Archeology, History Minoan Zakros, Minoan Palace Finds
In Kato Zakros are located the ruins of the ancient Minoan city of Zakros and are now an important archaeological site of the Minoan civilization. It was one of the four main administrative centers of the Minoans while its protected harbor and strategic location made it an important trading center for the trade to the east.
In the city dominated the palace of Zakros, which was built in 1900 BC around, rebuilt in 1600 BC and destroyed around 1450 BC along with other main centers of the Minoan civilization. Today the ruins of the palace is visible and visited, making Zakros popular tourist destination.
English admiral Th. Spratt the the mid-19th century, states in his book “Travels in Crete” that he saw in the area ruins, while at the end of 19th century, the Italian archaeologists F. Halbherr , L. Mariani and the English A. Evans made small-scale pilot surveys in the region. The first systematic excavations were made by English Archaeological School, headed by D. G. Hogarth, who excavated two houses.These houses accepted disasters during the Second World War. Hogarth arrived near the limits of the palace but did not reveal it.
In 1961 some gold jewelry given as a gift from a resident to a doctor named Giamalakis,and some setting works in the area revealed boulders and sword, led the archaeologist N. Platonas to start excavations financed by the Americans L. and H. Pomerance revealing the palace and the city around it.
More than 30 years of excavations at 25.000 sq.m. brought to light a Minoan populated town with well developed road network, building blocks and a palace of the level of Malia, Phaistos and Knossos.
The findings of Zakros are in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, while some of them are in museums of Sitia and Agios Nikolaos.
In the museum of Sitia are giant jars, and numerous decorated pottery utensils, a pithos with colored decoration, miniature carvings. The case 16 contains a wonderful set of Linear A signs from the Treasury of palace.
One of these Rhytons (ie, the pots chois), unique in every respect, because among other shows in detail a Peak Sanctuary, «describing» in fact for the first time of how a Minoan temple was. There is also an eventful history behind it , as Paul Faure describes in his book «The daily life in CRETE in the Minoan age ».
The palace of Zakros is the fourth largest in Minoan Crete. It was located at a major strategic point of the insured bay, and was the center of commercial exchanges with countries in the East, as shown by the finds (elephants tusks, fagentiani, copper, etc.). The palace was the center of administration, religion and commerce.
The archaeologist Nick Platonas, looked for the cemetery of the city, led to the next gorge, which links the Zakros to Kato Zakros. He discovered burials found in small caves in the side walls of the gorge, thus he named it “Gorge of the Dead”.