Harold Sterling Gladwin: The Minoan Maze

Navigating the Minoan Maze leads to a greater understanding of the Grand Canyon, Casa Grande, and the Great Splice.

Archaeologists have documented a multitude of “meandering” mazes.

Click to access Caerdroia%2038%20HR.pdf


According to a short review in Folk Lore in 1913, a book entitled “Some Zulu Customs and Folk Lore,” by L. H. Samuelson (“Nomleti”), 1912, contained a description of mazes made on the ground by Zulus. Unfortunately this book is out of print, and no copy, strange to say, is to be found in the library of either the British Museum or the Folk Lore Society.

Mazes and Labyrinths – William Henry Matthews – 1922


The symmetrical seven-course “Classical” labyrinth from Knossos [aka Minoan Maze] is probably the best know “meandering” maze design.

The Knossian coins shown in Figs. 20 to 31 are from the British Museum collection and are reproduced by the courtesy of the Keeper of the Coins and Medals Department, who supplied the writer with plaster casts for the purpose.

They date, of course, from times greatly posterior to those of the Minoan civilisation, from times when the culture of Greece had long replaced that of the Mycenaeans, or whatever similar race it was that succeeded the Minoans.


In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate, confusing structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos.

Although early Cretan coins occasionally exhibit branching (multicursal) patterns, the single-path (unicursal) seven-course “Classical” design without branching or dead ends became associated with the Labyrinth on coins as early as 430 BC, and similar non-branching patterns became widely used as visual representations of the Labyrinth – even though both logic and literary descriptions make it clear that the Minotaur was trapped in a complex branching maze.


Archaeologists make the obligatory noises regarding Roman labyrinths.


Even as the designs became more elaborate, visual depictions of the mythological Labyrinth from Roman times until the Renaissance are almost invariably unicursal. Branching mazes were reintroduced only when hedge mazes became popular during the Renaissance.


Several Roman pavements embodying labyrinthine devices, and in some cases commemorating the victory of Theseus over the Minotaur, or other exploits of the hero, have come to light from time to time, not only on the continent of Europe but also in England ; they are usually executed in opus alexandrinum.

Fig. 33 shows in outline a beautiful specimen, 18 ft. long and 15 ft. broad, discovered at Salzburg, in Austria. It bears the device of a labyrinth, with, at the centre, a representation of Theseus about to give the fatal blow to the Minotaur.

Mazes and Labyrinths – William Henry Matthews – 1922

It’s questionable whether Roman labyrinthine mosaics are related to Rome.

For example:

There are reasons to believe the “destroyed by looters” labyrinthine mosaic in Hadrumetum had nothing whatsoever to do with Rome.

A splendid mosaic labyrinth of Roman times was found some forty or fifty years ago on a family tomb in the ancient necropolis of Susa, Tunis ( Hadrumetum ).

It was afterwards destroyed by looters, but a careful drawing of it was fortunately made on its first discovery.

The whole mosaic measured about seventeen feet by ten, and contained a very finely executed labyrinth of four paths, like the Harpham and Caerleon examples mentioned above, the central space being occupied by the Minotaur, who is shown in an attitude of defeat.

Sailing towards the labyrinth was a boat containing figures which presumably represented Theseus and his companions.

The design was accompanied by the words “HIC INCLUSUS VITAM PERDIT”.

Mazes and Labyrinths – William Henry Matthews – 1922

The Carthaginian treaty with the Etruscans was the bedrock upon which the Carthaginians built their “Hellenistic-inspired empire” that used Late Latin as it’s “lingua franca”.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/09/28/the-classical-latin-continuity-kludge/

Firstly, Hadrumetum was originally a Phoenician colony.

Hadrumetum, also known by many variant spellings and names, was a Phoenician colony that pre-dated Carthage.

It subsequently became one of the most important cities in Roman Africa before Vandal, Byzantine, and Umayyad conquerors left it ruined.

In the early modern period, it was the village of Hammeim, now part of Sousse, Tunisia.


