Back in 2018 renowned adventurer and archaeologist, Peter Eeckhout came to Crete to explore the ongoing discover projects of the island which seek to decode the ancient Minoan Civilization. Eeckhout visited recent excavations at Knossos, Phaistos, and Sissi that are helping scientists like Dr. Jan Driessen decipher many of the Minoan secrets from a timeframe of between roughly 3000 and 1400 BCE. A new short film produced for the European Cultural Channel ARTE,
The island the ancient Egyptians referred to as Keftiu, was the cradle of the first great civilization of the western world. The Minoans are credited with many “firsts” including being the first European people to master writing and to have built highly refined buildings, including the complex monumental architecture.
Crete is also the origin of many Greek myths that have long puzzled historians and archaeologists who’ve tried to decode their literal meanings. been exploited to explain these structures. Recent excavations in the monuments of Knossos, Phaistos, and Sissi eventually led to the decoding of these buildings, in particular thanks to space syntax.
Famous Aegean archaeologists like Dr. Jan Driessen, the discoverer of the Sissi Minoan Palace, are using this revolutionary method to deduce the uses, importance, and meaning of these monuments of the Minoans. The short film above (French but you can use English subtitles), reveals Eeckhout’s study and that of Driessen and other scientists. We spoke briefly with Dr. Driessen over social media about the “tree structure” of urban construction/planning in Minoan times, a facet discussed in the documentary.
“The tree structure means that the palaces were highly impermeable buildings in which access was easy for people to reach the central court and hence the rest of the building. It shows however that the court is the core and not some other room as the throne room.”
For those unfamiliar, Space syntax is a set of techniques for analyzing spatial layouts and human activity patterns in buildings and urban areas. The system helps scientists understand the relationship between society and space, and ultimately how and why these ancient people moved, interacted, and made their choices.
The film, which has won awards at several festivals around the world, including the US, takes an in depth look at how Dr. Driesen’s team interpret things in a new light. Driesen and Eeckhout also discuss the fantastic Malia Palace, and others, as they delve deeper into new methods for puzzling out Minoan secrets that have puzzled archaeologists for decades.