Thursday 30 October 2008

Alexander J. MacGillivray
Palaikastro Excavations, British School at Athens

Making Time for Minos: Evidence for time keeping in Minoan Crete

Most modern Westerners believe that what they see is the only reality and that this evolves in one direction, the so called ‘arrow of time’, which starts with the big bang and expands from there leading ultimately to some end. This is the opposite of ancient Egyptian phenomenology.
The ancient Egyptian experience is largely metaphorical and primarily cyclical; everything repeats itself eternally. The sun is reborn, lives, and dies each 24-hour day, and travels back and forth across the horizon each solar year of 365.25 days. The full Moon is torn apart and re-assembled every 29.5 days in the 354-day lunar year. And, the 360 degree celestial sphere is charted with the decans, the 36 stars that rise at 10 degree intervals on the pre-dawn eastern horizon. These 36 decans define a 360 day year of three four month seasons each with three ten-day weeks.
In this seminar, I explore ancient Egyptian calendars and present the iconic evidence from Crete to suggest that the palatial period Minoans live in a similar cyclical world and use similar calendars, particularly the decans, which are vital for both time keeping and orientation at night.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...