Minoan Palaces - Knossos

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Discuss the design and function of the Minoan palaces with emphasis on the palace of Knossos.

The design and function of the Minoan palaces found throughout Crete enable modern day archaeologists to help determine possibilities of what life was like and how the civilization was portrayed as a group and society. What is known about Minoan palaces is based purely on what we know as archaeological findings and here say from various archaeologists throughout more recent years. From what little information that had been gathered about Minoan Crete, it was said that the society itself was unlike many of the Bronze Age society. It was a well-governed, prosperous and peaceful society. When researching this society it relies mainly on archaeological evidence because of limited written sources found and deciphered. When looking at the palaces found within Crete there are visibly similar and differentiating features that separate the palace of Knossos to other palaces found in Crete.

Sir Arthur Evans was a British archaeologist who was responsible for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete and also developing the initial concepts of the Minoan civilisation which has now been re-evaluated and challenged in light of newer ideas and evidence found within recent years. The palace of Knossos is located on a hill beside a river, 5km’s from the northern coastline. Knossos is the largest of palaces found in Crete covering 13000 square meters before being rebuilt. Its main features include the main large rectangular central court, a complex maze of corridors and chambers also known as (labyrinth), decorative frescos, flushing toilets, shrine rooms, grand staircases and also royal and domestic quarters. The architectural structure and design of the palace in particular is designed to assert power and authority. Around 1700 BC there was a volcanic upheaval in Crete, which virtually destroyed all the palaces; evidence to support this is the rebuilding of the palace. In the second palatial period the palace was enormous and intricate, having multi levels, irregular rooms, movable doorways, storeys lit with “light wells” as well as running water and a sewerage system. ”The grand staircase as thus re compacted stands alone among ancient architectural remains. With its charred columns solidly restored in their pristine hues, surrounding in tiers its central well, its balustrades rising practically intact, one above the other, with its imposing fresco of the great Minoan shields on the back walls of its middle gallery, now replaced with a replica, and its still well-preserved gypsum steps ascending to four landings, it revives as no other part of the building, the remote past”- Sir Arthur Evans. After Evans discovered the palace of Knossos, he reconstructed the site to what he believed the palace of Knossos would have been like in the Bronze Age.

Modern day archaeologists have now questioned Arthur Evans’ creativity and his initiative after seeing the reconstruction that he had placed on the palace itself. Using what Evans believed to be correct, bright colours, including bright reds, yellow, blues and purples also virtually enhancing the frescos that were found within the palace itself made other archaeologists question whether what Evans believed to be correct was not in fact accurate. Ventris later questioned the theories of Evans after finding tablets that were in a complex Greek form of writing. The thorough layout of the palace of Knossos shows that the palace itself has been designed for a superior or royalhhhhbbhhn level and the central court was believed to be a stage for religious rituals. The architectural structure of the palace shows that not only were the homes for the wealthy, ruling families but they housed workshops and warehouses, and were administrative, cultural, and religious cult centres. The palace was also home to ceremonial purposes having a room dedicated to a throne meaning there would...
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