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The Palace of Knossos

  • Arthur J. Evans

The work of excavation on the Palace site at Knossos was re-opened on February 27, 1901, and continued till June 17. Various supplementary operations connected with the shoring up and underpinning of the walls of large halls brought to light on the south-east of the site, the completion of the roofing-in of the Throne Room, and similar works of conservation entailed the continued employment of a large number of workmen till the beginning of July. Throughout the excavations I again secured the valuable services of Dr. Duncan Mackenzie as my assistant in directing the works, and of Mr. D. T. Fyfe, formerly architect of the British School, in preparing architectural plans and drawings.

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page 2 note 1 A short report of the results of the exploration of this Neolithic Settlement was made by me to the Anthropological Section of the British Association (Glasgow Meeting, September 1901). An abstract of this is printed in the Annual Report of the Association, and in Man, December 1901 (No. 146)

page 5 note 1 Hogarth, D. G., B. S. Annual, 1900, pp. 79, 80: J. H. S. 1900, p. 87.

page 5 note 2 See below p. 53.

page 5 note 3 Somewhat defective on north-west side.

page 6 note 1 In some places, however, the Kamáres deposit began immediately beneath the pavement.

page 8 note 1 B. S. Annual, 1900, II. 79.

page 12 note 1 Furtwängler und Löschke, Mykenische Vasen, Pl. ix. (56, xxxv.). Two examples of similar types from Ialysos are in the Ashmolean Museum. Another vase of this form from Nauplia is given, op. cit. Pl. xxi. 150.

page 12 note 2 B. S. Annual, 1900, p. 8. Furtw. u. Löschke, op. cit. Pl. ix. (55, xxxii).

page 13 note 1 For the earlier readings of this weight, see Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement, 1894, pp. 220–231 and 284–287. Dr. M. Lidzbarski, whose reading is adopted in the text, has now clearly demonstrated that the hitherto doubtful inscription on one side of the weight is simply a blundered and subsequently erased version of what appears on the other side (Ephem. für Semitische Epigraphik, I. pp. 13, 14).

page 14 note 1 Their full weight is given as 194 grains by Head (Hist. Num. p. 332). The value of the comparison is of course diminished by the great interval of time between the date when the weight was used and the first issue of Aeginetan staters. Another similar haematite weight found in Egypt, weighing 3 grammes (46·3 grains) may, however, be regarded as a fourth of the same unit as that represented by the Knossian example. Three leaden disks were found in the Palace which also appear to be weights. They weigh respectively 8·45 grammes (c. 131 grains), 22·05 grammes (c. 340 grains) and 42·7 grammes (c. 680 grains).

page 15 note 1 Perrot, et Chipiez, , Histoire de l' Art, vi. Pl. xix.

page 15 note 2 See below, p. 89, Fig 29.

page 18 note 1 Gems with these types are known to me from various parts of Crete. Much new light has been thrown on these monstrous forms by Mr. Hogarth's discovery of Mycenaean seal impressions at Zakro (see below).

page 19 note 1 The clay matrix was found in the “Room of the Priest Fresco.”

page 20 note 1 Beneath the doorway of the Room of the Stone Drum (described below p. 32).

page 20 note 2 In the Candia Museum.

page 20 note 3 Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1889, Pl. viii. 1.

page 20 note 4 In my own collection, acquired in 1894.

page 20 note 5 Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1889, pl. x. 32.

page 22 note 1 The function of supporting does not necessarily conflict with the view that pillars of the double axes were of a consecrated nature. It coincides in fact with an aspect of the ancient cult treated of in my monograph on Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult, § 17, “The Pillar of the House.” The criticism made by MrRouse, W. H. D. (J.H.S. xxi. p. 273), that there are other signs besides the double axe, and that therefore undue stress should not be laid on this, is answered by the exceptional position which the double axe holds among the Palace signs, of which the most recent excavations afford fresh corroboration—witness the Megaron of the Double Axes—(see p. 112 below), by the occurrence of the double axe in its votive form as a vase ornament of the “Palace Style” (see p. 53 below), and by the fact that several of the most constantly recurring among these signs, such as the star, the trident, the branch, the cross, and the sistrum (?), are also traditionally associated with various divinities. It is probable that some of these signs grouped together on the hieroglyphic seals represent invocations of a religious kind. The recurrence of the Double Axe and other similar signs at Phaestos does not weigh against this view. The “Houses of the Double Axe” were probably many, and the name of Labyrinth may itself have recurred,—in fact, Gortyna as well as Knossos claimed one. The various cults associated with the Minoan dominion at Knossos would be largely common to the other princely centres throughout the island. I have purposely reserved a fuller discussion of the signs on the Knossian blocks till the evidence is complete.

