Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


6 November 2013

Working on a Dream: The ‘Palace of Minos’ at Knossos in Archaeological Research, Heritage Protection and Daily Life

Giorgos Vavouranakis Cultural History 2.2 (2013): 213-231.

From the introduction

Landscape has been defined as ‘a usefully ambiguous concept’, being both the medium and the outcome of the dynamic relation between people and their environs. Human agency shapes the landscape and imbues it with meaning. In its turn, the landscape is a social actor, because its materiality provides people with specific affordances for activity and it incorporates collectively held values. Such approaches may be applied to the history of archaeological research, so as to illuminate the ways in which past material remains are envisioned as parts of wider landscapes, as well as the ways in which such landscape perceptions shape further research on these remains.

This article examines the case-study of Knossos, a prehistoric site on the island of Crete, Greece. Knossos is best known for the ‘Palace of Minos’, an architectural complex of the second millennium BC and one of the main keys to understanding Minoan society. It is here argued that archaeological research at Knossos has been the combined result of the ways in which scholars, tourists, local people and the Greek state have perceived the Knossian landscape and its material remains. Consequently Knossos is a palimpsest of the scholarly, the economic, the everyday and the heritage landscape.


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