Evans, Arthur J.
The Palace of Minos: a comparative account of the successive stages of the early Cretan civilization as illustred by the discoveries at Knossos (Band 3): The great transitional age in the northern and eastern sections of the Palace — London, 1930

Page: 269
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https://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/evans1930/0316
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LAPIDARY'S STORE OF SPARTAN BASALT

269

In the Northern and larger of these two little store-rooms lay a heap
of natural blocks of imported lapis Lacedaemonms or ' Spartan basalt',
Fig. 181, a beautiful stone containing greenish white crystals of feldspar

embedded in a dark green
core, appreciated by the Min-
oan lapidaries long before
it became of decorative use
in Roman times.1 Some of
the pieces were too large for
a single man to carry and
showed parts of the original
contour. One of the larger
pieces presented a roughly
rounded section, as if it had
been intended for a column-
base, a distinction that would
point to a date not later than
the Third Middle Minoan
Period. Severalpiecesshowed
saw-cut faces, and one larger block was finely cut with a saw to a depth of
15 centimetres, representing an unfinished work.2 It is a suggestive coinci-
dence that the workshop, in whichwere found twounfinishedamphorasof coarse
alabaster belonging to the last days of the Palace, was situated immediately
above this basement store, and it is probable, as in the case of the earlier
workshop of the maker of stone lamps found in the Earthquake-stricken
M. M. Ill house just outside the S.E. angle of the Palace, that here, too,
both in the upper Lapidary's room and the basement work had been cut
short by a similar natural convulsion.

There seems reason for believing that some of the unfinished pieces
would eventually have formed slabs for the variegated wall decoration in
stonework of the lower part of walls that belonged—like the similar work
for column-bases—to the older palatial tradition. The earliest example of
the use of this material for vases is supplied by the fine carinated bowl

Lapi-
dary's
store of
blocks of
Spartan
basalt.

Fig. 181. Worked Blocks of Spartan Basalt,
showing Saw-marks, in Lapidary's Store-room.

Work-
shop
above,
with un-
finished
am-
phoras.

of 1-17 metres below the pavement level, was
struck the early ' kalderim' pavement on
which remains of the ' corded' M. M. II
pithoi were found in the adjoining area
(1913 tests, Nos. 14, 15, 16).

1 See J. H. Middleton, Ancient Rome, p. 18.

2 Some worked blocks of lapis Lacedae-
monius had been also used as building
material in some late repairs visible in the
wall of the 'Service' stair by the adjoining
upper Corridor (see A. E., Knossos, Report,
1902, p. 78).

Bowl of
similar
basalt
from
' Royal
Tomb'.
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