Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Emilia Oddo

Affiliation: Tulane University

Emilia Oddo is Assistant Professor of Greek Archaeology with the Department of Classical Studies, Tulane University.  She holds her degrees from the University of Cincinnati (Ph.D. and M.A.), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (M.A.), and the Università degli Studi di Palermo (B.A.).  Her research interests focus on the the study of pottery and ceramic regionalism in Late Bronze Age Crete, particulary how pottery styles are manipulated to express socio-political identities of elite groups.  Professor Oddo has served as the Ceramic Specialist for multiple sites at Knossos, and her publication projects include The House of the Frescoes at Knossos (forthcoming, British School at Athens, Supplementary Volume). She is the AIA Thompson Lecturer for 2021/2022.


In 1923, in the heart of the Minoan settlement of Knossos, in the outskirts of the immense Palace, Arthur Evans and Duncan Mackenzie unearthed the remains of a small but imposing building. The rich deposit of elaborately decorated frescoes discovered within it gave the building the name of ‘House of the Frescoes’. Several things are odd about this structure: its architecture without obvious parallels in Crete; the quantity of frescoes strangely stacked in layers at the end of a room; the aggressive dismantling of the building after its abandonment which destroyed floors and walls; the surprising perfect preservation of two of its rooms, seemingly untouched by the dismantling. What happened in there? Who took off and stacked the frescoes? Who was destroying the building? Who did not dare to touch those two rooms and why? Why did the House of the Frescoes deserve such a treatment? In this lecture, I explore the evidence to reconstruct the final moments in the life and afterlife of this intriguing little building.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Cameron, M. 1968. “Unpublished Paintings from the ‘House of the Frescoes’ at Knossos.” BSA 63: 1-31.

Chapin, A. and M. Shaw. 2006. “The Frescoes from the House of the Frescoes at Knossos: A Reconsideration of Their Architectural Context and a New Reconstruction of the Crocus Panel.” BSA 101: 57-88.

Evans, A.J. 1928. The Palace of Minos. A Comparative Account of the Successive Stages of the Early Cretan Civilization as Illustrated by the Discoveries at Knossos. Vol. 2.1: 431-467.

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