Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8 - Sir Arthur Evans

British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans was born on July 8, 1851, in a paper mill town northeast of London. The son of a famed prehistorian, he traveled throughout Europe after studying at Oxford, where he later became Keeper of the University’s Ashmolean Museum, which he built into a world-renowned archaeological museum. He was intensely interested in ancient Greek civilizations at Mycenae and the island of Crete. He determined the latter had flourished from 1380-1100 BCE in the Late Bronze Age. In the 1890s he bought land on Crete that included the site of the ancient cultural capital of Knossos, where he unearthed ruins of a vast palace whose size and grandeur suggested the labyrinth of the legendary King Minos, who fed youths to the Minotaur. Evans’ discoveries, including 3,000 clay tablets, helped established dates for the mercantile Minoan civilization to the Neolithic period, and furthered understanding of Minoan writing (known as Linear A and Linear B). Pictured: restored frescoes at the Palace of Knossos.

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