The Palace of Knossos (Heraklion, Crete) was (re)discovered by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900 and for 25 years it was dug, restored, and of course reconstructed. The fact that it has been over-reconstructed is very clear 1,2 but I’ll not speak about that, but rather about something I have not seen written about the Palace of Knossos. There are many stones in the palace that are actually alabaster ( gypsum with fine-grained & compact), alabaster that can be found in the quarry of Sitia (Crete) that’s still in business (and less than 100 km from Knossos).
Knossos Alabaster corroded
Block of alabaster very corroded A vessel of alabaster corroded
Limestone (marble) corrode on the edge
Limestone corroded and sinuous (or anastomosis) and the cemented to preserve the block (probably by supervision of Sir Arthur Evans)
The Minoan civilization flourished between 2600 BC and 1600 BC 3 when the volcanic eruption of the island of Santorini (Thera) – just 100 km north of Crete – changed everything and as a result the Minoan civilization virtually vanished (~ 1100 BC). From Thera’s eruption, the ensuing tsunami reached Crete in 20 minutes and the waves were at least 15 m tall. In fact, there were several tsunami waves one after the other. Then there followed earthquakes (probably simultaneously and later on as well), so that the palace was clearly damaged. Unfortunately at that time (1600 BC) the Minoan language was the Linear A (Crete hieroglyphic) which is still undeciphered, so we cannot know with certainty if there was an earthquake at that time (and/or later).
Going back to the alabaster stones, I’ve noticed that virtually every stone has damage – some more, some just on the edges. I believe that this happened because of the acid rain falling immediately after the eruption of Thera, which could’ve been as low as pH 2! Only alabaster and some of the limestone (marble) were affected because the acid rain was falling probably for a brief time only.
It is almost that the 2 vessel was in the acid rain during the Santorini eruption and that’s why the were corroded.
You can see how the acid rain started by having a sort of mini-pool and then started to flow towards the floor. It is possible that the acid rain was for several days.
As for the reconstruction (by Evans) of the Palace of Knossos, well, some was accurate, some not, but it is clear which were the stones that were outside and that were carved by this acid rain.
This cataclysmic event also meant that many plants of the island of Crete were affected and people were starving. About 80 minutes after Thera erupted, the waves would’ve reached Egypt and the tsunami would’ve been for sure more than 2 meters so that at least some ships were affected. It is interesting that at that date & time in Egypt there were 2 dynasties which were not from Egypt, namely Hyksos 4. More over, it is quite possible that the Hyksos and the Minoan civilization were related. It is also written at about the same time, that Joseph become the Vizier 5 : “during the seven years of abundance, Joseph ensured that the storehouses were full and that all produce was weighed”. When the Thera erupted, there was famine around the mediterranean sea for 7 years (Genesis: 41) but not in Egypt, because Joseph foresaw the future.
Such a big event in the Mediterranean Sea like the one of the eruption of Thera, biggest in ancient times 6, clearly affected all the civilizations around.
(All photos are mine.)