Ancient archives discovered at the palace complex of Zominthos in Crete

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Ancient archives discovered at the palace complex of Zominthos in CreteView of the excavation at Zominthos (photo: Ministry of Culture).

The archives of the palace of Zominthos on the plateau of Mount Psiloritis on Crete were discovered at the sprawling site during this year's excavation season, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday.

The spot where the tablet was found this year is crucial to the building (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

The archives area is identified on the basis of a clay tablet in the hieroglyphics of Linear A, which lists 217 three-footed vessels. "The tablet looks like a ledger, definitely comprising a list of objects," which it said points to the fact the palace complex was well organized, the ministry noted in a statement. Supporting evidence for the area being used for the archives includes its location and other circumstantial evidence.

View of the north east entrance (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

Besides the multitude of vessels found throughout the site, discoveries included a hallway with pillars leading to a possible throne room. The remains of a seat were unearthed in the latter room, with uses from earlier periods recorded as well (Protopalatial period, 1900 BC to Mycenaean times, ca. 1400 BC).

Part of a bull statuette found in this year’s excavation (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

The remnants of clay pipes from a sophisticated drainage system were also discovered, along with an area of obsidian carving, and another area by the north facade of the main building - joined to it - that contained hundreds of clay vessels, including rhyta, the characteristic Cretan vessels used in rituals. According to research scientists, the whole area provides evidence of extensive metalwork carried out in workshops in the complex.

Circular disc found in this year’s excavation (photo: Ministry of Culture)


Furthermore, the ministry said, an earthquake in the Neopalatial era led to extensive changes, including the creation of a ramp. 

Architectural remains at Zominthos (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

This season's excavations were supervised by Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki, who commenced excavating the area with her late husband Yiannis Sakellarakis. This season's results confirmed the existence of an older building under the current complex which is built in the Neopalatial period (1700-1600 BC).

Axonometric reconstruction of Areas 32, 33 and 44 (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

"This year's excavations focused on examining the area around the central palatial building and yielded a lot new facts. A basic one is a confirmation that there was an older building under that of the Neopalatial period that was founded on the rock outcrop, occupied a larger area and contained a major number of this period," the ministry pointed out. 

Floor that had fallen from an upper storey and was preserved at an angle facing an outside space at the south-east entrance (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

Crystal amulet found during this year’s excavation (photo: Ministry of Culture)

It was extremely exciting to discover an area outside the north facade of the Main Building and attached to it, which yielded hundreds of vessels with rhyta (conical ritual vessels) among them and which may have been a place for storing sacred objects (photo: Ministry of Culture)

 

 

It was extremely exciting to discover an area outside the north facade of the Main Building and attached to it, which yielded hundreds of vessels with rhyta (conical ritual vessels) among them and which may have been a place for storing sacred objects (photo: Ministry of Culture)

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