The Hadrumetum mosaic is more likely to be associated with the Sultanate of Rum than Rome.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/08/24/conformist-crusades/

Secondly, the Hadrumetum mosaic included a Phoenician ship.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/old-iberians-in-oklahoma/

Thirdly, Rome wasn’t the centre of the Latin universe.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/e-for-epigraphy/

The “K” in Knossos suggests it was originally a Phoenician colony that subsequently minted Carthaginian style coins with Greek lettering and the seven-course “Classical” labyrinth.



Unlike their Phoenician ancestors, the Carthaginians had a landowning aristocracy, which established a rule of the hinterland in Northwestern Africa and trans-Saharan trade routes. In later times, one of the clans established a Hellenistic-inspired empire in Mediterranean Iberia and possibly had a foothold in western Gaul.


See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/latin-languages-purged-punic/

Tanit was a Punic and Phoenician goddess, the chief deity of Ancient Carthage alongside her consort Baal-Hamon.

She was equivalent to the war goddess Astarte, and later worshipped in Roman Carthage in her Romanized form as Dea Caelestis, Juno Caelestis, or simply Caelestis.


See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/bordeaux-bilge/

It’s debatable whether the Knossos coin depicts Punic Tanit or Greek Hera.

Knossos appears to be another example of the Great Splice where Carthaginians and their artefacts have been culturally appropriated by the Roman narrative.

The identification of Knossos with the Bronze Age site is supported by the Roman coins that were scattered over the fields surrounding the pre-excavation site, then a large mound named Kephala Hill, elevation 85 m (279 ft) from current sea level. Many of them were inscribed with Knosion or Knos on the obverse and an image of a Minotaur or Labyrinth on the reverse.

The coins came from the Roman settlement of Colonia Julia Nobilis Cnossus, a Roman colony placed just to the north of, and politically including, Kephala.

The Romans believed they were the first to colonize Knossos.


Caesar was very “un-Roman”.
Caesar started striking golden coins “more often”.
Caesar was so “un-Roman” even his coins looked positively Carthaginian.

In Gaul his military mint produced coins that looked distinctly Carthaginian. In Italy his military mint produced coins that looked absolutely, positively Carthaginian.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/09/28/the-great-splice/

Either way:

It’s no surprise to find Minoan Maze markings in the Old World.


And it’s no surprise to find “meandering” mazes in the New World.

The Hemet Maze Stone is a prehistoric petroglyph.


But it is a surprise to find Minoan Maze markings in the New World.

The reader may perhaps wonder whether any traces of the labyrinths have been found in other continents, and, if so, whether any connexion can be established between them and the labyrinth cult in Europe.

An interesting discovery in this reference was made some years ago in the shape of a figure of the Cretan Labyrinth, of circular type, roughly engraved amid other pictographs on the wall of the ruined Casa Grande , an old Indian erection in Pinal County, Arizona, U.S.A.

An exactly similar figure, with the addition of some unknown symbol opposite its “entrance”, was also found in a manuscript entided “Rudo Ensayo” (Rough Essay), written by a Spaniard who visited the country — the home of the Pima Indians — in 1761 or 1762.

According to this manuscript the diagram was scratched in the sand by an Indian and represented the plan of a building.

Dr. J. W. Fewkes, the Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, who investigated the matter about fifteen years ago, states that an old Indian living in the neighbourhood was asked whether he knew of any building, or remains of one, built on such a plan.

He replied in the negative, but said the figure was commonly employed in a children’s game called Tcuhiki , i.e. the House of Tcuhu. (Tcuhu is a mythical hero, probably identical with Gopher, who is supposed to have made the spiral hole through which the Pima Indians came up from the underworld.)

A writer on this tribe of Indians has described another game played by them which seems to have much in common with that mentioned above.

It is called Tculikwikut, and is played with rings and darts, count being kept by means of little stones which are moved along a series of small holes arranged in the sand in the form of a whorl, starting from a centre called Tcunni Ki, “the Council House.”

