Knossos, also known as the “Palace of Minos,” has a very long history of human habitation, beginning with the founding of the first Neolithic settlement in around 7000 BC.

Knossos grew in size over the centuries until, by the 19th-16th centuries BC, the settlement included a monumental administrative and religious central buildings (i.e., the Palace) as well as a surrounding settlement of 5000-8000 people.

A long-standing debate among archaeologists is whether the Palace acted primarily as an administrative or religious center. It is likely it was a combination of both, as the headquarters of a theocratic culture.

Another important debate is whether Knossos led the administration of Bronze Age Crete or was on equal footing with the several other contemporary palaces that have been discovered on Crete. Many of these palaces on Crete were destroyed and abandoned in the early part of the 15th century BC, possibly by the Mycenaeans.

The palace of Knossos was discovered by Sir Arthur Evans in 1894. However, due to the civil war in Crete against the Turks, it was not until March 16, 1900, that he was able to purchase the entire site and conduct major excavations.

Assisted by Dr. Duncan Mackenzie, who had already distinguished himself by his excavations on the island of Melos, and Mr. Fyfe, the British School of Athens architect, Evans employed a large staff of excavators and by June of 1900 had uncovered a large portion of the palace.


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