We would like to thank Dr. Dempsey for sharing his theory on the existence of a Minoan calendar with us. We have asked various people with a good knowledge of Crete and the Minoan civilisation to review the article before publishing it in the Crete Gazette.
Read their collected comments in the text below.
Comments on the Minoan Calendar
Much ink has been spilled worldwide over the enigmatic Minoan Civilisation, concerning such a distant period, the prehistoric Bronze Age. We are talking about 4,000 years ago, and the sources at the disposal of scientists are very limited.
The main source of information is excavation finds, followed by written sources. The finds of the Minoan Civilisation are not enough to give us a full picture; there are many gaps. On the other hand, written sources referring to the Minoans are very few and much later in date. Of course, the Minoans used writing themselves, but what has been deciphered to date is what we would now call logistical in content.
Thus the Minoan Civilisation is mixed up with myth, and the work of archaeologist becomes particularly difficult, as they are called upon to decipher the fragmentary data available, essentially on the basis of hypothesis. The greatest difficulty and danger in the attempt to solve the riddle of a “mysterious” civilisation is that scientists are also people who think and work in the context of their own time. We cannot know how far people’s way of thinking has changed in the past few thousand years; we can only imagine it.
As regards Dr Dempsey’s interesting study, proposing the theory of the existence of a Minoan calendar framing the famous Bull-Leaping Fresco, this is a theory which has not yet been embraced by the international scientific community.
It is considered a given that the Minoan world, which was engaged in agriculture, whose economic prosperity was based on trade, and which had a large fleet that covered great distances, cannot but have had some form of calendar.
It is, however, somewhat arbitrary to maintain that this exists on a wall painting only preserved in a fragmentary state.
Furthermore, the numbers used in myths are often symbolic, while local variations of the same myth concerning time may give us different numbers. Also, we must not forget that as Linear A has not been deciphered officially, it cannot be used as proof of any theory.
Finally, our knowledge of Minoan religion is limited to such a basic level that we cannot know, but only surmise, what the main festivals or holidays of the Minoans were.
The theory of the Minoan Calendar is not convincing enough, so it is unlikely it will find supporters. It is still, however, a particularly interesting view and may also form an incentive for further study of an unknown aspect of the Minoan civilisation.