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Amnisos  

D. Evely

Minoan site in northern Crete, inhabited c. 3500–c. 1000 bc. The settlement, a harbour town known as a-mi-ni-so in the Linear B tablets, is 8 km east of Herakleion; it fronts a shallow sandy shore and is backed by a coastal plain. Excavations, chiefly by ...

Article

E. Sapouna-Sakellarakis

Site in northern Crete 15 km south-east of Herakleion. Occupied in Neolithic times, it flourished in the Minoan period (c. 3500/3000–c. 1500 bc). Arthur Evans was the first to excavate in the area after World War I, and work continued from the early 1960s under the direction of ...

Article

D. Evely

Minoan sacred cave in central Crete, which flourished c. 1650–c. 1425 bc. Situated 33 km south-east of Herakleion, on the west slope of Profitis Elias, a mountain to the east of the modern village of Arkalochori, it was a cult centre throughout the Minoan era (...

Article

D. Evely

Minoan site, possibly Palatial, on a ridge at the west end of the Mesara plain in southern Crete, inhabited from c. 3800 to c. 1100 bc. The relationship between this important centre and Phaistos, only 3 km away, during the Neo-Palatial period (from Middle Minoan (...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

American archaeologist. She was a pioneer of the archaeological excavation of Minoan Crete, first travelling in the island in 1900 as a fellow of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Adventurous and intrepid, she explored the area of east Crete around the Isthmus of Hierapetra, covering the rough terrain on mule-back. At the suggestion of Sir ...

Article

D. Evely and Gordon Campbell

English archaeologist and historian. He is best known as the discoverer of the Palace of Minos at Knossos and the inventor of the term Minoan to designate the Bronze Age civilization of Crete. His father ran a paper-milling business and was also a prominent antiquary. Evans studied modern history at Brasenose College, Oxford (...

Article

Gournia  

Gerald Cadogan

Site in eastern Crete, near the northern end of the Ierapetra Isthmus. Set on a low spur overlooking the Bay of Mirabello, it was occupied from Early Minoan (em) ii till Late Minoan (lm) i (c. 2900/2600–c....

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

Italian epigrapher and archaeologist. An important figure in the history of archaeological exploration in Crete, he first visited the island in 1884. His interests at that time were mainly epigraphical, and within four months of his arrival he made the remarkable discovery of the Law Code of Gortyn, one of the most important inscriptions ever found in the Greek world. Halbherr became thoroughly committed to the recovery of Crete’s past, broadening his interests from the purely epigraphical to the archaeological; the long list of sites that he explored, excavated or encouraged others to excavate includes Gortyn, Axos, the Idaian Cave, Lebena, Prinias and perhaps the two most important sites dug by Italian archaeologists, the Minoan palace of Phaistos and the neighbouring Minoan villa of Ayia Triadha. From ...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

Greek archaeologist. Hazzidakis was a doctor by training, but his enthusiasm for the archaeological heritage of Crete led to his foundation in 1878 of the Herakleion Society for the Promotion of Learning. He became President of the Society (or ‘Syllogos’) in 1883 and thereafter devoted his time to one of its particular aims, the preservation and study of the ancient monuments of Crete. Under the aegis of the Syllogos, Hazzidakis began a small museum in Herakleion where chance finds and gifts from private collectors were housed. This formed the basis for the now world-famous ...

Article

J. A. Sakellarakis

Site on Mt Ida (now Psiloritis) in central Crete. It lies at an altitude of 1498 m and measures some 59×46 m. It was the most important cave in Greek antiquity, identified by many ancient writers as the place where Zeus was born and raised. It was discovered accidentally in ...

Article

Kamares  

D. Evely

Minoan sacred cave in central Crete, which flourished c. 2050–c. 1650 bc. Situated at the west end of the Mesara Plain, beneath the eastern summit of a twin-peaked mountain on the south flank of the Ida massif, around 1700 m above sea-level, the Kamares cave is impressive and remote, and the vast arch of its entrance is visible even from the plain, especially against the snows of winter. It was explored by ...

Article

Karphi  

Gerald Cadogan

Minoan site in Crete. Karphi was a large town on the slopes of a prominent peak about 1250 m high (itself named Karphi, or ‘nail’, after its rocky, knob-like summit), on the north side of the Lasithi Mountains in eastern Crete. It was inhabited in the Late Minoan (...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

Minoan palace and town in Crete that flourished in the Neo-Palatial period (c. 1650–c. 1425 bc). The smallest of the Minoan palaces, Kato Zakros lies at the edge of a very small fertile plain that opens on to the Bay of Zakros on Crete’s eastern coast. The palace and town seem to have owed their position to the sheltered anchorage afforded by the bay and to have been important as a trading centre, perhaps receiving goods brought by ship to Crete from the East. The unworked elephants’ tusks and copper ingots found within the palace are probably examples of such imports. Excavations carried out in ...

Article

Knossos  

Sinclair Hood

Principal palatial centre of the Minoan civilization in Crete (see fig.). It flourished during the Cretan Bronze Age in the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc and was the home of the legendary king Minos. (For calendar dates of Minoan chronological periods see Minoan, §I, 4...

Article

Kommos  

J. Lesley Fitton

Minoan harbour town that flourished c. 2050–c. 1250 bc, and Greek sanctuary that flourished c. 1025–c. 100 ad, on the Bay of Mesara in southern Crete, some 8 km south-west of the Minoan sites of Phaistos and Ayia Triada. Excavations begun in 1976...

Article

Kythera  

Nicolas Coldstream and Ioanna Bitha

Greek island, 32×19 km, immediately south of the Peloponnese. It was credited by Herodotus (Histories, I.cv.3) with the oldest cult of Aphrodite, and its more romantic associations are recalled by Antoine Watteau’s Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera (Paris, Louvre). The landscape is rocky, with some fertile valleys. One such valley fed the eastern promontory site of ...

Article

Mallia  

J. Lesley Fitton

Minoan palace and town on Crete, which flourished c. 1900–c. 1425 bc. The palace stands on a small, fertile plain on the north coast of Crete, about 36 km east of Herakleion. It is relatively well preserved, and restoration has been kept to a minimum. While it is less elaborate than the Minoan palaces of Knossos and Phaistos it is nonetheless impressive. Excavations in the vicinity have revealed extensive remains of the town, while cemeteries have been found between the palace and the sea. The site was first excavated by ...

Article

D. Evely

Greek archaeologist and historian. After graduating at Athens in Classical Philology and Archaeology (1919), Marinatos began his career with the Archaeological Service in Crete. Rapid promotion (Ephor, 1921) culminated in the Directorship of Herakleion Archaeological Museum (1929), after two years of study in Germany. For the next decade he excavated many Minoan sites, including Nirou Chani, Amnisos, Tylissos and Arkalochori. His energy and elegant, often bold, interpretations brought him the rewards first of the Directorship of the Service (...

Article

Mesara  

Keith Branigan

Region in southern central Crete that flourished in the Bronze Age. One of the most fertile parts of Crete, this flat alluvial plain is about 50 km east–west, but never more than 10 km north–south, and it is surrounded on the north, east and south by foothills and mountains. It was in and around the Mesara plain in the Early Bronze Age (for discussion of Bronze Age absolute dates ...

Article

Mochlos  

Keith Branigan

Tiny island off the north coast of Crete on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Mirabello. The island was almost certainly joined to the mainland by a narrow isthmus during Minoan times, when it was the site of an important settlement. The island was explored by the American archaeologist ...