If it could be shown that these games were associated with the labyrinth figure in those regions before the date of the Spanish invasion of Mexico we should be forced to conclude either that, by an extraordinary coincidence, the figure became evolved independently in the Old World and the New, or that in both it had a common origin of astounding antiquity.

However, there is a probability that it was introduced to the Indians by the early Spaniards, with whom it would have been a familiar symbol.

Mazes and Labyrinths – William Henry Matthews – 1922

A Fictitious Ruin in Gila Valley, Arizona – J Walter Fewkes
American Anthropologist – New Series – Vol 9 – 1907


Barry Fell suggested “voyagers” brought the Minoan Maze to the Americas.

Knowledge of the ancient labyrinth of Knossos, Crete, was brought to the Americas by voyagers who carved these Arizona examples (2) and (4), drawn from photographs made by the late William Coxon. Matching examples from the Old World are given on the left, (1) an ancient coin from Knossos, and (3) an engraving from India.

America B.C. – Barry Fell – 1989 Edition
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0934666555
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0934666555

One which has always had a particular fascination for us is the maze that once was carved on one of the walls of Casa Grande, in Arizona, and which is identical with the Minoan labyrinth shown on coins from Knossos, in Crete, at a date of 200 b.c.

Men Out Of Asia – Harold Sterling Gladwin – 1947

The reservation now known as Casa Grande National Monument was first segregated from the public domain and reserved by executive order on June 22, 1892.

At about the same height above the floor as the spiral but on the north wall near the northwest corner is a maze or labyrinth design which has aroused much interest.

This design is quite complicated and has not thus far been reported from any other ruins on the North or South American Continents but the same design is found on certain copper coins in the Isle of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, the coins being some two thousand years old.

The probable chances of a design as complicated as this one being accidentally duplicated elsewhere are so remote as to be almost negligible, yet no theory of connection which will stand analysis has ever been broached.

The Casa Grande Ruins – Frank and Edna Pinkley


See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/harold-sterling-gladwin-in-the-dog-house/

The speculation is strengthened by the circular and square forms of the Minoan Maze being adopted by the Hopi of northern Arizona.

The Cretan-type labyrinth, for example, has been interpreted as representing life, or death-and-rebirth, and its influence is widespread.

The creation myth of the Tohono O’odham people of southern Arizona uses a design known as the “Man in the Maze”.

It is the same classical labyrinth design that we find in Europe and Asia.

Most of the early labyrinths of North America are found in the high deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, and others are found in northwest Mexico.

The mythology of the Hopi of northern Arizona features labyrinths in circular and square forms.

Most well known is the Tapu’at, the “Mother and Child” symbol.

Both forms represent the womb of Mother Earth, the divine birth-giver.

The Tohono O’odham and the Pima peoples employ the labyrinth design extensively in their craftwork.

The Curious History of Mazes – Julie E Bounford – 2018
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1577151771
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1577151771

The Labyrinth in the American Southwest – Jeff Saward
Caerdroia – 38th Edition – 2008


Uto-Aztecan or Uto-Aztekan is a family of indigenous languages of the Americas, consisting of over 30 languages. Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico.


The possibility the Minoan Maze was “brought to the Americas by voyagers” is strengthened by the Hopi once having a Western Interior Seaway shoreline.


The Western Interior Seaway was a large inland sea that existed during the mid- to late Cretaceous period as well as the very early Paleogene, splitting the continent of North America into two landmasses, Laramidia to the west and Appalachia to the east.

At its largest, it was 2,500 feet (760 m) deep, 600 miles (970 km) wide and over 2,000 miles (3,200 km) long.


In the era of the Inland Seas a voyage to Oklahoma involved navigating the Western Interior Seaway.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/old-iberians-in-oklahoma/

Given the appearance of the circular Minoan Maze mark in the Old World and the New World it’s arguable it was a Carthaginian trademark.

A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks.

In trademark treatises it is usually reported that blacksmiths who made swords in the Roman Empire are thought of as being the first users of trademarks.

Other notable trademarks that have been used for a long time include Stella Artois, which claims use of its mark since 1366, and Löwenbräu, which claims use of its lion mark since 1383.


