The term “Minoans” was coined in the modern era to denote the Bronze Age inhabitants of Crete (ca. 3100-1000 BC). We don’t know how these people(s) referred to themselves, or even if they conceived of themselves as ethnically different from, say, the people from the mainland. It is nothing more than an archaeological label.
Cretans of the Bronze Age are most famous for their large court complexes, conventionally referred to as “palaces”. The largest of these court complexes have been unearthed at Knossos (the second most popular archaeological site in Greece), Phaistos, Malia, and Zakros.
The modern island of Thera is actually the rim of an old volcano. This volcano had erupted during the Bronze Age. What effect did this massive eruption have in the Aegean, and on nearby Crete in particular?
Our ideas of the past are often based on mere scraps of evidence. Nowhere is this more literally true than when it comes to reconstructing ancient wall-paintings, such as the “Saffron Gatherer” from Knossos.