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Archaeological sites (5)
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On a small headland called Trypetos, 3km to the east of modern
Seteia lies a city of the Hellenistic period (middle of 4th - middle of 1st century BC), most probably
identified with the ancient city of Eteia. A Hellenistic dockyard has been uncovered
at the east coast of the headland. It is known that in 1960 the owners of the
land created plots for cultivation using digging machines which caused severe
damage to the buried antiquities. Since 1987 a systematic excavation has been
conducted by the Ephorate of Antiquities, under the direction of N. Papadakis.
The dockyard lies at the south edge of the east side of the headland
called "Karavopetra" or "Trypetos". It is unroofed, hewn out of the rock and is
rectangular in shape (30m. long, 5.50 m. wide, and 5 m. high). The floor is slightly
inclined towards the sea (15-30 degrees) and does not continue under the sea level,
but this is due to the geological changes that have taken place in the past centuries.
The ship which would be sheltered under this structure during winter time, must
have been of a medium size. Carvings on the surface of the rock indicate the existence
of a wooden "bolt" for the fastening of the ship. Other parts of the building,
such as floor, saddle roof and towing machines were made of wood and have not
The Hellenistic city covers the whole of the headland and was built
on terraces, following the terrain. The south side was protected by a massive
wall, which separates the main area of the headland from the mainland. The wall
is built of cobblestones and its width reaches 1,8 m. on the uncovered sections.
Along the inner side are rooms and other structures, parts of houses and military
installations. The most important room seems to be a hall measuring 7,5 x 5 m.,
at the centre of which lies a rectangular hearth, formed by the surface of the
bedrock, enclosed by poros slabs smoothed outside. Behind the south side of the
hearth there is a small poros bench with an oblong cutting in the middle, which
contained the lower part of a poros plug, undoubtedly part of a relief or statuette
relating to cult practice at the hearth. A U-shaped built bench surrounding the
hearth was attached to the wall; it was probably used as a seat by the inhabitants.
Also uncovered were a storeroom, a cistern lined with hydraulic stucco, and stone
paved streets, one of which separates two neighbourhoods. Among the most important
finds is a series of coins cut by this city, which had its own mint.
Ancient city of Pressos
The important ancient city of Pressos was the homeland of the Eteocretans--the
true Cretans. These people withdrew to these three hills, built a city and continued
their Minoan culture when the Dorians invaded. Remains of an older and newer city
were found as well as very important tablets written in the Minoan language using
Greek characters. This may help in the deciphering of the Minoan language. The
site was inhabited continually from Neolithic to Hellenistic times. Pressos dominated
the east side of Crete, and it had two harbours, one on the north coast--Itia,
the site of Sitia--and the other one, Stiles, on the south coast. The excavations
have revealed three acropolises, temples, houses, and tombs, but little remain
to be seen in the site. From the acropolis, where some ruins still remain, one
has a good view of the old harbour of Pressos, Sitia in the distance. Pressos
was in continuous struggle with the powerful cities of Itanos and Ierapytna for
the control of the Temple of Zeus Dicteos in Palaikastro. Although at some point
in time it even shared citizenship with Ierapytna, it was destroyed by Ierapytna
about 155 B.C. and was never rebuilt. The inhabitants of Pressos left for Itia
(Sitia), their harbour on the north coast and established New Pressos there.
This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.
The Minoan Palace at Petras, Siteia
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