The Minoans of Crete: Europe’s Oldest Civilization
Excavating Minoan Sites
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Minoans
J. Lesley Fitton
(London: British Museum, 2002) 224 PP., $45
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Around the turn of the last century, a young Bostonian named Harriet Boyd wanted very much to dig at Corinth. She was a student at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, which in 1896 had begun important excavations in the ancient city. However, the school’s director, Rufus Richardson, would have none of it: Field archaeology, he believed, was not a suitable activity for a proper young woman. So Harriet Boyd ventured on to Crete, which then, as now, was a place beyond the realm of normal social convention. Between 1901 and 1904 she excavated at the coastal site of Gournia, uncovering what is still the only known town on Crete dating to the Late Minoan period (1600–1100 B.C.).
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