Myrtos archaeological site

Located on the south coast of Crete, near the village of Myrtos, lies the archaeological site of Myrtos-Pyrgos. This Minoan settlement boasts a history dating back to roughly 3000 BCE and offers a glimpse into the lives and administrative practices of this influential civilization.

Myrtos-Pyrgos’ strategic location played a crucial role in its development. Situated near the Myrtos valley and protected by a nearby mountain range, it also had access to a harbor. Interestingly, the site shares its early history with another Minoan settlement, Fournou Korifi, established around the same time. Both faced destruction by fire around 2150 BCE. However, Myrtos-Pyrgos rose again around 1900 BCE, evolving into a prominent administrative center.

Several key Minoan features found at the site point to its administrative significance. These include a well-preserved drainage system, paved walkways, and ashlar foundation blocks for a central building. Unlike other Minoan settlements, Myrtos-Pyrgos provides concrete evidence of its administrative role. Historians point to discovered iconography depicting rulers and proof of control over the exchange of goods as hallmarks of this specific function.

Beyond administration, Myrtos-Pyrgos offers a fascinating look at Minoan architecture. The site boasts a well-preserved country house, built on a hill during the Late Minoan Period. Historians believe this multi-story structure, with nine rooms including potential basements and storage spaces, served as a residence overlooking the surrounding agricultural land and potentially wielding authority over the settlement. Additionally, the presence of artifacts suggestive of a shrine within the house hints at religious practices integrated into daily life.

Another captivating feature at Myrtos-Pyrgos is the central tomb. Located on the edge of the settlement, this monumental structure suggests a belief in an afterlife. Unlike other tombs, the Myrtos-Pyrgos tomb appears public and grand, hinting at the importance of the individuals buried there. Excavations within the tomb revealed clay vessels, cups, knives, daggers, and even triton shells, suggesting ritualistic practices. Notably, the remains found within the tomb were exclusively male, some exhibiting unusual arrangements, adding another layer of mystery to the site.

The archaeological site of Myrtos-Pyrgos offers a captivating window into the Minoan world. From its strategic location and administrative center status to its intriguing architecture and burial practices, the site continues to captivate archaeologists and history buffs alike.

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