Archaeologists excavating at the Zominthos Minoan site atop Crete’s Mount Psiloritis, have reported fascinating new finds at the dig. These new discoveries will certainly lead to a better understanding of the highlander aspect of Minoan society.
The so-called Zominthos Palace has given up religious icons that reveal still more about the site’s importance in antiquity. The site, first discovered by Greek archaeologist Yannis Sakellarakis back in 1982, first revealed a large, two-story Minoan building at an altitude of around 1200m.
The first buildings discovered incorporated many features of neo-palatial period architecture and has been the subject of intense study since its discovery. These latest finds date back to the old palace period. On these most recent finds, the Greece Ministry of Culture released the following statement:
“Once again, it is shown that the Zominthos palace had a political, economic, and religious character throughout its existence, due also to its proximity to the major religious center of the Ideon Andron, which enjoyed renown in the Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and Egypt.”
Among the surprising new discoveries are the remains of a burnt wooden object surrounded by thin flakes of gold, which is similar to gold-plated ivory statues found at other sites. Archaeologists also discovered a ritual pestle and a seal with an animal depiction, as well as signs of an earlier sanctuary dating back to the old palace period or 1900 B.C. with fragments of figurines of humans and animals, including a well-formed female figurine.
The new complex has also given up the remains of rooms with flagstone floors and a notable drains system. Among the various pottery finds, one room contained a flower-shaped seal dated to the period of the early palaces, while the various pottery shards tell of its use even predates the foundation of the early palaces.
Zominthos Palace lies on the ancient route between the palace at Knossos, and the sacred Ideon Cave, where many believe the legendary god Zeus was born and raised. Zominthos is the only mountaintop Minoan settlement ever to have been excavated.
Source: ANA and the Archaeological Institute of America