Aegean Bronze Ageca. 2000-1000 BCE, cfr. Gates 120 • Minoan Crete • Mycenaean Greece
Minoan Crete and Minoan civilization • Expressions forged by sir Arthur Evans, first archaeologist who excavated at Knossos, major site of the island • Minoan: adjective derived from Minos, mythological king of Knossos. Evans was convinced to have discovered the labyrinth
While Sumerian and Mesopotamian typical building was the ‘temple’, Minoan civilization’s hallmark is the ‘palace’ Major palaces have been found at Knossos, Mallia, Phaistos and Kato Zagro
Knossos: the palace of Minos In 1900 Arthur Evans began to dig. His work went on for half a century. The results of his campaigns were published in four volumes publication: The palace of Minos
Arthur Evans was one of the first archaeologists to face the problem of organizing an archeological site as a place to be visited by specialists and turists.
He made the choice to restore the remains of the palace on the basis of his interpretation in order to permit the visitors to have a better understanding of the building Restorations made the site easier to be read, attractive and spectacular, but they also made it difficult for the following generations of archaeologists to have a clear idea of the findings and improve the interpretation of the site.
The palaces, which have large central courtyards and a series of public rooms, acted as centres for the storage of surplus grain, wine, oil and other produce. Whoever controlled the ‘palaces’ recorded the goods stored on clay tablets, first in a hieroglyphic script and later in the island’s own syllabic writing, known to scholars as Linear A From: C. Freeman, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996, 77
Surplus produce was carefully recorded and stored, apparently to exchange for goods from overseas in particular metals and stone. On seals are found designs of ships with sails (no galleys as in other civilization) and this suggest extensive trade. From: C. Freeman, Egypt, Greece and Rome. Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1996, 77
Akrotiri • Cfr. website of the Thera Foundation: http://www.therafoundation.org/
Mycenae Heinrich Schliemann started excavating the site in 1876 with the aim to find the city of Agamemnon Acropolis (or citadel) and graves (shaft-graves and tholoi)
Main points of the lecture • First forms of civilization in the Aegean sea were characterized by the development of cities • Typical aspect of these cities were multifunctional palaces • Archaeological sources give us many informations on the social structure of these civilizations and on aspects of their culture: • cities were probably governed by kings • burials in Mycenae seem to indicate that the basic unit of society were household and clan • first forms of market economy • religious festivals and games
General point for the course • The problem of displaying archaeological sources and preserving information on excavations and findings