05-03-06

 

Knossos

 
Reconstructie van Evans van het paleis
Groter
Reconstructie van Evans van het paleis

Knossos is een plaats op het eiland Kreta. Opgravingen daar hebben ons veel geleerd over de Minoïsche beschaving

Inhoud

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Geschiedenis van de opgraving

In de negentiende eeuw werd vaak materiaal van een terrein even ten zuiden van de Kretenzische hoofdstad Heraklion gebruikt om huizen te bouwen in die stad. Vermoed werd dat op dat terrein de resten lagen van het kolossale Minoïsche paleis van Knossos. In 1878 vond Minos (sic!) Kalokerinos het de moeite waard om eens te onderzoeken wat voor gebouw hier nou werkelijk had gestaan, voordat alle sporen door de huizenbouw waren uitgewist. Hij begon met opgravingen bij Knossos. Het werd al snel duidelijk dat hier een Minoïsch paleis had gestaan, waarschijnlijk het paleis van de legendarische koning Minos. Bij de opgravingen werd de westelijke vleugel van het paleis ontdekt. Men vond er veel aardewerk, vazen en kannen.

Het paleis

Het paleis
Groter
Het paleis

Het Paleis is vermoedelijk zo'n 4000 jaar oud en zou kunnen zijn gebouwd door de mythische architect Daedalus. Uit deze periode stammen ook de vele mythen. Bijvoorbeeld hoe de Atheense koningszoon Theseus het monster Minotaurus (half stier, half mens), dat in het labyrint van Minos woonde, overwon en doodde. De archeoloog Arthur Evans was er zeker van dat er een kern van waarheid moest zitten in de ongelooflijke verhalen uit het Minoïsche tijdperk op Kreta.

De mooie en grote Minoïsche paleizen op Kreta zijn allemaal verwoest. Volgens vele geleerden is dit gebeurd door een verschrikkelijke uitbarsting van de vulkaan Santorini op het tegenwoordige eiland Thera (Santorini) bijna 150 km ten noorden van Kreta. Die uitbarsting heeft plaats gevonden omstreeks 1628 v.Chr. en ging gepaard met allesverwoestende aardschokken en ongekend hoge vloedgolven. Zelden zou daarna ergens op de wereld nog een natuurramp met zo'n vernietigende kracht plaatsvinden.

Restauratie van het paleis

In 1899 kocht Evans de grond om opgravingen te kunnen doen. Vrijwel direct begon hij met het opgraven en restaureren van het paleis en dat ging door tot 1931. In die periode is vrijwel het hele paleis blootgelegd en zijn er veel vondsten gedaan. Aardewerk en vazen, maar ook de oudste weg van Europa, badkuipen en schoolbanken. Evans heeft er dus zijn levenswerk van gemaakt om uit te zoeken wie die mensen waren die in de oudheid zoveel technisch vernuft hadden om zo'n ontzaglijk bouwwerk tot stand te brengen. Ongeveer 25 jaar is hij op die plek aan het graven en onderzoeken geweest. Vervolgens heeft hij op die ruïnes het enorme paleis weer opgebouwd, zoals hij vermoedde dat het er ooit moest hebben uitgezien. Over de manier waarop Evans Knossos restaureerde zijn de meningen verdeeld, want hij maakte veel gebruik van beton en staal. Maar dankzij zijn inspanningen is er wel veel bekend geworden over de Minoïsche beschaving. Na de Tweede Wereldoorlog is het onderzoek in het gebied van Knossos voortgezet en tegenwoordig is het opgegraven gebied ongeveer 22.000 vierkante meter groot.

Ontdekkingen in de omgeving

Behalve de opgravingen van het paleis zelf, werd er in de omgeving nog meer ontdekt. Zo werd er aan de overkant van de huidige weg een klein paleis gevonden, en op andere plekken een koninklijke villa, enkele Minoïsche villa's en een tempelgraf. Deze zijn echter niet voor toeristen te bezichtigen.


Knossos


Knossos is the site of the most important and better known palace of Minoan civilization. According to tradition, it was the seat of the legendary king Minos. The Palace is also connected with thrilling legends, such as the myth of the Labyrinth with the Minotaur, and the story of Daidalos and Icaros.
The site was continuously inhabited from the Neolithic period (7000-3000 B.C.) until Roman times.
The Linear B tablets (Mycenaean script) of the 14th century B.C. mention the city as ko-no-so.

Intensive habitation occured mostly in the Minoan period, when the so-called first (19th-17th centuries B.C.) and second palaces (16th-14th centuries B.C.) were built along with luxurious houses, a hospice and various other structures. After its partial destruction in 1450 B.C., Knossos was settled by Mycenaeans from the Greek Mainland.
The city flourished again during the Hellenistic period (sanctuaries of Glaukos, Demeter, other sanctuaries, chamber tombs, north cemetery, defensive towers) and in 67 B.C. it was captured by the Roman Quintus Caecilius Metelus Creticus. The "Villa of Dionysos", a private house with splendid mosaics was built in the same period.

