Sir Arthur Evans Analysis

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Sir Arthur Evans Essay
How has Sir Arthur Evans contributed to our understanding of the past?
The work of Sir Arthur Evans in exploring Ancient Minoan civilisation on the island of Crete has significantly contributed to our understanding of the past. In examining Evans work, three observations should be made about his archaeological examinations. Through his detailed records and publication, his methods of dating and classifying of finds we are able to grasp a large understanding of ancient Minoan civilisation. However, Evans work on the interpretation and reconstruction of the palace of Knossos is often seen as a controversial and has created a divide in the archaeological community. Sir Arthur Evans work overall has provided us with a major
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Evans believed that it was his duty as an archaeologist to preserve everything in which he found. However, the lengths he went to achieve this goal have been criticised in the archaeological community. Evans main concern about the site of Knossos was its ability to withstand the elements and its present ability to future tourists. He employed a range of contemporary building materials that strongly went against the integrity of the original site and Minoan ancient architecture. Evans heavily used reinforced concrete in the reconstruction of the site. Piet de Jong who was Evans right-hand man in the reconstruction of Knossos describes one of Evans reconstructions: "In a decayed wall, we would often find evidence of original stone grooves into which the original timber framework was fitted. When we rebuilt the wall we replaced rotted wood with concrete and painted it a pale buff to indicate wood. The rest of the wall we rebuilt as far as possible with the original stone blocks." Although, this was not Evans most controversial and unethical point of reconstruction. Evans employed many artists to restore the fragments of frescoes he found at Knossos. Evans employed a father and son duo of Swiss art nouveau artists both called Emile Gilliéron. They were given incredible freedom in reconstructing the frescoes, based on the number of tiny fragments. Archaeologist Cathy Gere believes the results of the frescoes are "10% wall plaster and 90% Gillieron's imagination, — based on Evans' ideas". Archaeologists and members of the general public often remark on the similarity between Cretan painting and art nouveau, but this is because Gilliéron was an art nouveau artist. Author and ancient history enthusiast Evelyn Waugh remarked that Gilliéron had ‘tempered their zeal for accurate reconstruction with a somewhat inappropriate predilection for covers of

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