If the previously identified 1,170 year difference [that aligns the Antonine Plague with the Black Death] is applied to the Knossos coin [above] then 220 BC + 1,170 years = 950 CE.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/07/26/the-british-brick/

Either way:

It appears the Hopi moved to higher ground around 900 AD.

Walpi, of the Hopi people, is one of the older continuously inhabited villages in the United States, continuously inhabited for more than 1100 years since around 900 AD.

It is an example of traditional Hopi stone architecture, used for their historic pueblos built at defensive locations on the mesa tops.


Arguably, the move was necessitated by the transformation of the Colorado River from a modest overflow channel into a funnelled flood that [amongst other things] excavated the Grand Canyon as the Western Interior Seaway drained away into the Pacific Ocean.

The Colorado River is one of the principal rivers (along with the Rio Grande) in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The 1,450-mile-long (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. states and two Mexican states. Starting in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau and through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border, where it turns south toward the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado approaches the mostly dry Colorado River Delta at the tip of the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.


The geology of the Grand Canyon area includes one of the most complete and studied sequences of rock on Earth.

Uplift of the region started about 75 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny; a mountain-building event that is largely responsible for creating the Rocky Mountains to the east. In total, the Colorado Plateau was uplifted an estimated 2 miles (3.2 km).

Wetter climates brought upon by ice ages starting 2 million years ago greatly increased excavation of the Grand Canyon, which was nearly as deep as it is now, 1.2 million years ago.




The drawing back of the land [like curtains] when the Pacific Ocean basin opened suggests the Mayan and Chinese cultures share a hieroglyphic heritage.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/harold-sterling-gladwin-mayan-hieroglyphs/

The transformation ultimately left many wet areas in Arizona high and dry.

The Hohokam and their canals have joined “those who have gone”.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/harold-sterling-gladwin-in-the-dog-house/

As always:

Review the evidence and draw your own conclusions.

This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Books, Catastrophism, Epigraphy - Inscriptions, Geology, Hecker Horizon, Heinsohn Horizon, History, Inflating Earth, Roman Chronology, Water. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Harold Sterling Gladwin: The Minoan Maze

  1. Warless says:

    Did the sacrificer slaver Phoenicians/Minoans/Carthaginians-Babylonians-Hittites/Trojans/Mycenaeans-Aztecs-Mayas-Incas-pharaohs-maharajas-mandarins etc warmongers were equally civilised to the warless Greek Pelasgians and EVERY warless-peaceable people in the world?

    • malagabay says:

      An emporium refers to a trading post, factory, or market of Classical antiquity…

      Emporia varied greatly in their level of activity. Some seem to have functioned much like the permanent European trading colonies in China, India or Japan in the Early Modern period, or those of the Italian maritime republics of the Middle Ages in the Levant. Others were probably annual events for a few days or weeks like the medieval Champagne fairs, or modern trade fairs.

      Famous emporia include Sais, where Solon went to acquire the knowledge of Egypt; Elim, where Hatshepsut kept her Red Sea fleet; Elat, where Thebes was supplied with mortuary materials, linen, bitumen, naphtha, frankincense, myrrh and carved stone amulets from Palestine, Canaan, Aram, Lebanon, Ammon, Hazor, Moab, Edom, Punt and the Arabian Peninsula from Petra to Midian; and Olbia, which exported cereals, fish and slaves.

      In the Hellenic and Ptolemaic realm, emporia included the various Greek, Phoenician, Egyptian and other city-states and trading posts in the circum-Mediterranean area.

      Among these commercial hubs were cities like Avaris and Syene in Lower Egypt, Thebes in Upper Egypt, and Opone, Elim, Elat and other Red Sea ports.

      For the Hittites, it encompassed Kanesh and Kadesh.

      For Phoenicia, it included Cádiz, Carthage, Leptis Magna, and Cyrene, among others (although Cyrene had been founded by Greeks).

      Wikipedia – Emporium (antiquity)

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