Minoan Architecture

Louise A. Hitchcock

in The Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age Aegean

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199873609
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Minoan Architecture

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Archaeology
  • Classical Art and Architecture


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Minoan architecture is characterized by both tradition and innovation. Although regionalism was more typical of the tomb architecture of the Early Bronze Age, there are also some regional distinctions among Minoan palatial buildings. These distinctions are frequently overshadowed by the emphasis placed on the organization of the palaces around a central court, resulting in the use of the essentialist term “court-centered building.” Houses were characterized by a radial plan with rooms organized around a squarish hall. A preference for corner doorways and a liberal use of corridors and staircases in the palaces and villas enhanced their complexity. Greater cultural uniformity with mainland Greece at the end of the Bronze Age is indicated by the predominance of rectilinear halls with entry on the short side throughout the Aegean.

Keywords: Minoan architecture; tradition; innovation; regionalism; palaces; court; Greece; Bronze Age

Article.  4466 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Archaeology ; Classical Art and Architecture

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