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For the art produced during the Greek Bronze Age (c. 3600–c. 1100 bc) on Crete see Minoan, in the Cyclades see Cycladic, and on the Greek mainland see Helladic. The Mycenaean civilization is covered under the last phase of Helladic.

Crete, §2: Sub-Minoan to Hellenistic, c 1050–67 BC...

Article

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 Spiridon Marinatos in the 1930s and by the German Archaeological Institute, Athens, in 1983–5, have focused on the sides of a low hill and on a cave some 500 m inland. The cave was a sanctuary of Eileithyia, a goddess associated with fertility and childbearing, and is mentioned in the Odyssey (XIX.188). Finds cited below are for the most part in the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Traces of occupation dating back to Late Neolithic times (c. 4500–c. 3800 bc) have been found at the cave, which remained a centre of worship even after the Minoan period. A low wall surrounds a stalagmite, which seems to have been a focus of cultic activity; further activity took place outside the cave mouth. A scattering of house remains near by are of uncertain date. Further west, at ...

Article

E. Sapouna-Sakellarakis

[Arkhanes]

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 Y. Sakellarakis and E. Sakellarakis, who have investigated three major sites. At Turkogeitonia, in the middle of the modern town, were found the remains of a palace built at the start of the Middle Minoan (mm) ib (c. 1900–c. 1800 bc) and destroyed by earthquake c. 1650 bc. The settlement around the palace can also be dated to c. 1900 bc, as can the construction of the peak sanctuary on nearby Mt Juktas, where numerous clay idols—offerings placed within clefts in the rocks—and evidence of bonfires have been found. Around 1650 bc a new palace, one of the most important in Minoan Crete, was built on top of the old one. Finely cut tufa, marble and schist were among the materials used, and its walls were decorated with frescoes (...

Article

D. Evely

[Arkalokhori]

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 ...

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 (mm) iii to Late Minoan (lm) i, c. 1675–c. 1425 bc) is uncertain. Ayia Triada may have been a summer palace, or a wealthy dependent estate, and was perhaps the ‘da-wo’ referred to in the Linear B tablets. Excavation was begun by Frederico Halbherr (1902–14) and has been continued most recently by Vincenzo La Rosa (1977 onwards). For the most part, finds are in the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion.

Neolithic material is known, but is haphazardly distributed. The Pre-Palatial period (from Early Minoan i to mm ia, c. 3500/3000–c. 1900 bc) is represented by localized deposits, wall traces and two tholoi with later, external annexes, most of which are to the north-east of the main site. ...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

(Ann)

(b Boston, MA, Oct 11, 1871; d Washington, DC, March 31, 1945).

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 Arthur Evans, then beginning his investigation of Knossos, she excavated at Kavousi on the eastern side of the Gulf of Mirabello, revealing remains of an early Iron Age site. On her return to Crete in 1901 information from a local peasant led to her most remarkable discovery, the prosperous Minoan town of Gournia, where she directed excavations in 1901, 1903, and 1904, often employing a workforce of more than a hundred. She succeeded in unearthing virtually the whole town, and the evidence, which she published with exemplary speed, provided useful comparisons with that from the grander palace sites at Knossos and Phaistos. She married the English anthropologist Charles Henry Hawes in ...

Article

Chania  

J. Lesley Fitton

[Ta Chania; formerly Canea; anc. Kydonia]

Town on the northern coast of west Crete. Its small sheltered harbour attracted a Minoan settlement (Kydonia), which flourished throughout the Bronze Age (c. 3500–c. 1050 bc). As La Canea it prospered during the Venetian occupation (1252–1645), gaining a cathedral, a rector’s palace and fortification around the Kastelli Hill in the 14th century. The Venetian church of S Francesco now houses the Archaeological Museum. Despite 16th-century fortification of the town, in 1645 La Canea fell to the Turks, who ruled Crete from Kastelli Hill. Buildings from the Turkish period include several mosques, a bathhouse and a lighthouse. After the end of the Turkish occupation (1898) Chania remained capital of Crete until 1971. This article describes the Minoan settlement of Kydonia.

Minoan remains lie underneath the modern town, and excavation has therefore been possible only in restricted areas. Nonetheless, Chania has yielded finds of sufficient quantity and importance for it to seem likely that a Minoan palace was situated there, and that it was the ...

