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Voyage to Crete: Falasarna
by Eti Bonn-Muller
July 27, 2009

Yesterday I spent the day in Chania before boarding the 8:30 a.m. bus to Falasarna, one of the westernmost points on Crete. Here, a team under the direction of veteran archaeologist Elpida Hadjidakis has unearthed a “closed” Hellenistic harbor in an unlikely place—dry land.

I caught up with Hadjidakis and the team on the first day of the dig season. The feisty, hands-on excavator, a self-proclaimed “harbor girl” who grew up in Chania and Athens, spoke with me as she scrutinized every centimeter of soil unearthed that windy day.


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The archaeologists (lower center) dig for the continuation of the harbor amid a dramatic landscape. Although they haven’t conducted formal excavations atop the hill behind them, they believe the acropolis of the ancient city was located there. The hill’s central chunk was lost in an as-yet-undetermined cataclysmic event.

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7 comments for "Voyage to Crete: Falasarna"

  • Reply posted by Jane Calvert Kimble (August 4, 2009, 7:43 pm):

    If you are studying a harbout, get an “old salt” and a builer and ask them when finds might have been located. The idea is that the ancients maybe did not build just by accident but from experience and would have picked certain site for certain construction.


  • Reply posted by Stéphane ORSINI (August 5, 2009, 1:29 am):

    Does someone know the signification of “Falasarna” ?
    Thank you for your response.


  • Reply posted by Michael Hill (August 20, 2009, 5:20 pm):



  • Reply posted by Maximilian Sulpicius Stadler (September 22, 2009, 7:12 am):

    As far as I know Falasarna (resp. “Phalasarna”) was the name of a nymph, but I would be grateful if anyone could verify this by posting a trustworthy reference or even some background information on this nymph…


  • Reply posted by Aaron Batchelor (September 26, 2009, 11:48 pm):

    Any update on the “fallen tower” that lies at the site? I am not an archeologist but visited in 1997 and was amazed at the potential of this site.


  • Reply posted by woody (November 4, 2011, 4:04 pm):

    I was on this dig in ’91, I think it was. There is an acropolis there. I know we climbed up the rock face to get there. Very steep. It’s an Hellenistic period site. The entire western part of Crete was lifted out of the ocean a few meters over time due to earthquakes and/or plate techtonics. Very remote. Would love to go back some day.


  • Reply posted by Daniela Letts (January 23, 2012, 2:13 am):

    Just wondering if the dig is still continuing? and how it is going?
    The comments on site are all dated 2009 and I wondered what progress had been made?
    What is required to be part of the dig? how to get there? rules that apply? any time frame for staying? nearby accommodation?
    Thanks for any feedback.