Don’t Eat That! (Ecology)

Physical Environment of Knossos Area

Knossos is a settlement on the island of Crete, which is located in the Mediterranean Sea just off the tip of Greece. It is the largest island of Greece and is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean sea. Crete experiences a Mediterranean climate, meaning that most of the year is warm and humid and the winters are mild. The temperature range is typically around 53 degrees Fahrenheit in January and 78 degrees Fahrenheit in July. SO its pretty much just the perfect place to live. The area around Knossos is lowland made up of small river valleys. The site of Knossos is located in the Kairatos Valley and the river runs east of the Palace of Minos while it tributary, the Vlkhhia, runs south of the site. This area is very well watered compared to the rest of Crete. Local springs and a high water table (which allowed for the sinking of wells) meant that water was accessible all year round, even during the dry season. The annual precipitation of this area was 477 mm per year, and 78% precipitation occurred in October. As well as having easy access to water, timber was also readily available. The vegetation of this area would have included spruce, juniper, pistachio, olive, hedge like plant, and vines. Most of the are around Knossos was poor for agriculture, due to steep slopes and thin soil. However, while these slopes were bad for agriculture they were a rich source of limestone which the Minoans used to build their palace of Knossos.   

The Island of Crete

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Ariel view of the palace of Knossos

Ecology and Diet

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Fresco depicting dolphins and fish

Knossos is located close to the sea and the people here depended on the sea for a large part of their diets. Squid, cuttlefish, and octopuses, along with other fish and marine creatures, made up most of the proteins eaten in this settlement. The soil in this area is non-alluvial arable land, which is good for growing olives and other vine plants like grapes, but not suited for other kinds of large scale agriculture. However, a pollen analysis of the area suggests that wild olives were not introduced to this area before 6000 BCE. Wild pistachio trees could also be utilized for their protein rich nuts. As well as relying on the sea for protein, the people at Knossos also ate the meat from domesticated sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle as well as meat from wild birds and rabbits.



Click Here To Go Back To: Knossos: A Love Story.