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date: 16 September 2019


  • 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 ...

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