Sir Arthur Evans or Heinrich Schliemann Essay Example


Archeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains. When it comes to the actual practice of archeology, I’d like to talk about two of the most influential/important figures in my eyes. These two men go by the name of Sir Arthur Evans (1851-1941) and Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890). Thanks to these two men, we know about Turkey and the Minoan civilization. Not to mention, both men studied the Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. In this paper, I am going to be telling you about the places that these two men excavated, names of the people who lived on those specific sites with the specific dates, and most importantly, I will be focusing on how both of these men contributed to the development of the field of archeology. 

Before I get into the actual works these men did, I will talk about their background and what led up to them becoming archeologists. Sir Arthur Evans was born in Nash Mills, Hertfordshire, on July 8, 1958. His father, John Evans already had a history with archeology and I can't see why Sir Arthur Evans wouldn’t do the same. Already as a schoolboy Arthur Evans was following in his fathers footsteps with an interest in archeology, becoming Secretary of Harrow School’s Scientific Society, and its meetings exhibiting Roman coins from St Albans and Roman glass bottles from cologne in Germany (Hood 557). On the other hand, Heinrich Schliemann was born on January 6, 1822, in Germany. He started to take on the study of archeology before Sir Arthur Evans but this is clearly due to their big difference in age. Surprisingly, at the age of 36, Schliemann started to take time out to actually study archeology. During this time he traveled all around the world to places like China, Greece, Italy, Germany, etc. 

Now, let's get into what this essay is really about. Sir Arthur Evans was considered the father of the Minoan Civilization. Sir Arthur Evans was considered the principal excavator of Knossos, which is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete. Although Evans is considered the principal excavator of Knossos, there was somebody who came before him and this man goes by the name of Minos Kalokairinos (1843-1907). Kalokairinos was the first to uncover the ruins of Knossos at the end of the 1870s. He was the first to attribute the palace to King Minos. There were a lot of myths that people believed for thousands of years. There were lots of stories about monsters and mythical kings and this drove investigators to look around the Island of Crete in attempts to match landscapes and materials compared to the myths that were told. In 1879, Kalokairinos’ excavations were cut short. He decided to end his efforts in Knossos and this gave new contenders an opportunity. Unfortunately, he ended his operations when he was only meters away from the throne room. This is where Sir Arthur Evans plays his part. This is why I mentioned Evans as being the principal excavator of Knossos. Although Kalokairinos discovered Knossos, it was Evans who actually realized that there was more to it. He realized there were different and older people in Knossos. At Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans discovered lots of tablets with inscriptions that he called linear A and linear B. Linear B is an adapted form of linear A and it was borrowed from the Minoans by Myceneans at around 1600 BC (Before Christ). As you may already know, the types of people that lived here were the Minoans. The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age Aegean civilization on the island of Crete.  This civilization represents the first advanced civilization in Europe and one of the earliest kinds of civilizations also. Sir Arthur Evans created this name “Minoan” from the Mythical King Minos. 

During the Early Minoan Period, you don’t notice any monumental architecture but you do see the use of stone tombs. Monumental architecture begins during the Old Palace Period. Its first monument being at Phaistos and as I mentioned above, this is where you see the first hieroglyphic writing system, Linear A. Now, well talk about Heinrich Schliemann, the man who excavated Troy, home of the Mycenaeans. Myceneans are the first Greeks and their civilization was at its peak between 1650 and 1200 BC. This excavation took place in 1870. Just like Evans, Schliemann also wanted to excavate Troy in order to uncover the material behind certain myths. Fascinated with Homer’s saga of the Trojan War, Schliemann wanted to get deeper into that conversation and find out for himself. Just as Evans was considered the principal excavator at Knossos, Heinrich Schliemann was considered the principal excavator at Mycenae. Schliemann was an interesting human being. Although he became popular and very much a household name, he was a very controversial figure. Schliemann had problematic excavation techniques and a disregard for stratigraphy. This eventually led him to destroy the contexts that he wanted to study the most. 

In conclusion, both Heinrich Schliemann and Sir Arthur Evans were influential and important figures when talking about Archaeology. These men discovered places that we clearly still talk about today. Archaeology helps us to not only understand, but it helps us travel back into time to recover good information about human settlements that existed centuries ago ( It makes us think about the people that lived there and how they are different from us today. These men have contributed a lot and would always remain two of the most important figures in history.

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