THE SECRET OF CRETE by Hans Georg Wunderlich


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I had visited the Minoan sites to explore the traces of early geological catastrophes but what I found were curious contradictions."" Taking issue (gently) with Arthur Evans' reconstructions which placed the Palace of Knossos in a sort of belle epoque of cosmetics and games, Wunderlich proposes that the diminutive bathtubs were more suited to funerary urns, that the Queen's bedroom was hardly airier than a prison but would have made a fine sepulcher, and that the recreated frescoes of frolicking youths and bulls were as accurate a depiction of the arena games as a Busby Berkeley routine. In brief, the secret of Crete is that it was a gigantic mortuary. Admittedly iconoclastic, Wunderlich's analysis is completely sound and his ideas are distinguished. The book would have been a gem if he had only stuck to this theme, but unfortunately an overly large portion is devoted to historical diversions (such as methods of mummification) which are boring beyond belief, and quasi-philosophical digressions. It's a shame that such an excellent re-thinking of this famous site, logically consistent from all points of view, should be so amateurishly presented. Strongly recommended though for archaeology buffs who know how to skim.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Macmillan