The Ancient Lost Palace of Knossos: Birthplace of the Minotaur
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The Ancient Lost Palace of Knossos: Birthplace of the Minotaur

The lost palace of Knossos was discovered in 1878 but the entire site was not successfully excavated until March of 1900. The excavation revealed some of the most amazing ancient artifacts and displayed one of the most significant palaces of the ancient Greek world however; reconstruction was ordered which led many experts to reconsider the palacesÂ’ legitimacy as an ancient Greek wonder.

The palace of Knossos had only been read about in mythology and various ancient Greek texts and was considered lost until its discovery by Minos Kalokairinos in 1878.  The Greek word ‘Knossos’ in English translates to ‘Labyrinth’ leading some experts to the conclusion that the palace of Knossos may have been the birthplace to the ancient myth of the Minotaur and the home to the civilization of the Minoans.  Archaeologists have estimated, with the help of carbon dating, that the palace was erected in the bronze age roughly between 1700 and 1400 B.C.E.  Minos spent much of his life excavating the palace however, he was unsuccessful with the excavation attempt and it was left untouched until March 16th 1900. 

The archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans successfully excavated the entire site of the palace and conducted the entire project out of his own personal finances.  Once finished, the archaeologists were able to explore the palace and discovered over 1,300 rooms neatly constructed and placed side by side one another, numerous rooms for storage, a vast main entrance and even a theater.  Three separate water systems were also discovered within the palace including a water supply system, a system for runoff or drainage, and a system for waste water.  Pottery and various other day to day tools were found within the city but experts are still curious to how the palace may have been buried in the first place.  Some say it the city was evacuated and purposefully buried while other experts believe that it may have to do with natural disasters and was therefore abandoned much similar to that of the story of the lost city of Atlantis.

However, upon finishing the excavation project Sir Arthur Evans also began the reconstruction of the Lost Palace of Knossos.  He intertwined 20th century construction alongside ancient Greek architect as well as had numerous portions of the palace repainted to the colors of what he believed may have been based on his research of the palace.  Although many other archaeologists and experts saw this as an insult to the preserved history of the palace Sir Arthur Evans goal was to allow for the world to enjoy and appreciate the civilization of the ancient Minoans.  Many still believe that Evans painted an overall illegitimate picture of the ancient civilization of the Minoans and their way of life however the lost Palace of Knossos is still considered one of Greece’s amazing ancient wonders. 


"Knossos, Crete: The Palace of Minos." By K. Kris Hirst

Knossos: Minoan Palace of Mystery.” By deTraci Regula 

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Comments (2)
Ranked #22 in Archaeology

I studied the art and architecture of the region at Univ of CO under professor Tzavella-Evjen. She was/is an archaeologist in that region and has published some good work on the topic.

Ranked #19 in Archaeology

Archaeology (specifically Greek) fascinates me very much! I plan to one day go there myself as well. Thank you for the information I would love to read some of her work.