The palaces were buildings of a religious, economic, and administrative nature. The products stored in them did not belong to the king alone, but also to the deity, and in times of hardship they were intended to serve the needs of the community.
Seals, sealings, and inscribed clay tablets attest to the bureaucratic control of production. The various goods destined for domestic consumption or foreign export were produced in the palace workshops.
Trade with Egypt, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria and Palestine was also controlled by the palaces. The tombs of Abydos and the pyramids of Egypt have yielded groups of Kamares pottery. Cretan ships carried timber from Phoenicia to Egypt. The famous Keftiu of the Egyptian texts were Cretans. The Minoans enjoyed relations with Cyprus, to which they exported terracotta vases and bronze daggers. The rulers maintained peaceful, friendly relations with the civilised lands around them, to which they sent gifts. Trading posts were founded on Kythera, Milos, Thera, Kea, Aegina, and elsewhere.
The Minoan navy began to dominate the Aegean and the east Mediterranean, and may have incorporated part of the Cycladic merchant fleet. The form of their ships is known from clay models, and above all from depictions of them on sealstones. They had a high prow, sometimes forked, a low stern, frequently with a horizontal ram, and were propelled by sails or oars. The rudders, bridges and cabins can be made out in pictorial representations. The ships were designed to hug the coastline or put out to the open sea, and may have been equipped with the means of defence.
Dr Andonis Vasilakis