Dissecting a Palace in Search of Minoan Culture

The written documents that come from ancient Crete are few and provide little information regarding religion, politics or lifestyle of the Minoan people. Our best window into this world is through the excavated art and architecture. For this activity, you will select evidence from the palace complex (and complex it is!) to search for clues about culture.

Begin by searching the text or online sources to locate three examples of architectural detail, wall painting, pottery or sculpture from Knossos. An exceptional site for a virtual tour has been created by the British School at Athens (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. This site provides fascinating 360 degree views of rooms. (Be aware that the initial excavator, Sir Arthur Evans, made some controversial restorations to the palace. Know that what you are seeing may not be all original.) A great website for art from Knossos is that of the Heraklion Museum in Crete (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Painted pottery, sculpture and frescoes will be found here. 

In the essay, use your three examples as evidence for some aspect(s) of Minoan culture. You may find your material evidence indicates commerce, seafaring, or perhaps a love of nature. Maybe your sampling speaks of religion, ceremony, or costume. Be sure to identify fully your examples, and include plenty of specific description as you make a case for them as cultural evidence. Illustrations are helpful.