--as well as their folded arms-- was perhaps intended to depict death. Their gender may indicate that they represented deceased men's wives or a mother goddess. The size and style of Cycladic figurines varies greatly. Some are among the earliest naturalistic sculptures discovered in the Mediterranean area. Others, like this example, are highly abstract.

  • Fertility goddessSince there is no marble on the island of Cyprus, the sculpture produced there is usually made of local limestone. Unlike contemporary Cycladic images of females that are more upright, this figure appears to be squatting, perhaps giving birth. Her curiously shaped breasts, which seem to symbolize female genitals, imply that she represents a fertility goddess. The unusually large size of the figure may indicate that it was used as a cult image. The careful repair made to the left arm in antiquity suggests the statuette was a highly treasured object.

  • Snake GoddessesThese statuettes are of faience (a glass-like material). They were both found in the Minoan Palace at Knossos and date to the 17th-16th centuries B.C. Left figure: body and headpiece original , head restored; ca. 26cm (10") high. Right figure: torso and head original, neck and body restored, ca. 35cm (14") high.

  • Heinrich SchliemannScholar of Moric legend (Homeric Iliad)Already as little boy Heinrich Schliemann was obsessed by the idea that Homer had given an account of true history in his great epic poems - the Iliad and the Odyssey, and that Troy had really existed. He did all to find this famous place. And he achieved one of the greatest sensations of archaeology: The discovery of Troy and Mycenae which proved proto-Greeks and Trojans existed. Heinrich Schliemann: self-made millionaire; amateur archaeologist from Germany; succeeded in locating the site of the ancient city of Troy in 1870; uncovered evidence of the civilizations of Mycenae and the Minoans; reported his findings in such a way that a wide variety of people were introduced to the romance and excitement of the new discipline of archaeology.

  • Heinrich SchliemannHeinrich Schliemann, describing his achievement in unearthing what he believed to be Troy in 1870:I did what no one else has ever done and one else could ever doEurope and America are dazzled by my discovery of the ancient city of Troy which the archeologists of all countries have searched in vain for two thousand years.

  • The Site at TroyThe Stratigraphy ("Troy VI" represents the


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