Abstract: Arthur Evans, the Palace of Minos at Knossos, and the Dawn of European Civilization

In 1990 Arthur Evans began his historic excavations at the low mound then known as “Tou Tseleve he Kephala” and almost immediately came across the building he was to call the Palace of Minos at Knossos. By 1930 he had transformed the site from poorly preserved ruins into a controversial multi-storied concrete complex. For Evans, reinforced concrete was to become the tool that gave his vision of the past substance in the present. Evan’s radical intervention, which in time developed its own historical identity, raises a variety of issues that are rarely addressed by archaeologists. After Evans’s death in 1941, the restored palace became one of the most visited sites in the world and a major problem of conservation. Beyond Knossos, Evans was to have a much greater influence on archaeological thought than is currently conceded. The Victorian era provides the backdrop against which the inception – or invention – of Minoan culture can best be viewed.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

G. Cadogan, The Palaces of Minoan Crete (London 1976)

A. Brown, Arthur Evans and the Palace of Minos (Oxford 1983)

J.K. Papadopoulos, “Inventing the Minoans: Archaeology, Modernity & the Quest for European Identity,” Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 18, 2005, 87-149

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