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Voyage to Crete: Monastiraki
by Eti Bonn-Muller
August 2, 2009

Logic would dictate that I continue making my way eastward, but the opportunity for a second meeting with Elpida Hadjidakis at Falasarna lured me back west yesterday. I’ll be reporting separately on our conversation regarding a groundbreaking discovery she made at another site.

Today, I was delighted also to meet again with Athanasia Kanta, director of Iraklion’s Archaeological Museum. The experienced and passionate archaeologist, who has dug at sites all over Crete, guided me through Monastiraki (named after a small monastery in a nearby village of the same name), where she has been leading excavations since 1980. The Minoan site, which lies in the Amari Valley near the southwest foothills of Mt. Ida, was a major center for wine and cloth production during the Protopalatial period (Middle Bronze Age). Kanta also believes it had a close and special relationship with the palace at Phaistos.

The last year of large-scale excavations at Monastiraki was 1999. Over the past decade, Kanta has focused on studying and publishing material from this fascinating site.


Picture 2 of 8

This area of the site, protected by a modern roof, contained a series of ground-floor storerooms and workshops packed full of pithoi (large storage jars). There were so many, in fact, that it would have been impossible to move them into and out of the rooms. Kanta has concluded they were placed there as the buildings were being constructed and that they were never removed, but simply accessed from the floor above. (These rooms were plastered as well.) The upper floors contained loom weights, evidence of cloth production.

In the center of this photo is the main road that led straight into the heart of the storerooms. Beyond the roofed area lie unexcavated Hellenistic buildings.

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2 comments for "Voyage to Crete: Monastiraki"

  • Reply posted by anaplas (March 18, 2010, 3:07 pm):

    nice article… well written


  • Reply posted by Cali Kittredge (February 8, 2012, 7:12 am):

    Really appreciate you sharing this article.Thanks Again. Awesome.