Archaeologists working on the Greek island of Krete have uncovered artifacts and structures that suggest the ancient city of Knossos was bigger and richer than previously thought, thus reports UPI.

Knossos is thought to be Europe's oldest city. It was an epicenter of Aegean and Mediterranean trade and culture, but historians thought that after a solid 600-year run of prominence during the Hellenic Bronze Age, the city suffered a decline in the wake of a socio-political collapse around 1200 BC.

The site was discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalokairinos (Μίνως Καλοκαιρινός). The excavations in Knossos began in AD 1900 by the English archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941) and his team, and they continued for 35 years. The palace was excavated and partially restored under the direction of Arthur Evans in the earliest years of the 20th century. Its size far exceeded his original expectations, as did the discovery of two ancient scripts, which he termed Linear A and Linear B, to distinguish their writing from the pictographs also present. From the layering of the palace Evans developed de novo an archaeological concept of the civilization that used it, which he called Minoan, following the pre-existing custom of labelling all objects from the location Minoan.

The latest excavations suggest that Knossos had economic and political successes well into the Iron Age. Most of the new artifacts--bronze and other metals, jewelry, pottery and all sorts of status symbols--were recovered from burial sites. The archaeological haul reveals a city that was rich with trade well after the collapse of the Aegean palaces. Lead excavator Antonis Kotsonas, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Cincinnati, said in a press release:
"No other site in the Aegean period has such a range of imports. Even at this early stage in detailed analysis, it appears that this was a nucleated, rather densely occupied settlement extending over the core of the Knossos valley, from at least the east slopes of the acropolis hill on the west to the Kairatos River, and from the Vlychia stream on the south until roughly midway between the Minoan palace and the Kephala hill."
The Knossos Urban Landscape Project over the past decade has recovered a large collection of ceramics and artifacts dating back to the Iron Age. The relics were spread over an extensive area that was previously unexplored. Kotsonas says that this exploration revealed considerable growth in the size of the settlement during the early Iron Age and also growth in the quantity and quality of its imports coming from mainland Greece, Cyprus, the Near East, Egypt, Italy, Sardinia and the western Mediterranean.