CONSTRUCTION (ASHLAR MASONRY)
BUILDING MATERIALS AND
Minoans used a combination of
STONE – used for foundations and lower
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
stone, clay and timber were all native
products to Crete.
pillars and wooden columns
supported the upper storeys.
These columns were tapered at the top,
unlike Greek and Roman columns.
wells allowed light into upper and
windows were unglazed although a
few were fitted with a thin semitransparent alabaster that allowed light
into the rooms but could not be seen
is prepared stonework of any type
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
were covered with gypsum or
a naturally occurring mineral that can
look like fine white sand.
In other places where it is found it is like an
It was used in Crete as a wood substitute.
However, it does eventually dissolve over
time in water.
hard rock substance found near the
It is used in many building projects around
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
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
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
They also devised elaborate heating
palaces such as Knossos, the Minoans
took advantage of the steep lie of the
land to transport water to and from the
The water was transported using
channels, clay pipes and aqueducts.
Found at Agia Triadha
sewer pipe from
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
sewer system consisted of terra cotta
pipes, from 4"-6" in diameter.
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.
also a bath. Although there are no
taps to it, it had a plug at the bottom
where water was drained through the
This was found in
just palaces but ordinary homes were
heated with sophisticated hypocaust
systems, where heat was conducted
under the floor, the earliest known to exist.