page 27 note 1 The floor level here was 2·10 m. below the surface. At 1·30 m. down was a deposit of burnt wood.

page 27 note 2 Suggested in my previous Report, p. 26.

page 28 note 1 Two or three scattered fragments belonging to the same deposit were also found within a radius of a few feet; one in the chamber immediately to the west, another on the top of a wall on the north side.

page 28 note 2 The figure is from M. Gilliéron's careful drawing of the overlapping fragment as arranged according to a key sketch of my own.

page 29 note 1 Mycenaean Tree mid Pillar Cult § 22.

page 30 note 1 Diod. Sic. Hb. v. c. 66.

page 31 note 1 B. S. Annual., 1900, pp. 38, 42.

page 31 note 2 Compare, for instance, many of the miniature frescoes of the Palace, and the representations of Goddesses on the signets. The Minotaur-like monster, on the other hand, seen on the seal impression already described, is seated on a kind of throne. The “Chariot tablets” of Knossos often show a high seat in the car, recalling the throne in outline.

page 32 note 1 See p. 20.

page 35 note 1 The floor of this room was also found in a partly destroyed condition. Here too are two floor levels; (1) a good white cement floor I metre below the surface, (2) another cement floor 40 centimetres below the first with a large slab embedded in it.

page 37 note 1 B. S. Annual, 1900, p. 20.

page 38 note 1 See below p. 47, and cf. B. S. Annual, 1900, p. 25.

page 39 note 1 One of them had fallen into the second pithos from that end.

page 39 note 2 The south wall of this Magazine was badly preserved, the painted stucco being visible only at its east end. At 2 metres from the entrance the south wall thickens, and the Magazine narrows to a width of about 1·40 metres.

page 40 note 1 The tablets, two perfect, one in two pieces, lay about 80 centimetres west of its entrance and 1·40 to 1·70 metres below the surface of the ground.

page 41 note 1 These charred remains lay at depths varying from 1·20 metresbelow the surface at the east end of the Magazine to I metre at the west.

page 42 note 1 In too decayed a condition to afford a sufficient index of its original weight.

page 43 note 1 It is 27 centimetres wide and 13 thick at bottom and 8 centimetres wide at top. The boring is 5–6 centimetres in diameter.

page 43 note 2 As nearly as could be determined by local weights and measures.

page 43 note 3 Brandis, Münz. Mass. u. Gewichtswesen, etc.: Head, Historia Numorum, pp. xxx. xxxi.

page 43 note 4 See above.

page 45 note 1 B. S. Annual, 1900, p. 24

page 46 note 1 1 The slab forming the bottom of the upper receptacle and the lid of the lower was placed at a depth of 40 centimetres below the original upper lid. The narrow bases of the upright side slabs of the upper cist overlapped the edge of the bottom slab which could not, therefore, be removed till they had been taken out. This is the regular arrangement.

page 48 note 1 B. S. Annual, 1900, p. 21.

page 48 note 2 1·65 metres from its west end.

page 49 note 1 From the occurrence in the Ninth Magazine of tablets with pictorial representations o. similar structures surmounted by ears of corn, it seems certain that they represent granaries.

page 50 note 1 Other examples of this seal impression were found elsewhere on the site.

page 52 note 1 In 1895 I obtained here a part of a votive axe of this type (restored in Fig. 15, C above), and others were subsequently found by Mr. Hogarth (Fig. 15, b). In 1896 I found a somewhat rude steatite gem in the Dictaean Cave showing an axe with the same characteristic markings. I have also come across two other examples of the same type, one, a cornelian from Kavusi (Fig. 15, d), the other of the same material from Girapetra. In other cases the “labrys” without the diagonal bands appears as the principal type on Cretan gems.

page 53 note 1 J.H.S. 1900, pp. 106–109. In the separate publication (Macmillan and Co. 1901), pp. 8–10.