Knossos was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos. Arthur Evans conducted systematic excavations at the site between 1900 and 1931, bringing to light the palace, a large section of the Minoan city, and the cemeteries. Since then, the site and the surrounding area have been excavated by the British School of Archaeology at Athens and the 23rd E.P.C.A.

ÇThe restoration of the palace to its present form was carried out by Arthur Evans. The interventions were mostly imposed by the need to preserve the monuments uncovered. The Archaeological Service of the Ministry of Culture carries out only consolidation work, whenever necessary.

The most important monuments of the site are:

The Palace of Knossos. It is the largest of the preserved Minoan palatial centres. Four wings are arranged around a central courtyard, containing the royal quarters, workshops, shrines, storerooms, repositories, the throne room and banquet halls. Dated to 2000-1350 B.C.

The Little Palace. It lies to the west of the main palace and has all the features of palatial architecture: scraped wall masonry, reception rooms, a pristyle hall, a double megaron with polythyra (pi er-and-door partitions) and a lustral basin-shrine. Dated to the 17th-15th centuries B.C.

The Royal Villa. It lies to the NE of the palace and its architectural form is distinguished by the polythyra, the pillar crypt and the double staircase, with two flights of stairs. It is strongly religious in character and might have been the residence of an aristocrat or a high priest. Dated to the 14th century B.C.

House of the Frescoes. It is located to the NW of the palace and is a small urban mansion with rich decoration on the walls. Dated to the 15th, 14th-12th centuries B.C.

Caravanserai. It lies to the south of the palace and was interpreted as a reception hall and hospice. Some of the rooms are equipped with baths and decorated with wall paintings.

The "Unexplored Mansion". Private building, probably of private-industrial function, to the NW of the palace. It is rectangular, with a central, four-pillared hall, corridors, storerooms and remains of a staircase. Dated to the 14th-12th centuries B.C.

Temple Tomb. It is located almost 600 m. to the south of the palace and was connected with the "House of the High Priest" by means of a paved street. It seems that one of the last kings of Knossos (17th-14th centuries B.C.) was buried here. Typical features of its architecture are the hypostyle, two-pillar crypt, the entrance with the courtyard, the portico and a small anteroom.

House of the High Priest. It lies 300 m. to the south of Caravanserai and contains a stone altar with two columns, framed by the bases of double axes.

The South Mansion. Private civic house, located to the south of the palace. It is a three-storeyed building with a lustral basin and a hypostyle crypt, dating from the 17th-15th centuries B.C.

Villa of Dionysos. Private, peristyle house of the Roman period. It is decorated with splendid mosaics by Apollinarius, depicting Dionysos. The house contains special rooms employed for the Dionysiac cult. Dated to the 2nd century A.D.

 

The Palace of Knossos


T he Palace at Knossos is the largest (it covers an area of 20,000 square metres) and most spectacular of all the Minoan palatial centres. It has all the typical features of the architectural type established in ca. 1700 B.C.: four wings arranged around a rectangular, central court, oriented N-S, which is actually the nucleus of the whole complex. The east wing contains the residential quarters, the workshops and a shrine. The west wing is occupied by the storerooms with the large pithoi (storage jars), the shrines, the repositories, the throne room and, on the upper floors, the banquet halls. The north wing contains the so-called "Customs House", a lustral basin and the stone-built theatral area. The South Propylon is the most imposing building in the south wing. A second, paved courtyard to the west of the palace, equipped with the "processional ways" (narrow causeways), was probably used for religious ceremonies. The palace had many storeys, it was built of ashlar blocks and its walls were decorated with splendid frescoes ( 1 , 2) , mostly representing religious ceremonies.


 

The old (first) palace was built in around 2000 B.C. but it was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1700 B.C. The new (second) palace, more complex in plan, strongly resembling a labyrinth, was constructed immediately afterwards. In the middle of the 15th century B.C. the Achaeans from the Greek Mainland conquered the island of Crete and settled at the palace of Knossos. They used the Greek language, as is indicated by the clay tablets they left, written in the Linear B script. The palace was again destroyed by fire in the mid-14th century B.C. (LM IIIA period) and ceased to function as a palatial centre.

T he first excavations on the site of Knossos were conducted in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos, a Cretan merchant and antiquarian, who brought to light part of the magazines in the west wing of the palace and a section of the west facade. After Kalokairinos, several people attempted to continue the excavations: W.J. Stillman, the American Consul in Greece, H. Schliemann, the excavator of Mycenae, together with his collaborator W. Doerpfeld, M. Joubin, a French archaeologist and Arthur Evans, director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. They all abandoned their efforts, not being able to purchase the land, due to the exaggerated demands of the owners. In 1898, when Crete became an independent state with Prince George as the Governor General, a law was established according which all the antiquities of the island were the property of the state. Thus, in 1900, the systematic excavation of the palace began under the direction of A. Evans. Work was interrupted in 1912-1914 by the Balkan Wars but was resumed in 1922 and continued until 1931, when the investigation of the West Court and the Minoan town was completed.

