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Minoan frescoes are a valuable source of information for archaeologists
Minoan frescoes are a valuable source of information for archaeologists

Press Release - 16 October 2006

Free public lecture: The mystery of the Minoans

How much can you learn about a society without the written word? The language of the ancient Minoans has baffled historians for over one hundred years. Local people will have the opportunity to learn what we do and don’t know about this ancient society at a free public lecture at the University of Bath in Swindon on Wednesday 18 October.

The Minoans were a very advanced civilisation in prehistoric Crete and are perceived as having been organised merchants, superior artisans and devoted pilgrims. Monumental architecture, fine arts such as jewellery and religious implements give a multi-faceted account of this distant society.

But unlike ancient Egypt there are no deciphered written records to corroborate this physical evidence. Without the corroboration of written records what is evidence and what is inferred? How can we safely piece together information about administration, religion or warfare in the case of a culture which has no written evidence?

Anna Simandiraki, a specialist in Minoan Crete, will examine the archaeology of this fascinating ancient society and attempt to reconstruct what the scholars of today know about it.

Ms Simandiraki said: “For the last hundred years historians have tried to break the code of Linear A, the Minoan language. But the limited written evidence has made it impossible to decipher. Without this archaeologists have to be more cautious then ever in their interpretations.”

Ms Simandiraki studied Archaeology & History of Art in her native Crete before completing her postgraduate studies at the University of Bristol. She specialises in Minoan Crete and has participated in extensive fieldwork there. She currently works at the International Baccalaureate Research Unit in the Department of Education, University of Bath.

Admission and parking for the lecture is free and people can just turn up on the evening. The lecture runs from 5.30pm until 6.30pm in the main hall at the Oakfield campus.

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