We learn how Crete was the bread-basket of civilisation in the Aegean – an international marketplace, exporting foodstuffs like olives and olive oil, ﬁgs and saffron, while importing other goods in return.
We revisit Phaestos and the surrounding ruins of Minoan civilisation, not least the Kamares and Archalochri caves, gaining an insight into their sophisticated lifestyles through a study of their art and ceramics.
The Kamares designs are dramatic, a modern-looking black and red, and the pottery was ﬁrst excavated here in the early 1900s. The ceramics were highly prized across the entire Mediterranean, and judging by the ﬁnds in Egyptian tombs and elsewhere across the region, the Minoan skill in art seems to have given the Minoans of ancient Crete a free pass to the glamour, science and civilisation of the two most advanced cultures of the early Bronze Age: Mesopotamia and Egypt.
History of Crete: http://www.explorecrete.com/history/crete-history.html
J. Boardman, F.B.A.: The Olive in the Mediterranean: its culture and use: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2418221