NEWS

New crack at riddle of Knossos

The Culture Ministry has given the go-ahead for a seismological study that might help provide a scientific answer to one of the most tantalizing questions of Greek archaeology: What caused the collapse of the flourishing Minoan culture on Crete some 3,500 years ago? Late on Tuesday, the ministry's Central Archaeological Council agreed to let Greek and international earthquake experts study the ruins of Knossos, the largest of the Bronze Age palatial complexes built by the Minoans. Scientists will also dig trenches across existing faults in the area of Archanes, a few kilometers to the south, in a bid to record the area's seismic history. They will not be allowed to excavate in Knossos itself, where no faults are known to exist, but will thoroughly map the area. The team will be headed by Athanassios Ganas, a remote sensing and geology researcher at the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens. The destruction of Knossos, around 1450 BC, has been tentatively attributed to an earthquake possibly linked with a vast volcano eruption on the island of Santorini.

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