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The Minoans were a civilization in Crete in the Aegean Sea. Ceramic items created during the Neolithic period in Crete date to 7000 BC and the height of the Minoan culture flourished from approximately 2700 to 1450 BC when their culture was superseded by the Mycenaean culture. The Minoans were one of the civilizations that flourished in and around the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age of Greece. These civilizations had much contact with each other, sometimes making it difficult to judge the extent to which the Minoans influenced, or were influenced by, their neighbors. Based on depictions in Minoan art, Minoan culture is often characterized as a matrilineal society centered on goddess worship.
Minoan Palaces, such as the one at Knossos, were technologically advanced: expanded drainage systems, irrigation, aqueducts, and deep wells that provided fresh water to the inhabitants. The palaces were multi-storied and contained interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive columns, storage magazines, and courtyards.
The term "Minoan" was coined by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans after the mythic "king" Minos associated with the labyrinth, which Evans identified as the site at Knossos. It is not known whether "Minos" was a personal name or a title. What the Minoans called themselves is unknown, although the Egyptian place name "Keftiu" (*kaftaw) and the Semitic "Kaftor" or "Caphtor" and "Kaptara" in the Mari archives apparently refers to the island of Crete.
Much later, the Odyssey calls the non-Greek speaking natives of Crete Eteocretans meaning, 'true Cretans'.
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