The Old Palace Period
The Old Palace was established around 2000 BC and its establishment was a significant historical, political, economic and social event, since the natural development of the financial and cultural flowering was proceded. The palaces became centres of everyday life activities of the town, but also of the “state” which was developed in the wider region. The knossian state was spread to the northern and central Crete. From the old palace a few elements had been survived, because on its position the new palace was built. Its size and town-planning, with the two large paved courts – the west and the central ones – perhaps were the same with the new palace. The magazines were in the west wing, while in the northeastern section were the workshops and the royal magazines, from which the giant pithoi were survived. The shrines were in the west wing, where the shrines of the new palace were too. On the east and south of the palace there were retaining walls, and on the west there was a perivolos and a retaining wall. In the west court there were built circular storage rooms (“kouloures”). During this period the royal road and the courts were paved, and perhaps a viaduct was constructed from the palace, since the strong retaining walls to the eastern bank of Kairatos river were recently collapsed. From the town of old palace period a few things are known. Its boundaries reached to the south up to Gypsades, north up to Ellenika and west up to the slope of Monasteriaka. The cemeteries with the rock-cut tombs with many burials into pithoi were placed on Aï Lias (at Mavro Spelio), Gypsades and the slope of “acropolis”. Despite the lack of elements, Knossos of old palace period was already the largest town of Crete. It was connected with Archanes, Malia and Phaistos, but also with centres of the Aegean, Anatolia and Egypt.
The old palace was completely destroyed in 1750/1700 BC. The problem of destructions of the palaces and other buildings and its causes is complicated and difficult to be definitely answered. The disasters are given to natural causes, mainly to earthquakes and fires. The ignescent materials (wood) were used for the building construction could easily have got a fire and indeed in some kind of disturbance, such as an earthquake.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis