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About Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality

10 February 2023 to 30 July 2023

35 Beaumont Street
Oxford, OX1 2PH
01865 278000
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Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality

About Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality

According to legend, an elaborate labyrinth was built at Knossos on the island of Crete to hold a ferocious Minotaur. Discover the palace of Knossos, and the search for the labyrinth, in this major exhibition in Oxford.

The palace of Knossos, discovered and excavated over 100 years ago, was the centre of a Bronze Age civilisation of people we now call the Minoans, named after the legendary King Minos. 

This will be the first UK exhibition to focus on Knossos and will include over 100 objects that have never left Crete and Greece before, alongside discoveries from the Ashmolean’s Sir Arthur Evans Archive.

Archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans led excavations at Knossos in the early 20th century and would later re-imagine and partially restore the palace. 

His archive at the Ashmolean has been central to understanding the site of Knossos, and many of his excavation plans, artworks and records will be on display alongside objects from the site.


Priority tickets for members and patrons

Entry to the exhibition is free for members, but the Ashmolean advises pre-booking a timed slot, especially at busier periods, to guarantee entry. You will need your 13- or 14- digit membership Number to book.

Not a member?

Members enjoy priority booking, unlimited exhibition entry, exclusive members-only preview days, plus members-only events, a members’ magazine posted to you twice a year, and shop, café and restaurant discounts.

General admission tickets

General admission tickets are not yet available.

Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford.
Ladies in Blue Fresco

Member preview day

Join the Ashmolean for an exclusive members-only preview of the exhibition from 10.00am to 5.00pm on Thursday, 09 February 

Only Ashmolean members can join the exclusive, members-only preview of the upcoming Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality exhibition the day before it opens to the public.

It is anticipated that the Preview Day will be very busy, so if you wish to secure entry at a particular time slot without waiting, we advise pre-booking your free tickets, but it is not mandatory.

Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford.
Bull-Leaping Fresco

Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality Curator’s Talk

With Dr Andrew Shapland, Sir Arthur Evans Curator of Bronze Age and Classical Greece at the Ashmolean

Labyrinth: Knossos, Myth & Reality is the first major exhibition in the UK about Knossos. This archaeological site was famous in myth as the place where the Minotaur was imprisoned in a labyrinth and in history as the centre of the Bronze Age Minoan civilisation, the home of the earliest farmers in Europe and a thriving Greek and Roman city.

Dr Shapland’s introductory talk will follow the thread of this exciting interactive exhibition, tracing the history of exploration of Knossos, from the early travellers searching for the mythical Labyrinth to more recent discoveries, which include evidence for human sacrifice.

Dr Shapland will especially explore the excavations of Sir Arthur Evans, whose archive at the Ashmolean is the single most important resource for understanding the site of Knossos.

The talk will take place onsite at The Taylorian, St Giles, and online via Zoom from 5.00pm to 6.00pm on Wednesday, 22 February.

Tickets are £8.00 and will be available soon.

Booking is required.