Important Finds at Minoan Peak Sanctuary on Mt. Vryssinas

Hania.- An inscripted Minoan-era stone seal is the most important archaeological find made during this year’s excavations at the Minoan peak sanctuary on Mt. Vryssinas, south of the Cretan port city of Hania.

The deep red-coloured jasper quadrangular seal is the only — up to the present day — evidence of the presence of hieroglyphic Minoan script in western Crete.

This year alone, during the last excavation conducted on the north and northeastern slope of Vryssinas from July 4 to 15, a total of 820 figurines and a large quantity of clay items were discovered. These finds led to the designation of a wider area surrounding the sanctuary as an archaeological site.

Excavations in the area began in 2004, and the extended archaeological site now covers an area of 672 stremma (168 acres).

During the Geometric and Daedalian period (1100-620 BC) important cities such as Eleftherna and Axos (Oaxos), in the Mylopotamos area, flourished, while at the same time a settlement existed on Mount Vryssina, on the plateau of Onythe.

Peak sanctuaries are widespread throughout Crete, and were used for religious rites. In all the peak sanctuaries, most of which are found in eastern and east-central Crete, human and clay figurines have been found, while clay body parts, also called votive body parts, have been found in most of these open-air sanctuaries.

Mt. Vryssina was the most important peak sanctuary in western Crete, and dates from the Proto-palatial period (1900-1700 BC) to the end of the Minoan era (1450-1050 BC).

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