Article

Crete  

Patricia Cameron

Largest island in the Greek archipelago and home of the Minoan civilization (see fig.) and subsequently associated with an important school of Byzantine iconographers (see §4). The island, which is the fourth largest in the Mediterranean, owes its historical importance primarily to its focal position between Europe, Asia and Africa. Lying at 35° latitude, some 100 km south-east of the Peloponnesian mainland of Greece, Crete forms the southern boundary of the Aegean Sea and links the Peloponnese to the mainland of Asia Minor through a chain of smaller islands; the Libyan coast is c. 300 km to the south over open sea.

Crete extends c. 250 km east–west and a maximum of 57 km north–south, with sheltered anchorages chiefly along the north coast. Four mountain ranges constitute the island’s spine: westernmost are the White Mountains, with ten peaks above 2000 m; then Mt Ida (2456 m); the Lasithi Range, with Mt Dikte (2148 m); and finally, east of the narrow (12 km) isthmus of Ierapetra, Mt Ornon (1476 m). Isolated upland plains drained by swallow-holes include the Omalos in the White Mountains, 1100 m high and snowbound in winter, and the Lasithi Plateau (...

Article

D. Evely

revised by Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Hemel Hempstead, Herts, July 8, 1851; d Oxford, July 11, 1941).

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 (1870–74), during which time he also travelled widely, from war-torn France to the Turkish-occupied Balkans (1871) and Romania (1872). His sympathies for the Slavs and his interest in the ancient remains of the region led him to settle at Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) in 1875. There he divided his time between investigating the political turmoil of the area, assisting refugees, visiting numerous historical sites, producing a series of books and scholarly articles and working as a reporter for the Manchester Guardian (from 1877); but as Austrian involvement in the Balkans increased, he was accused of mixing with nationalistic elements, arrested, imprisoned and expelled (...

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. 1425 bc) and was resettled in lm iiia:2 and iiib (c. 1360–c. 1190 bc). Following the work of Harriet Boyd (later Hawes) in 1901–4, it is the most completely excavated Minoan town in Crete, with a well-preserved system of streets and residential blocks. Finds from Gournia include a clay goddess with upraised arms (lm iiib, c. 1335–c. 1190 bc; Herakleion, Archaeol. Mus.), a bronze figurine of a male worshipper (lm i, c. 1600–c. 1425 bc; Herakleion, Archaeol. Mus.) with hand on chest and hair tresses comparable to those of the ‘Boxing Boys’ fresco from Akrotiri on Thera (...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

(b Rovereto, nr Verona, Feb 15, 1875; d Rome, July 17, 1930).

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 1889 Halbherr was Professor of Greek Epigraphy and Antiquity in the University of Rome. In 1899 he founded the Italian Archaeological Mission in Crete, and in ...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

(b Melos; d Feb 16, 1936).

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 Archaeological Museum of Herakleion. After the liberation of Crete from Turkish rule in 1900, Hazzidakis and his colleague Stephanos Xanthoudides were recognized as the two first Ephors of Cretan Antiquities. Hazzidakis collaborated with foreign scholars (especially the Italian Frederico Halbherr) who excavated for the Syllogos and negotiated on Arthur Evans’s behalf for the purchase of the site of Knossos. In ...

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J. Lesley Fitton, Keith Branigan, C. D. Fortenberry, Philip Betancourt, Lyvia Morgan, D. Evely, Margaret A. V. Gill, Reynold Higgins, P. M. Warren and Susan Sherratt

In 

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 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 ...

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C. D. Fortenberry

In 

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Philip Betancourt

In 

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J. Lesley Fitton, Keith Branigan, C. D. Fortenberry, Philip Betancourt, Lyvia Morgan, D. Evely, Margaret A. V. Gill, Reynold Higgins, P. M. Warren and Susan Sherratt

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 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 ...

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 (lm) iiic (c. 1190–c. 1050 bc) and Sub-Minoan (c. 1050–c. 1000 bc) periods and possibly too for some years in the Protogeometric period (c. 1000–c. 900 bc). The ‘nail’ was probably also the site of a Middle Minoan (c. 2050–c. 1600 bc) peak sanctuary.

The excavations by J. D. S. Pendlebury and others in 1937–9 of much of the settlement (main area 130×130 m; east area 150×70 m) and some of its tombs gave a rare chance to see a large Cretan settlement of the very end of the Bronze Age with many details of its daily life preserved. Although on a high and bleak spot, Karphi seems to have enjoyed a surprisingly sophisticated way of life for a period generally thought to have been one of impoverishment. Finds of pottery, dress pins and other metalware attest to connections with settlements elsewhere in Crete, in the Aegean and even in Cyprus. The finds from the site (Herakleion, Archaeol. Mus.) are predominantly of ...