Knossos “Palace” Complex
Date ca. 1500 BCE
Movement Aegean | Minoan
Location Knossos, Crete
The floor plan of the multi-leveled “palace” complex at Crete presents a dizzying array of halls, storage rooms, living corridors, lavatories, stairways and more—leading the Greeks to later refer to this place as a labyrinth. Arthur Evans, the archaeologist who discovered the structure, may have mislabeled the complex as a “palace”. Though it once housed a grand room in which a throne was contained, it appears to have also operated as the center of commerce, industry and politics in the region.
Notably lacking of this complex is a clear defense system; the Minoans may have had little need of this, given their seafaring prowess. A number of wells penetrate the building, offering sunlight and ventilation to the numerous lower levels below. Flat roofs would have enabled upward expansion if necessary.
Parts of the complex underwent a concrete reconstruction under Evan’s lead. Wall paintings indicate that the structure’s columns were indeed originally painted red and black; interestingly, these columns are oval in the cross section and taper downward.