page 54 note 1 In the article already referred to (p. 22 note) on the “Double-Axe and the Labyrinth” (J.H.S. xxi. Pt. ii. p. 268, seqq.), Mr. W. H. D. Rouse betrays an obvious want of familiarity with some of the most elementary features of primitive religion, and seems incapable of imagining that Greece like other countries passed through the aniconic stage of worship. The worship of the double-axe altogether shocks his propriety. “The Greeks,” he writes, “would be as likely to worship a pair of top boots…. Such exaggerated superstition was foreign to the Greek intellect” —as if the Hellenic sources of the fifth century B. C. could afford an index to the Mycenaean and still earlier Eteocretan worship of the fifteenth or the twentieth ! The conclusion of the eminent philologists above cited that Labyrinthos is connected with Labrys and Labranda, now widely accepted among scholars, is to Mr. Rouse a mere source of merriment. “On the same principle,” he writes, “Fluellen undertook to prove that Alexander was a Welshman; there is a river in Monmouth and there is a river, look you, in Macedon also.”

page 54 note 2 See below.

page 54 note 3 See below.

page 54 note 4 J.H.S. 1900, p. 192 and Plate.

page 56 note 1 Just east of this corner the foundations had been a good deal injured. They have been since repaired.

page 58 note 1 A puzzling circumstance was the discovery at the base of this wall of a tough flooring of clay and red potter's earth. It perhaps belonged to some outside cellar of later construction.

page 60 note 1 Several of the upper slabs of these were found in a disintegrated condition, and have been replaced in order to preserve the rest of the parapet. The walling of the parapet within the slabs was of clay and rubble.

page 63 note 1 Lavori eseguiti a Festos dalla Missione Archeologica Italiana. Relazione del Dott. Luigi Pernier (Roma 1901), p. 16, No. 19 on the plan.

page 65 note 1 I have followed MrGriffith's, F. Ll. transcription, Archaeological Report of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, 19001901, p. 37. Mr. Griffith informs me that the form of the user sign seen in this inscription is not found elsewhere “except occasionally in the cartouches of the clearly Hyksôs Apepi and of Rameses II., who may have imitated it.”

page 66 note 1 See Petrie, , History of Egypt, i. p. 118 seqq. Professor Pétrie on the ground of his scarab style was inclined to place the date of Khyan as early as the Tenth Dynasty. But as is pointed out by Mr. Griffith, loc. cit., the excavations of Mr. Mace and Mr. Garstang have now shown that this group of scarabs must be placed between the Twelfth and Eighteenth Dynasties. Mr. Percy Newberry who has been collecting further materials regarding the Hyksôs scarabs informs me that he has arrived at the same conclusion. A general consensus of Egyptologists now brings down the reign of Khyan to the Hyksôs period, and it must be said that the evidence of the Knossos find confirms this conclusion.

page 66 note 2 Petrie op. cit., p. 120.

page 66 note 3 W. Max Müller, cited by Griffith, loc. cit.

page 66 note 4 Mr. Griffith remarks, however, that none of the other scarab kings can be identified with names in the Josephus list.

page 66 note 5 According to Petrie' chronological table, History of Egypt, 1, 236, the approximate date of lanias would be 1837 to 1787 B.C.

page 69 note 1 Mr. Mackenzie gives the exact measurement as 4·95 metres.

page 72 note 1 These steps are 1·50 metres wide, ·15 high and ·50 deep.

page 72 note 2 The star and branch signs are visible on its blocks.

page 74 note 1 Two of the legs were damaged.

page 75 note 1 The column bases are 1·40 metres apart.

page 75 note 2 The south door jamb and a central one with a double reveal had been preserved. The northern door jamb, however, and the small adjoining return of the wall, had disappeared. The width of the south doorway was 82 centimetres.

page 77 note 1 From a coloured drawing carefully executed by Mr. Fyfe, who has completed the disintegrated and missing parts of the design in accordance with my suggestions.

page 81 note 1 A. S. Murray, Excavations in Cyprus, p. 12, Fig. 19, and cf. J.H.S. xvi. (1896) p. 288, seqq. where Professor Ridgeway ingeniously compares the Greek game of Polis.

page 81 note 2 There were too many of these roundels for them to have been all for the board on which the game was played, but a certain number may in this case have formed part of the ornament of the sides of the box below.

page 81 note 3 See the supplementary note on the fly leaf at the beginning of the Report for 1900.

