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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

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. 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 ...

Article

J. Lesley Fitton

[Festos]

Site on Crete of a Minoan palace that flourished c. 1900–2nd century bc. Phaistos is situated on the southern side of central Crete, about 7 km from the coast and at the western end of the large, fertile Mesara Plain. The palace stands on the top of a hill that forms the eastern end of a low ridge and commands wonderful views. The position cannot have been chosen for defensibility as the land rises to the west. The site was first recognized by the English naval officer Captain Spratt on his travels round Crete in 1851–3, and in 1884 was visited by the Italian archaeologist F. Halbherr. Cretan independence in 1898 created a suitable background for excavations, which were begun in a systematic way in 1900 by an Italian mission under the direction of Halbherr and L. Pernier. The later or Second Palace had been substantially revealed by 1909, although supplementary excavations continued. In ...

Article

D. Evely

Site in northern Crete, 14 km south-west of Herakleion, in the foothills of the Ida massif overlooking the coastal plain, which flourished c. 2900–c. 1000 bc. It lay on routes heading both west and south and is mentioned (as tu-ri-so) in the Linear B tablets. The excavations conducted by Joseph Hazzidakis (1909–13) uncovered only a fraction of the site.

An Early Minoan (em) ii to Middle Minoan (mm) ii settlement (c. 2900/2600–c. 1675 bc), represented by traces of walls and pottery but of uncertain form, was succeeded c. 1650 bc by free-standing, two-storey houses which differed in detail. The irregularly shaped Houses A and C have store-rooms containing pithoi, separated by corridors and stair units from living areas, including halls with pier-and-door screens and adjacent light wells, lustral basins and pillar crypts. Both have multiple access routes. House B is rectangular and only slightly less complex. All three buildings were destroyed by fire ...

Article

D. Evely

Site in eastern Crete on low hills flanking the north–south route across the Ierapetra Isthmus, inhabited c. 3500–c. 1050 bc. First investigated by R. B. Seager (1903–6), it has been substantially reinterpreted by A. Zoïs (from 1970). Although there are traces of Early Minoan (em) i (c. 3500/3000–c. 2900/2600 bc) pottery, the first clear signs of habitation are of early em ii (c. 2900/2600–c. 2200 bc) date. Buildings belonging to several phases had covered the main hilltop by Middle Minoan (mm) ia (c. 2050–c. 1900 bc). The main surviving structures are two buildings of early em ii date and, to their south, two of late em ii. The settlement was destroyed in a great conflagration towards the end of em ii. The southern pair (now the Red/East and West houses) were regarded by Seager as a single ‘House on the Hill’. Zoïs showed that they were separate buildings, which somewhat weakens earlier theories that Vasiliki anticipated features of Minoan palatial architecture (...