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Arthur Evans
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Arthur Evans

For Arthur Evans, the recipient of the Victoria Cross, see Arthur Evans (VC)

Sir Arthur John Evans (July 8, 1851 - July 11, 1941), brought into the light of day the civilization he dubbed "Minoan," which had been a dim mythic memory. He was the son of Sir John Evans, a paper manufacturer and amateur archaeologist of Welsh descent. Educated at Harrow and Brasenose College, University of Oxford and the University of Göttingen; and having inherited his father's interest in archaeology, Arthur was curator of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 1884 - 1908.

His special interest was the Greek island of Crete, and he was largely responsible for the excavations of the palace-city of Knossos, chief center of the Minoan civilization, which uncovered the site that is open to visitors today. Not only did he discover these remains and publish them in four volumes The Palace of Minos at Knossos (1921 - 1935), a classic of archaeology, but he substantially restored and partially reconstructed them, using some foreign materials like concrete that are offensive to purists but help the average visitor "read" the site. Thus, though the results may be disturbing to modern scholars, his motives were of the best. It should be remembered that while Evans was working at Knossos in the period between 1899 and 1935, many of his contemporaries were interested only in removing items of interest from the sites they uncovered.

Though deciphering and translating the scripts found on the site always eluded him, he recognized that they were in two scripts, which he dubbed "Linear A'" and "Linear B."

Evans was knighted in 1911 for his services to archaeology, and is commemorated both at Knossos and at the Ashmolean Museum. The excavation at the site of Knossos (which he purchased in order to preserve it), has been continued to the present day by the British School of Archaeology, Athens.