Let Them Rest in Peace: The Sacred Burials of Frescoes, Pots, and Rooms in the House of the Frescoes at Knossos

Monday, September 27, 2021, 4:30 pm6:00 pm



Event Description

Cosponsor(s):Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the Program in Archaeology | Thompson Lecture


In 1923, in the heart of the Minoan settlement of Knossos, in the outskirts of the immense Palace, Arthur Evans and Duncan Mackenzie unearthed the remains of a small but imposing building. The rich deposit of elaborately decorated frescoes discovered within it gave the building the name of ‘House of the Frescoes’. Several things are odd about this structure: its architecture without obvious parallels in Crete; the quantity of frescoes strangely stacked in layers at the end of a room; the aggressive dismantling of the building after its abandonment which destroyed floors and walls; the surprising perfect preservation of two of his rooms, seemingly untouched by the dismantling. What happened in there? Who took off and stacked the frescoes? Who was destroying the building? Who did not dare to touch those two rooms and why? Why did the House of the Frescoes deserve such a treatment? In this lecture, I explore the evidence to reconstruct the final moments in the life and afterlife of this intriguing little building.