Surprising revelations about Knossos, Europe’s oldest city

Recent research has focused on the urban development of the cosmopolitan hub of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions during the Iron Age

Archaeologists recently discovered some new surprising information about the ancient city of Knossos located on the Greek island of Crete.

According to recently fieldwork, during the early Iron Age (1100 to 600 BC), the city was rich in imports and was about three times larger than what was believed from earlier excavations.

The above discovery suggests that Knossos had recovered from the collapse of the socio-political system around 1200 BC, but it also rapidly grew and became a cosmopolitan hub of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.

Antonis Kotsonas, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of classics, will present his field research with the Knossos Urban Landscape Project at the 117th annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and Society for Classical Studies, which takes place Jan. 7-10, 2016 in San Francisco.

Mr. Kotsonas explains that Knossos, “renowned as a glorious site of the Greek Bronze Age, the leader of Crete and the seat of the palace of the mythical King Minos and the home of the enigmatic labyrinth,” was the prosperous epicenter of Minoan culture.

Many studies have been conducted on the city’s Bronze Age remains for more than a century, but more recent research has focused on the urban development of the city during the Iron Age—in the 11th century BC.

The Knossos Urban Landscape Project has brought to light a large collection of ceramics and artifacts dating back to the Iron Age. These relics were found at an extensive area that was previously unexplored.

As Mr. Kotsonas says, this exploration showed a considerable growth in the size of the settlement during the early Iron Age and also growth in the quantity and quality of its imports from mainland Greece, Cyprus, the Near East, Egypt, Italy, Sardinia and the western Mediterranean.

“No other site in the Aegean period has such a range of imports,” Kotsonas says, while the imports included bronze and other metals—jewelry and adornments, as well as pottery.



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