MINOAN TECHNOLOGY SYLLABUS BUILDING MATERIALS TECHNIQUES CONSTRUCTION (ASHLAR MASONRY) DRAINAGE WATER SUPPLY BUILDING MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES The Minoans used a combination of construction materials. STONE – used for foundations and lower storeys SUN DRIED BRICKS – used on the upper storeys. This could have allowed some flexibility in the case of earth tremors TIMBER – used for the framework of the upper storeys The stone, clay and timber were all native products to Crete. Stone pillars and wooden columns supported the upper storeys. These columns were tapered at the top, unlike Greek and Roman columns. Light wells allowed light into upper and lower rooms. Most windows were unglazed although a few were fitted with a thin semitransparent alabaster that allowed light into the rooms but could not be seen through. CONSTRUCTION (ASHLAR MASONRY) Ashlar is prepared stonework of any type of stone. The Minoans used ashlar masonry, smooth, square or rectangular cut stones to construct walls or to face existing walls made from rubble or sun dried bricks. This is most evident in the palaces. Most houses were made from sun dried bricks. Floors were covered with gypsum or limestone. GYPSUM Is a naturally occurring mineral that can look like fine white sand. In other places where it is found it is like an opaque crystal. It was used in Crete as a wood substitute. However, it does eventually dissolve over time in water. LIMESTONE A hard rock substance found near the surface. It is used in many building projects around the world. FRESCOES Walls in the palaces were often covered with plaster and painted with frescoes. The frescoes were painted while the plaster was still wet so the images are relatively permanently on the walls. DRAINAGE AND WATER SUPPLY By far one of the most extraordinary elements of Minoan society was their drainage and water supply. The Minoans were the first civilisation to use underground clay pipes for sanitation and water supply – 1500 years before the Romans. The palaces of Crete had a well organised water system for bringing n clean water, taking out waste water and storm sewerage canals for flow off from heavy rain. They also devised elaborate heating systems. At palaces such as Knossos, the Minoans took advantage of the steep lie of the land to transport water to and from the palaces. The water was transported using channels, clay pipes and aqueducts. Stone drainage Found at Agia Triadha Clay sewer pipe from Knossos. Archaeologists have found pipe laid in depths from just below the surface in one area to almost 11 feet deep in others. They constructed a main sewer of masonry, which linked four large stone shafts emanating from the upper stories of the palace. Evidently the shafts acted as ventilators and chutes for household refuse. The shafts and conduit were formed by cement-lined limestone flags, but earthenware or burnt clay pipes were used in the remainder of the system. These were laid out under passages, not under the living rooms. The sewer system consisted of terra cotta pipes, from 4"-6" in diameter. At Knossos we find the earliest known flushing toilet. The toilet was screened off by partitions and was flushed by rain water or by water held in cisterns from conduits built into the wall. There’s also a bath. Although there are no taps to it, it had a plug at the bottom where water was drained through the pipe system. This was found in The Queen’s bathroom At Knossos. Not just palaces but ordinary homes were heated with sophisticated hypocaust systems, where heat was conducted under the floor, the earliest known to exist.