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Sir Ar thur Evans

It had long been known that there had once existed a city called Knossos in
this region and indeed, the inhabitants often found ancient objects as they
cultivated their fields.

The first man to excavate in the area was Minos Kalokairinos, a merchant of
Iraklion and a lover of antiquity. In 1878 he uncovered two of the palace
storerooms.

Arthur was a British archaeologist, born in Nash Mills, England, and educated
at Harrow School, Brasenose College, the University of Oxford, and the
University of Göttingen. From 1884 to 1908 he was curator of the Ashmolean
Museum at Oxford.

The excavations began at a very rapid pace, and by the end of 1903 almost
all of the palace had been uncovered and work began on the surrounding
area. Evans continued his researches until 1931, with an interruption for the
duration of the First World War. He subsequently published his work in four
volumes entitled "The Palace of Minos at Knossos". His chief assistant was
the archaeologist D Mackenzie, who kept the basic daybook of the
excavations.

From the beginning it proved necessary to preserve and restore the


monuments that were being uncovered. A number of parts of the Palace were
restored in this way, and considerable use was made of reinforced concrete in
the work. In a number of places, copies of the famous frescoes discovered,
were installed. This method of restoration has received much criticism since it
used materials foreign to Minoan architecture. Some scholars also dispute
some of the conclusions of the pioneer British excavator.

All questions aside, Evans is constantly admired for his intuition, his creative
imagination and his profound scholarship. It is to him that we owe the
discovery of the marvellous Minoan Civilization, which until his time was only
dimly reflected in Greek Mythology. His services have brought him
international fame and recognition.

As a mark of honour, therefore, and to perpetuate his memory, his bust has
been erected on the south side of the west court of the palace.

After his death in 1941 responsibility for the excavations at Knossos, which
continue to the present day, was assumed by the British School of
Archaeology.

Excavations at Knossos also revealed some 3000 clay tablets inscribed in two
scripts later known as Linear A (or Minoan script) and Linear B (an early
Greek dialect).

In Script a Minoan (volume 1, 1909; volume 2 posthumously, 1952) Evans


dealt with the problem of decipherment of these scripts and the pictorial.
Evans was knighted in 1911. His other works include Palace of Minos (4
volumes, 1921-1935) and Jarn Mound (1933).

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