ancient Minoan through Roman administrative center and city

Knossos is a Bronze Age archaeological site on the island of Crete. It is at modern Heraklion. It may be Europe's oldest city.[1]

North Entrance (restored) with charging bull fresco
Crete, showing Heraklion

Many Roman coins found on the site had 'Knosion' or 'Knos' on one side, and an image of a Minotaur or Labyrinth on the reverse. These are symbols from the myth of King Minos, supposed to have reigned at Knossos.[2]

The excavations at Knossos began in 1900 by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941) and his team. They worked there for 35 years. The palace was excavated and partly restored. It was large. The team discovered two ancient scripts, called Linear A and Linear B. From the layering of the palace, Evans developed an idea of the civilization that used it, which he called Minoan. The palace was built over a previous Neolithic town. During the Bronze Age, the town surrounded the hill on which the palace was built.

The palace was abandoned at some unknown time at the end of the late Bronze Age, c. 1380–1100 BC, for reasons which are not known.

References change

  1. Whitelaw, Todd 2000. Beyond the palace: a century of investigation at Europe's oldest city. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies: 223, 226.
  2. Gere, Cathy 2009. Knossos and the prophets of modernism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 25. ISBN 0226289540