CINEMA  Ancient history  21.05.2012. The Minoans: Ancient Civilization of Crete

The Minoans: Ancient Civilization of Crete

Bettany Hughes visits Crete to recount the story one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever made. The tale of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth is perhaps the most compelling of all Greek myths. Just over 100 years ago, English archaeologist Arthur Evans went to the 'Minotaur's Island' to explore the roots of this myth and discovered instead a sophisticated Bronze Age civilisation that had been lost to history for thousands of years. He called them The Minoans, and the riches of their culture astonished the world, prompting Evans to proclaim them the first civilisation of the Western World. But was this view unduly romantic? Recent archaeological discoveries have added fascinating layers of complexity to the picture originally painted by Evans. The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans. Will Durant referred to it as "the first link in the European chain." The early inhabitants of Crete settled as early as 128,000 BC, during the Middle Paleolithic age. However, it was not until 5000 BC that the first signs of advanced agriculture appeared.