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Archaeological sites (4)
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of the cemetery
seems to have been pre-planned. All the tombs belong to the rock-cut chamber tomb
with dromos, with the exception of the unique built tholos tomb no. 200. Unworked
stones and pyramidal or slab stelae were erected over the tombs as markers. They
were all family tombs, containing multiple burials, either placed directly on
the floor or inside larnakes. The grave offerings - pottery, weapons, tools and
jewellery - provide us with useful information on art, religion and social organization
of the period.
In 1969, two pupils presented to the Archaeological
Museum of Rethymnon two vases found at the site called Prinokephalo, at the
community of Armenoi. Investigation of the area prooved the existence of an extensive
Late Minoan cemetery. Since then, the site has been systematically excavated,
and more than 220 tombs have been brought to light.
The most important of the tombs of the cemetery are the following:
Tomb 200. It is the only tholos tomb at the cemetery
of Armenoi. The dromos, stepped at the beginning, is 4.55 m. long and 1.32 m.
wide and the entrance was blocked by a stone slab. A niche has been carved in
the side wall. Inside the circular burial chamber, bronze weapons, pottery, beads
and an amulet with a Linear A inscription were found. The tomb is dated to the
beginning of the 14th century BC.
Tomb 159. It is the most impressive chamber tomb
of the cemetery. The dromos is 15.50 m. long and its outer section is occupied
by 25 steps, starting at ground level. A stone bench runs along the four sides
of the rectangular chamber and a pillar stands opposite the entrance. Inside the
burial chamber an impressive find was uncovered, the remains of a wooden "coffin".
The tomb is dated to 1420/1400-1200 BC.
Late Minoan Cemetery of Armeni
10 km south of the town of Rethymno the famous cemetery of Armeni was discovered, situated near to the village of the same name in a beautiful oak forest, and it dates back to the Late Minoan period (13th / 12th century BC). During the systematic excavation, which was started in 1969, more than 220 tombs were discovered, and excavation has been continued since then with the aim of finding the city belonging to this place. The cemetery consists of burial chambers, which were hewn into the soft natural rock, and which lie from east to west. Long and narrow, hewn corridors lead into the interior of the tombs. Among the tombs discovered up until now only one has been vaulted and built from stone. As well as pottery it contained weapons, beads and a periapt displaying an inscription in Linear A script.
Most of the burial chambers had not been looted and still contained a large number of artefacts such as vessels, statuettes, arms, jewellery, tools etc. They were family graves where a relatively large number of dead were left uncovered on the ground or in earthenware shrines. The rich ornamentation with motifs taken from nature as well as religious icons makes the shrines particularly impressive.
The findings from the cemetery of Armeni can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno. The archaeological site is open to visitors.
This text is cited Feb 2003 from the Tourism Promotion Committee of Rethymno Prefecture URL below, which contains images.
- Rethymno Prefecture Tourism Committee WebPage
Just before Armeni, a Postpalatial Minoan cemetery was discovered.
The excavations continue and, so far, more than 200 rock-cut tombs have been discovered.
This implies the existence of a large city nearby which has not yet been discovered.
The graves vary widely from simple, small graves to very imposing tombs approached
with a sloping path and having benches around the walls. Many kinds of offerings
were found in those graves and some of them are displayed in the Rethimnon museum.
Some larnakes from these tombs are displayed in the museum of Chania.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from the Crete TOURnet URL below, which contains images.
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