All About the Minoan Civilization

When the island of Crete was excavated, it showed that Minoan palaces were some of the best type of buildings during this period. Archeologists uncovered large archives placed within monumental buildings, which shed light on the importance of administration to the people. Palaces were comprised of many stories and highlighted elaborate staircases from both the inside and outside. In this article, we will revisit some of the milestones regarding this ancient culture.

The civilization of Crete was dubbed ‘Minoan’ when a British archeologist named Sir Arthur Evans decided to pay homage to the king of myths at the time , Minos , of the infamous Greek myth that involved the labyrinth. It is unknown what the Minoans called themselves at the time, but some argue that an Egyptian influence may have had something to do with their name.

There is a collection of archaeological sites that have allowed researchers to learn more about the Minoan culture and history with Knossos serving as the largest Bronze Age archaeological site positioned on Crete. In March of 1900, Sir Arthur Evans (who gave the Minoans their name) bought the land for the purpose of excavating clues about the civilization. Other significant Minoan archeological sites include:

Phaistos , The second largest palace on the island, which the Italians excavated shortly after Knossos.

Agia Triada , Situated near Phaistos is this administrative center, which was excavated by an Italian group from 1900 to 1908. During that time, a sarcophagus was uncovered that showed grand scenes depicting Cretan culture and life. Today, it is found at the Archeological Museum located in Iraklion.

Malia , This palace sheds light on the development of such buildings in the protopalatial period that the French were pleased to excavate.

Pyrgos and Vasliki , These Monoan sites show early living, where Pyrgos is located on the southern part of the island and Vasliki is situated on the eastern side of the island.

Pseira , Information regarding some of the ritual practices of the Minoans has been found in this island town.

Arkalochori , This site is where researched uncovered the famous Arlalochori Axe, which offered an inscription consisting of 15 symbols.

Kato Zakros , This palace was located on the far east section of the island and was excavated by Greek archeologists.

Galatas , This palace is one of the most recent to have been uncovered.

Karfi , This refuge site dates back to the late Minoan period, which is considered one of the last sites that the Minoans called home.  

Akrotiri , This settlement thrived on the island of Santorini (also known as Thera), which was located close to the Thera Eruption site. Archeologists have uncovered pottery, furniture, and frescoes at this site. They were also able to conclude that the Minoans had an established drainage system that was quite advanced for their time. During excavation of the site, only one item made of gold was found and no human skeletons were found, which shows that the people were able to evacuate their land before the Thera Eruption claimed any lives.