page 82 note 1 Loc. cit.

page 82 note 2 I visited these in 1895 in company with Mr. J. L. Myres who, for the first time, explained the true meaning of the so-called “Megalithic Monuments” of Tripoli in Proc. Soc. Ant. 1898, p. 280 seqq. For the North African oil-presses cf. too Tissot, , Afrique Romaine, i. p. 294. The presses may well represent a still earlier Libyan tradition.

page 82 note 3 On some Karian and Hellenic Oil-Presses, J.H.S. xviii. (1898), p. 209, seqq.

page 82 note 4 J. H. S. loc. cit. p. 214, Fig. 6.

page 83 note 1 Loc. cit. p. 215, Fig. 7.

page 83 note 2 Compare the arrangement of a press near Latmos.—J.H.S. xviii, p. 212.

page 83 note 3 Tsountas, , Ἐφ. Ἀρχ 1891, p. 15.

page 83 note 4 It would even appear that already in Mycenaean times the olive was cultivated in Sicily. In the Necropolis of Cozzo Pantano near Syracuse, the tombs of which contain so many imported Mycenaean objects, in addition to shallow high pedestalled vessels which seem to be a simple adaptation of the Mycenaean and Minoan lamps as seen at Knossos, was found a clay vessel of native fabric, the decoration of which was supplied by the impress of actual olive leaves. (Orsi, , “Necropoli Sicula presso Siracusa,” Mon. Antichi, ii. 1893, p. 21, and Tav. 11, i. la.)

page 84 note 1 These were roughly square but varied a little in dimensions. The first bay north was 2·70 by 2·80 metres, the second 2·70 by 2·85 while the width of the third was only 2·40.

page 85 note 1 As for instance those of El Mahasna.

page 93 note 1 A few gypsum blocks are to be found among them.

page 94 note 1 About 1·70 metres down, or about 1·50 metres above the floor level.

page 96 note 1 The attitude closely resbemles that of the boxers—there armed with halteres—on the bronze situlas of Waatsch and Matrai.

page 97 note 1 See p. 47 above.

page 100 note 1 See above p. 14. In the plan, which only shows here the basement spaces, an idea of the Southern Entrance Passage can hardly be given.

page 101 note 1 See above p. 19.

page 101 note 2 J.H.S. 1900, p. 163, Fig. 43.

page 101 note 3 Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1888, Pl. x. 36. Placed wrong way up on the plate. Compare the gem in the Berlin collection, Furtwängler, Beschreibung, &c. No. 22.

page 103 note 1 On the inner line of the stairs the depth, as stated above, was only 5 metres, but further south the depth was the same as that of the adjoining Hall of the Colonnades, namely 6·80 metres, representing an original depth below the level of the Central Court of about 8 metres.

page 103 note 2 Their sockets, like that already described, had a raised ring and their inner diameter was about ·58 centimetres.

page 105 note 1 See above p. 62.

page 107 note 1 The diameter of the central column base was 60 centimetres, that to the south 63 centimetres.

page 108 note 1 See above p. 53.

page 108 note 2 Both this and the doorway at the north-east corner were 1·40 metres wide.

page 109 note 1 The drain was 9 centimetres deep and 19 wide.

page 113 note 1 In order to save the upper part of the wall from the danger of subsiding, the greater part of this cavity had to be filled in.

page 113 note 2 The dimensions of the drain were here arger, 25 centimetres deep by 45 wide, an indication that some additional surface water was supposed to reach it.

page 115 note 1 All were preserved in situ except the half-base that must originally have stood by the south wall of the chamber.

page 116 note 1 See above p. 90.

page 119 note 1 Porcelain plaques, some making up a scale or feather design, with signs and dots, have now been found by the Italian Mission in the Palace at Phaestos.

page 119 note 2 In pointing out the parallelism of the signs as to Knossian plaques with those of Tell-el-Yehûdiyeh, in my previous Report (p. 42), I was not aware that this suggestion had been made (Bey, Brugsch, Rec. des Travaux, etc., 1896, p. Iseqq.). Dr. Von Bissing, who kindly called my attention to this, informs me that these marks on Egyptian porcelain plaques, to which he has for years directed his attention, are extremely rare.

page 119 note 3 See ProfessorPetrie's, table of these signs, Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty, Pt. I. (1900), p. 32.

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