Friday 28 April 2006

Eleni Banou and Eleni Tsivilika
Ministry of Culture

The Middle Minoan coastal site at Pera Galenoi, Crete: Satellite of a Minoan Palace or not?
The Minoan site of Pera Galenoi is situated along the north coast of Crete just at the natural borders of the prefectures of Herakleion and Rethymnon (4 km west of the village of Fodele).  Systematic excavation began in 1998 and continues to date under the directorship of the present speaker and my colleague Eleni Tsivilika in the NAM.
The excavation at the small hilly peninsula, where the Minoan settlement expands, has hitherto uncovered 21 spaces, which seem to belong to five buildings, four situated on the summit of the hill and one at the foot of it.  At least one room of building A to the north and part of building C to the west had been lost to collapse and erosion.  The walls impressively preserved at places to the height of 2,10m are made of the local phyllite stone with the upper structure being of mud brick.  Most of the rooms are nicely paved with flagstones.  Plaster often painted with red and black bands was lavishly used to coat wall and floor surfaces.  Other architectural features include stone staircases, stone and clay benches coated with plaster.  One room in building B exemplified architectural elements akin to an “adyton” or “lustral basin” possibly suggesting that Building B was the shrine of the settlement.  Building A produced cult furnishing, such as stone offering tables; this may suggest that certain rooms of this building could have been used for housing religious paraphernalia.
Finally a pottery kiln with unique features that was excavated in 2005 at the SW part of the fill suggests that most of the pottery of the site was locally made.
The preliminary study of the pottery indicates that the settlement was probably established during the Old Palace Period (probably as old as in MM I period) and was destroyed by a strong earthquake in early LM IA, which may be assigned to the seismic horizon of the Theran seismic destruction.
The carefully designed structures, the lavish use of plaster of exquisite quality, the unique stone vases, particularly the offering tables, and the good quality of the pottery as well as indications for copper smelting at the site (crucible fragments with copper slags) indicate that we are not dealing with a mere fishing community, but with a thriving outpost at the north coastline of Crete, engaged in commercial activities with other parts of Crete and possibly with overseas activities as well.


Next Seminar

Friday 12 May 18.30

M. Marthari
Raos on Thera...