Sir Arthur Evans
b. July 8, 1851
d. July 11, 1941
Sir Arthur John Evans, most commonly known as Sir Arthur Evans, is the British archaeologist credited with discovering the Bronze Age Minoan civilization. He was initially drawn to Crete with the hope of translating early Greek writing, later Linear A and Linear B. Evans excavated on the island of Crete from 1900 to 1935, uncovering the ruins, which included spectacular palaces with many rooms and a maze-like quality about them. He named the civilization Minoan after Minos, the legendary mythological king of Crete who had a labyrinth built to contain the monstrous Minotaur.
Lacking the modern technological advances is archaeology of today, Evans enlisted locals to use hand picks and shovels to remove soil which covered the buildings he wished to study. His work in reconstructing palaces was based heavily on fragmentary evidence, and has been controversial as a result. Nevertheless, Evans developed a chronology of the civilization which spanned several thousand years and is still considered accurate for the most part.
Sir Arthur John Evans was also curator of the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford from 1884 to 1908. He was knighted in 1911 and died at the age of 90 in 1941.
His better known writings include:
Cretan Pictographs and Prae-Phoenician Script (1895)
The Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult (1901)
The Palace of Minos (4 vol., 1921–35)
Minnesota State University Museum http://emuseum.mnsu.edu