Restoration of Road West to Harbour

Neopalatial Building T, the huge civic building with a central court intended for group activities, was bordered along its north by a broad paved avenue with a drain along the north side. It led directly to the sea and harbor where trading and fishing boats would pull up in an area sheltered then by an offshore islet. Just to the right as one came up the road was an entrance to a lobby leading to rooms of Building T (left foreground), and not far on were steps leading up to the houses of the town (right foreground). The avenue continued east before becoming a track leading north to Hagia Triadha and northeast to the Palace of Phaistos and, some distance to the north, the domain of Knossos.

North Façade of Minoan Palace

The paved east-west avenue leading up from the shore (foreground) skirted the high façade of Building T. Here, at a point below the later superposed Greek temples (above, right), were the impressive ashlar (evenly squared) limestone blocks making up the lower part of T’s façade. These are called “orthostats” because they are actually narrow slabs set on edge, the remainder of the wall’s width of almost two meters being made up of non-ashlar masonry. The huge rectangular slab in the central foreground, resting on a projecting socle or krepidoma, is the largest block known from Minoan Crete; it was probably dragged unto position by ropes up an inclined earth ramp.
East Façade of Minoan Palace

The monumental eastern wall of Building T had an alternating single/double course of orthostats along its base (left front, to background). Later the probable rubble wall above it was replaced by large, reused ashlar blocks during the time of Building P (see below). A mysterious slab (center foreground), now much worn, was set vertically in front of the façade wall. It must be a marker of some kind. If it was inscribed or had a relief decoration, that is lost since its original eastern face is worn away; but it may be commemorative, perhaps recalling someone who was injured or died during construction; or it may have recalled the purpose or the creator of the building.


Kiln in Stoa from Northeast

Looking west southwest over the southern part of Building T shows the ends of still unexcavated rooms (right, front) facing onto T’s central court (upper right). The court was bordered along its southern edge by a long stoa of which the six disk-shaped limestone bases for wooden columns are visible. Early in its history, it seems, Building T lost its prestigious role and a pottery kiln (center left, and see below) was set inside the stoa, which had collapsed by then.
Reconstruction of the North Stoa of the Minoan Palace

The ‘North’ Stoa, along the north side of the Central Court, like that facing it on the south, was supported by six columns. It sheltered members of groups that used the court for communal displays and other activities. Its back wall and much of its floor were decorated with colored and spiral frescos. Because of later building during both Minoan and Greek periods, much of its structure is masked by later walls.
Reconstruction of Pottery Kiln

The pottery kiln, with its dome cut back to reveal firing chamber and channels, within the South Stoa of Building T. The kiln was built against and over the back wall of the stoa, of which two column bases can be seen. The potter is at work with his wheel as he forms vases to be fired. To his right is heaped up brush used to fire the kiln.
Restoration of Shipsheds (Building P)

About 1360 BC a huge Postpalatial structure dubbed “Building P,” consisting of six huge galleries open to the west, was set upon the eastern wing of earlier Building T. With their considerable height of some four meters and some forty meters long, those spaces have been interpreted as having been used for storage. But storage of what?  The most likely explanation is that they accommodated sailing ships, masts lowered, of the Minoan fleet, during the winter, non-sailing months. Found within the galleries were masses of fragments of storage vessels dubbed “short-necked amphoras” (see Pottery, below) that most likely originally contained liquids such as wine and oil to be traded abroad.
Restoration: Plan of Shipsheds (Building P) and Building N

Restored plan of the shipsheds on Building P, shown in restored elevation in the previous illustration. Most of the southern two galleries, P5 and P6, remain largely unexplored. Some time in the future techniques unknown now may be available to determine their use with assurance.