Heritage tourism on Crete: Spinalonga

Spinalonga © David Gill

The Venetian fortress of Spinalonga is located on an island in the northern part of Mirabéllo Bay, Crete. It was built in 1579 and was taken over by the Ottomans in 1715.

Spinalonga © David Gill

In 1903 it became a colony for those with leprosy; the colony closed in 1955.

Visitor numbers to Spinalonga. Data: Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

The fortress attracts over 400,000 visitors a year, and since 2014 has been on the UNESCO tentative list for World Heritage status.

Tourism and the Minoan Palatial Centres

Kato Zakro © David Gill

In 2014 the Minoan Palatial Centres of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, Zakros, and Kydonia were placed on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The description outlines their importance:

“The palatial centres played a vital part in the evolution, development and propagation of Minoan civilisation and marked the social transformation from the proto-urban communities of the Early Bronze Age to a multifaceted and hierarchical society. The political, social, economic and religious reorganisation, the transformation of private life, and the unprecedented cultural development that emerged from the gradual centralisation of power and the accumulation of wealth, were focussed on the palatial centres, each of which covered a large populated area of Crete.

The Minoan palatial centres stand out for their unique monumental architecture, with its complex internal organisation, which passed into ancient Greek memory as the “Labyrinth”. They constituted the administrative, economic and religious centres of a wider geographical area and housed multiple activities. They not only contained the residences of the rulers and the priesthood, but were home to a multitude of people: artisans (metalworkers, potters, weavers, etc.), merchants, scribes. Various events and contests were held around the palaces.”

Figures from Hellenic Statistical Service. Chart © David Gill

By 2019 four of the palaces accounted for 1.1 million visits, with over 930,00 at Knossos itself. The Bronze Age sites of Mycenae and Tiryns in the Peloponnese account for just over 500,000 visitors (2019); they form part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kato Zakro, the most remote of the four main palace centres, receives around 10,000 visitors a year. Mallia, next to a major resort, receives around 80,000 visitors a year, and Phaistos around 120,000.

Alan Sorrell: creating visions of the past

Sorrell_RB_cov
2018

How do you interpret archaeological sites to make them understood by the public? This book looks at the influential work of Alan Sorrell: the subtitle, ‘The man who created Roman Britain’, perhaps indicates the impact of his work.

Roman Britain features prominently: Hadrian’s Wall (fig. 99; Cover), the Carrawburgh mithraeum (fig. 102a–b), Housesteads fort (fig. 110), Caerleon legionary fortress (figs. 1), 80, the forum at Leicester (fig. 25), London (figs. 87, 104a–c, 106), Caerwent (figs. 28, 84a–b, 86a–b), Wroxeter (fig. 118), Bath (fig. 119a–b), Llantwit Major villa (fig. 85), and Lullingstone villa (fig. 98c). Medieval structures in state guardianship appear: Harlech and Conwy Castles (fig. 54a–b), the Bishop’s Palace at St Davids (fig. 69), Tintern Abbey (fig. 65a) and Jedbergh Abbey (fig. 65b).

Looking to Greece there are reconstructions of the Palace of Nestor at Pylos (figs. 17, 105), excavated by Carl Blegen, and the Palace at Knossos on Crete (fig. 41a).

The section on his work for the National Museum of Wales was particularly helpful. The reconstruction of Maen Madoc in the Brecon Beacons was instructive (fig. 89). Sorrell’s work with William Francis Grimes was given prominence.

The commissioning of reconstructions for sites in state guardianship is presented in some detail. We are presented with the views of P.K. Baillie Reynolds, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments: ‘They should have a good public appeal’. Yet at the same time Baillie Reynolds opposed the use of such reconstructions. This was in contrast with A.J. Taylor: ‘I should, personally, very much like to see in due course Sorrell drawings of all our North Wales Edwardian castles’. The use of Sorrell reconstructions in the Ministry’s ‘Blue Guides’ is itself constructive.

Sorrell, Julia, and Mark Sorrell. 2018. Alan Sorrell: the man who created Roman Britain. Oxford: Oxbow.

Barton-upon-Humber and David G. Hogarth

David G. Hogarth
Barton-upon Humber © David Gill

The church of St Peter’s at Barton-upon-Humber is celebrated for its Anglo-Saxon tower. The archaeologist David G. Hogarth (1862-1927) was born in the adjacent vicarage; his father the Reverend George Hogarth was vicar of the parish (1858-89).

IMG_9402
St Peter’s Church, Barton-upon-Humber © David Gill

Hogarth was educated at Winchester, and then read classics at Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1887 he was admitted as the first Oxford student at the newly opened British School at Athens where Francis Penrose was the Director. He excavated with Ernest Gardner at Old Paphos on Cyprus.

Hogarth was appointed the fourth Director of the British School at Athens (1897-1900). In 1899 he directed the British excavations at the Greek settlement of Naukratis in the Nile Delta. Hogarth became a director of the Cretan Exploration Fund, excavating near Knossos, then at the Dictaean Cave at Psychro, and at Kato Zakro.

He subsequently excavated on behalf of the British Museum at Ephesus, and in 1908 succeeded Arthur Evans as Director of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. In the years leading up to the First World War he excavated at Carchemish (with T.E. Lawrence). Hogarth then prompted through the Palestine Exploration Fund the archaeological survey of the Sinai peninsula (‘The wilderness of Zin’).

In 1915 Hogarth was invited to join the Arab Bureau in Cairo, holding the rank of Lt-Commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). He provided key intelligence for Allenby’s attack through Gaza and the subsequent capture of Jerusalem. He was later invited to join the peace conference at Versailles.

His post-war research was on the Hittites that took him back to his early travels in eastern Anatolia.

Hogarth died in November 1927 in Oxford.

  • David Gill, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004) [ODNB]
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