UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Excavating a legacy : a contextual study of the Miniature Frescoes from the Neopalatial court complex at Knossos Brake, Andrea Helene


Sir Arthur Evans was the first official excavator of Knossos, and his legacy is centred on his imaginative creation of Minoan society as a peaceful monarchy of liberal, goddess-worshipping people. Evans’ interpretations and reconstructions, based on his excavations of the court complex at Knossos, have proven difficult to move beyond, despite much scholarly work aimed at dismantling his legacy in order to extract aspects of our understanding of Minoan society that have been dependent on his misleading, biased, or erroneous views. I propose a new, holistic approach to analyzing Evans’ legacy data that incorporates access analysis, proxemics, and embodied archaeology. The aim of this approach is to contextualize a particular group of related artifacts from Evans’ excavations in order to facilitate analyses that might offer new interpretations of the evidence from Knossos, or perhaps confirm Evans’ initial conclusions. As a case study I analyze the Miniature Frescoes from the Neopalatial period at the court complex of Knossos, and incorporate the use of experimental archaeology, specifically an experiment designed to analyze the sensory aspects of the context. Based on my reanalysis, I conclude that the court complex at Knossos may have been a ritual centre for the regional community, and that the room where the fragments of the Miniature Frescoes were discovered may have been a location of preparation for these community events, especially considering the location of this room adjacent to both the Central Court and the North Entrance Passageway. I therefore show that new insights can be gained from engaging in a contextualizing study of legacy data, and that these insights can inform an updated interpretation of the material evidence from Knossos.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International