A spectacular BBC documentary presenting life in Minoan Crete was created to show the various aspects of the Minoan civilization which thrived as a maritime power from around the 27th until the 15th century BC.
The Knossos palace was excavated in the beginning of the 20th century by the British archaeologist Arthur Evans.
Hominids first appeared on the island of Crete about 130,000 years ago, during the Middle Paleolithic Age. Axes found in South Crete, in Preveli Gorge, are attributed to homo erectus, whose traces were located in Africa. However, in Crete they are made from local quartz stones instead of flint.
Archaeological evidence points that settlements were built on the island between the late 8th and the early 7th millennia BC. However, the first signs of agriculture showed much later, in 5000 B.C.
Minoan culture is considered to begin when the first palace complexes were built in the Bronze Age. The video includes very good representations of Tavrokathapsia (doing acrobatics on a bull’s back), a popular sport held in Minoan festivals. The decay of Minoan culture begins with the explosion of the volcano in Thera (called Stroggili back then) at about 1600 B.C.
Giant waves and tsunamis, unleashed by the volcano, made way across the open sea to batter the northern coast of Crete. The Minoan cities were weakened and conquered by the Mycenaean invaders. The disaster is vividly shown in the following video, which is part of the BBC documentary “Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend.”