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Minoan villa discovered at Ierapetra, Crete

A Minoan mansion dating to 1600-1400 BC has been discovered in the mountainous area of Anatoli, Ierapetra, southeast Crete. 

Archaeologists at the site of the Minoan villa at Anatoli, Ierapetra [Credit: To Vima]
The building, say archaeologists taking part in the excavation, appears to be undisturbed and indications are that its occupants fled after the building's destruction without taking any of the objects that were inside. 

The cause of destruction and the reasons for the building's abandonment have not yet been ascertained and further details are expected to emerge with the progress of the excavation. 

Numerous Minoan villas have been located and excavated elsewhere on Crete, though all are typically located in the lowlands and plains, where they are traditionally associated with farming.  

The building at Anatoli is the second to be excavated in Crete at such a high altitude. The only other example is found at Zominthos which was excavated by Yiannis and Efi Sakelaraki. 

"With this excavation are trying to understand the importance of the mountainous regions for the Minoan economy and to determine what natural resources the Minoans took advantage of in these high altitudes", said the head of excavation Dr. Yannis Papadatos. 

Dr. Papadatos stressed that "the second objective is to begin to understand what happened at Ierapetra during Minoan times, for which we have little evidence." 

"Despite the varying importance of the Ierapetra Valley," Dr. Papadatos concludes, "we do not have the slightest idea of the location of the main Minoan settlement, nor do we know if there was some kind of administrative or palatial centre such as those that have been excavated in adjacent areas, like Gournia, Gialos and Myrtos. We are hopeful that the Anatoli building will help answer some of these questions." 

Source: To Vima [August 22, 2012]

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