Archaeology Odyssey, March/April 2004


Special Section

The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization


To think of the Minoans, the Bronze Age inhabitants of Crete, is to think of snake-goddess figurines, sculpted and painted bulls, frescoes depicting athletes, and tablets inscribed with strange—and sometimes indecipherable—writing. We imagine palaces with broad staircases, paved courtyards and painted walls commanding splendid views of the...Read more ›

The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization

Imagining the Minoans

By Barry Unsworth

Love Crete or not—and I have yet to meet anyone who has spent much time there and doesn’t—it is hard to think of anywhere else on earth where so many firsts and mosts are crammed into a space so small. At scarcely more than 3,000 square miles...Read more ›

The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization

Excavating Minoan Sites

By James D. Muhly

Around the turn of the last century, a young Bostonian named Harriet Boyd wanted very much to dig at Corinth. She was a student at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, which in 1896 had begun important excavations in the ancient city. However, the school’s director, Rufus Richardson, would have none of it: Field archaeology, he believed, was not a suitable activity for a proper young woman.Read more ›

The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization

Deciphering Cretan Scripts

By Barry B. Powell

As children we learn that A is for Apple, B is for Boy and C is for Cat, and that CAB is the machine we use to travel downtown. We also sing the alphabet song, whose words are the alphabetic signs sung in a sing-song rhythm that...Read more ›


Augustus Takes the Cure

To heal his ailing liver, the emperor bathed in “icy water”

By David Soren

In 23 B.C. the Roman emperor Augustus should have felt on top of the world. He had conquered most of western Europe, and the might of his Roman legions stretched deep into North Africa and the Near East. Culturally, he was presiding over a golden age, represented...Read more ›