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The Cretan Labyrinth has fascinated scholars and the wider public since antiquity. Traditionally, it has been regarded as a monument that did once exist, and it has been widely identified with the Minoan palace of Knossos. I argue that this approach has underestimated the variety and complexity of references to the Cretan Labyrinth and its capacity for metamorphosis from abstract memory to tangible monument and for relocation from one Cretan site to another. Drawing from literature on memory and monuments, and especially from the work of Maurice Halbwachs, I explore the poetics and politics, the materialities and temporalities that shaped different regimes of truth regarding the location and the form of the Cretan Labyrinth across several millennia. This diachronic analysis reveals the shifting and competing, indeed labyrinthine, narratives about this monument and produces a cultural history of it extending from prehistory to the present.

A Cultural History of the Cretan Labyrinth: Monument and Memory from Prehistory to the Present​

By Antonis Kotsonas

American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 122, No. 3 (July 2018), pp. 367–396

DOI: 10.3764/aja.122.3.0367

© 2018 Archaeological Institute of America