 

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A Pictorial  guide



 
Daedalus, in Greek mythology, the Athenian craftsman, architect and inventor who designed for King Minos of Crete the labyrinth in which was imprisoned the Minotaur, a man-eating monster that was half man and half bull. The labyrinth was so skilfully designed that no one could escape from the maze or the Minotaur. Its conception was possibly derived from the elaborate floor plan of the palace at Knossos. Daedalus revealed the secret of the labyrinth only to Ariadne, daughter of Minos, and she aided her lover, the Athenian hero Theseus, to slay the monster and escape. In anger at the escape, Minos imprisoned Daedalus and his son Icarus in the labyrinth. Although the prisoners could not find the exit, Daedalus made wax wings so that they could both fly out of the maze. Icarus, however, flew too near the sun; his wings melted, and he fell into the sea. Daedalus flew to Sicily, where he was welcomed by King Cocalus. Minos later pursued Daedalus but was killed by the daughters of Cocalus.
 

The Emergence of the Minoan Civilization


 

More photos of Knossos
 

     SOUTH PROPYLAEUM
         Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. SOUTH PROPYLAEUM AREA AND MOUNT JOUCTAS     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. NORTH PROPYLAEUM     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1550 EASTERN WING     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1550 B.C. STAIRWAY IN THE EASTERN WING     Palace of King Minos, Knossos     c. 1550 B.C. ROOM IN THE WEST WING      Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1550 B.C. THREE-STORY RESIDENCE     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. COLUMN AND RELIEF     Great Court Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1550 B.C. STEPPED PORCH AND THRONE ROOM     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C., Altered late 15th century B.C. ANTECHAMBER TO THE THRONE ROOM     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1550 B.C., Altered late 15th century B.C. THRONE ROOM     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      Late 15th century B.C. THRONE OF KING MINOS     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      Late 15th century B.C. THRONE ROOM     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      Late 15th century B.C. GREAT STAIRWAY     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. INNER COURT OF THE KING' S ROYAL APARTMENTS     Palace of King Minos, Knossos     c. 1600 B.C. Detail, COURTYARD OF THE ROYAL APARTMENTS     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. STAIRWELL     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. HALL OF COLONNADES      Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1600 B.C. DOLPHIN FRIEZE     QUEEN'S APARTMENT Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. BATHROOM IN THE QUEEN'S APARTMENT     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. SECTION OF DRAINAGE     WATER COLLECTION SYSTEM Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. STORAGE JARS     Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. Detail, STORAGE JARS     Palace of 'King Minos, Knossos     c. 1500 B.C. CIRCULAR ALTAR     Palace of Malia, Crete     c. 1500 B.C. FAIENCE PLAQUES     1700-1600  B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete FAIENCE SNAKE GODDESS     From beneath the shrine in the court Palace of King Minos, Knossos     1600-1580   B.C. SNAKE GODDESS     c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Fine Arts, Boston FEMALE IDOL     From Hagia Triada     c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete MINIATURE GOLD DOUBLE AXES     From the cave of Arkalochori      c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete BULL-JUMPING FRESCO     From the east wing Palace of King Minos, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. BULL AT THE ROYAL GATE     North propylaeum Palace of King Minos, Knossos RHYTON BULL     From the Little Palace, Knossos     c. 1550-1500 B.C. ROCK-CRYSTAL RHYTON     From the repository of the sanctuary Palace of Zakros      c. 1500-1450  B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete RHYTON-BEARER     Palace of King Minos, Knossos     c. 1500-1450 B.C. LA PARISIENNE     Palace of King Minos, Knossos     c. 1500-1450  B.C. Detail, FRESCO     From the palace of King Minos, Knossos     c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete BLUE BIRD FRESCO     From the House of Frescoes, Knossos      c. 1500 B.C. HARVESTER VASE     From Hagia Triada     c. 1550-1500  B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete HARVESTER VASE     From Hagia Triada     c. 1550-1500  B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete POLYCHROME PLATE     From the old palace of Phaistos     c. 1800 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete FRUIT BOWL     From the old palace of Phaistos     c. 1800 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete JUG     From the old palace of Phaistos     c. 1800 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete PILGRIM'S FLASK     From Palaikastro     c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete CEREMONIAL VASE     From the basin of purification at Zakros     c. 1450 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete PITCHER     From a grave in Katsabas      c. 1400 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete GOLD RING     From a tomb of Isapata near Cunsos      c. 1500 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete GOLD PENDANT     From Chryssolakkos, the Necropolis at Malia      c. 1700 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete CLAY SARCOPHAGUS     From the tholos tomb at Vorou, Mesara region      c. 1800 B.C.     Museum of Herakleion, Crete PAINTED STONE SARCOPHAGUS     From a chamber-tomb near the palace of Hagia Triada      c. 1400 B.C.      Museum of Herakleion, Crete Detail, PAINTED STONE SARCOPHAGUS     From a chamber-tomb near the palace of Hagia Triada      c.1400 B.C.      Museum of Herakleion, Crete
    Information from:

    DAEDALUS Informatics Ltd

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