Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Pendlebury, John D.; Synge, Wilfrid J. Millington [Editor]
A Handbook to the palace of Minos, Knossos, with its dependencies: Foreword Sir Arthur Evans — London, 1954

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The Palace of Knossos is not an artistic unity. As a Greek temple
reveals the spirit of a people caught at a particular moment, so
the Palace, like a Gothic cathedral or the temples of Karnak
and Luxor, reveals the history and progress of its builders.
Older structures are adapted to a new plan; old foundations,
once built over, he in what at first seems a confusing labyrinth
where the spade has uncovered them. It must always be borne
in mind, as a main cause of this multiple stratification, that
Knossos lies in what, as far as human records go back, has
always been a great seismic centre. Earthquake after earth-
quake laid the Palace low; always it rose again from its ruins
more magnificent until that final disaster from which there was
no recovery.


Iii the Late Stone Age the low hill of Knossos was covered by
a considerable settlement, traces of which are found lying to a
great depth even beyond the present limits of the Palace.

Magnificently placed as Knossos is today, it was at that
time, before centuries of occupation had raised the level of the
ground, merely a very low knoll lying in a trough in the hills
some three miles from the sea (map, page 15). Ideal as the site
was in later days when it looked towards the mainland of Greece
and the islands, it is hard to explain its choice by inhabitants
whose sole foreign connexion was with Egypt to the far south,
on any other theory than that they were as indigenous as any
race can claim to be.

However that may be, Neolithic Knossos had a long and
prosperous history and was certainly the largest and most im-
portant settlement of its time in Europe and the Near East,