Bull-Leaping Paintings at Ancient Knossos: What Do They Tell Us?

Bull-leaping fresco from the east wing of the palace of Knossos (reconstructed), c. 1400 B.C.E., fresco, 78 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Jebulon, CC0) The most interesting question about the bull leaping paintings from Knossos is what they might mean. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum[…]

Bull’s Head Rhyta and Their Ritual Significance in Ancient Minoa

Bull’s head rhyton from the palace at Knossos, c. 1550-1500 B.C.E., black steatite, jasper, and mother-of-pearl, 26 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0) Images of bulls are among the most important in Minoan art. By Dr. Senta German / 08.16.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford[…]

“La Parisienne” of Ancient Minoa: Mortal or Goddess?

Woman or goddess (“La Parisienne”) from the Camp-Stool fresco, c.1350 B.C.E., western wing of the palace at Knossos, buon fresco, 20 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion) Whatever her original meaning, La Parisienne is an enduring testament to the skill of Minoan fresco painters. By Dr. Senta German / 08.14.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation[…]

The Snake Goddess of Ancient Minoa, an Enticing Mystery

Snake Goddess from the palace at Knossos, c. 1600 B.C.E., faience, 29.5 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Zde, CC BY-SA 4.0) What she meant to the Minoans who made her is not very well understood. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford An Enticing[…]

The Palaikastro Octopus Vase of Ancient Minoa – An Enduring Influence

Octopus vase from Palaikastro, c. 1500 B.C.E., 27 cm high (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, photo: Wolfgang Sauber, CC BY-SA 3.0) The style was imitated by potters on the Greek mainland as well as the islands of Melos. By Dr. Senta German / 08.15.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Ceramics for[…]

An Eye into Ancient Minoa through the Palaikastro Kouros

Statuette of a Male Figure (The Palaikastro Kouros), 1480 – 1425 B.C.E., serpentine, hippopotamus ivory, and gold, 54 x 18.5 cm (Archaeological Museum of Siteia, photo: Olaf Tausch, CC BY 3.0) The attention to naturalistic human anatomy in the statue is extraordinary. By Dr. Senta German / 08.20.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford One[…]

Kamares Ware and Trade in Ancient Minoa

Kamares wares in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: Bernard Gagnon, CC BY-SA 3.0) Kamares ware helps us map the trading relationships of the Minoans with the Mediterranean at large. By Dr. Senta German / 08.20.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Look closely at the jug on the top shelf at[…]

The Harvester Vase of Hagia Triada: An Eye into Ancient Minoan Agriculture

Harvester Vase from Hagia Triada, c. 1550-1500 B.C.E., black steatite, diameter 4.5 inches (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion) As the name of this vessel indicates, it is generally thought that its decoration refers to harvesting. By Dr. Senta German / 08.16.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Small but Powerful Found[…]

Ancient Minoan Burial Rituals: ‘Reading’ the Hagia Triada Sarcophagus

The Hagia Triada sarcophagus at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (photo: C messier, CC BY-SA 3.0) This sarcophagus is among the best of narrative-style representations of religious customs in ancient Minoa. By Dr. Senta German / 08,17.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford A Coffin for Royalty? Hagia Triada sarcophagus, c. 1400[…]

DNA Analysis Sheds Light on the Mysterious Origins of the Ancient Greeks

A fragmented painting of a woman bearing offerings, from the Mycenaean palace at Tiryns. (Carole Raddato/Wikimedia Commons) Researchers found that Minoans and Mycenaeans were closely related. By Brigit Katz / 08.04.2017 During the Bronze Age, two important civilizations emerged in Greece: the Minoans and, later, the Mycenaeans. These ancient peoples were among the earliest of the so-called “high[…]

Ancient Treasures on Top of Mediterranean Mountains

The summit of Mt Zagaras north of Athens. Jason König In ancient times, they were the shrines and ritual sites to the Greek gods. These days, they’re astonishingly unloved and neglected. By Dr. Jason König / 03.01.2016 Professor of Greek University of St. Andrews The mountains of the Mediterranean are permanent reminders of the past. The ancient Greeks climbed to their summits to offer sacrifices to the[…]

Conservation vs. Restoration: The Palace of Knossos

The archaeological site at Knossos, with restored rooms in the background, Crete (photo: Jebulon, public domain) By Dr. Senta German / 03.24.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Restoration versus conservation What happens to an archaeological site after the archaeologist’s work is completed? Should the site (or parts of it)[…]

The Women of Mycenaean Pylos and Knossos

Fresco from Mycenae (1250-1180 BCE). Photo by Mark Cartwright, Archeaological Museum Mycenae By Judith Weingarten / 11.27.2016 Archaeologist Eritha, A Mycenaean Uppity Woman Around the year 1300 B.C.E., a priestess named Eritha argued a law suit against the governing council of the district of Pa-ki-ja-na (= Sphagianes, “the place of ritual slaughter”).  Eritha was high-priestess[…]