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One of the world’s oldest civilisations, the Minoans of the Aegean, who some believe originated in Anatolia, built their political and religious centre at Knossos. The palace complex was excavated by Arthur Evans, a former Guardian correspondent and Balkans specialist. The ruins date from the Late Bronze Age, around 1380–1100BC, and were discovered in 1880 by Minos Kalokairinos, a local businessman and archaeological enthusiast whose home, containing some of the first finds, was burnt during the independence uprising against the Ottomans in 1898. Two years later Evans, who by then was Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, began work on the site, which he continued for more than 30 years. His achievements can be seen in the museum. In Crete, his restoration of two palaces caused some damage but they do give an idea of how the buildings might have looked, and work on the area is continuing. Items from the site are on display in the archaeological museum in Iraklion.
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