Evans, Sir Arthur John

Evans, Sir Arthur John, 1851–1941, English archaeologist. He was (1884–1908) keeper of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. From 1900 to 1935 he conducted excavations on the Greek island of Crete, principally at Knossos, and there uncovered the remains of a previously unknown ancient culture, which he named the Minoan civilization. He devised a Minoan chronology spanning several thousand years that is still considered essentially accurate. Evans devoted considerable time and expense to the reconstruction of the most impressive feature of the civilization, the palace. The Palace of Minos at Knossos as restored by Evans is based on fragmentary evidence and has proved quite controversial, as have his interpretations of Minoan religion. His writings include Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Script (1895), The Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult (1901), and The Palace of Minos (4 vol., 1921–35).

See biography by J. Evans (1943); J. A. MacGillivary, Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth (2000).

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