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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 (c. 3500–c. 1100 bc). Excavations by Joseph Hazzidakis (c. 1911), Spiridon Marinatos and Nikolaos Platon (1935) uncovered prolific finds despite previous plundering.

The earliest, scanty remains are ceramic and date from the periods Early Minoan i and ii (c. 3500/3000–c. 2200 bc) and Middle Minoan i (c. 2050–c. 1800 bc). Material from Neo-Palatial times (c. 1650–c. 1425 bc) was also found, but a roof collapse severely curtailed worship thereafter. Low walls may have been constructed to give the cave an architectural focus, but all that survive are a passage and a possible cell. Most of the finds are Neo-Palatial metal ...


15th century, male.

Born c. 1400 BC.

Sculptor, architect, inventor. Mythological subjects.

Ancient Greek.

A legendary figure, said to be the great-grandson of Erechtheus, king of Athens, Daedalus was supposed to have invented the saw, the brace, masts and sails for ships, and a range of other practical devices. According to a familiar story, the council of the Areopagus in Athens banished him to exile in Crete for having killed his nephew out of jealousy. In Crete, according to later sources, he built the Labyrinth (which some have identified as the Minoan palace at Cnossus). He is said to have been the first Greek to carve figures in the round and with separated legs....


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 1884 and was excavated first in 1885 by Federico Halbherr, then from 1982 by John Sakellarakis, with funds from the Archaeological Society of Athens. Human presence within the cave is evident from the end of the Late Neolithic period (c. 3800 bc) and continued without interruption until the 5th century ad. It was a place of worship from the end of the Middle Minoan period (c. 1600 bc). The first object of worship may have been a Minoan male deity who dies and is reborn each year. For this reason, when the Mycenaean Greeks occupied Crete ...



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 Antonio Taramelli in 1904 and more extensively by Richard MacGillivray Dawkins in 1913.

The cave descends quite steeply for some 100 m, forming two main chambers; some built walls may have supported terraces. No clear focus of worship has been detected: the finds seem scattered without pattern. The earliest material found is Final Neolithic (c. 4000–c. 3500/3000 bc), although whether this represents habitation or is the result of some religious impulse is undetermined; the same may be true for the scanty Pre-Palatial ...



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 Joseph Hazzidakis in 1915 and 1919. The French School of Archaeology in Athens took over in 1922, and by 1926 had effectively revealed the whole palace, although their programme of excavation and research continued into the late 20th century. Important finds, including those cited below, are housed in the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Evidence for Early Minoan (c. 3500...