Sites Visited: Phaistos, Agia Triada, Kamalari Tholos Tomb
Leaders: Tim Connor and Shania
Today was jam–packed with Minoan architecture! Our first stop was at Phaistos, a Middle Minoan 1B palatial complex contemporaneous with the palace at Knossos we visited yesterday but without Sir Arthur Evans’ heavy, imaginative reconstruction everywhere. This site was positively bristling with polythyra, also known as pier–and–door partitions, a distinctly Minoan style of double doors on pylons that seems very effective – more ancient civilizations should have adopted this approach! The palace was destroyed around 1750 BCE by earthquakes and later rebuilt on a smaller scale, and what survives is very similar to the palace we saw yesterday. We made a quick pit stop at the snack bar on the site for lunch before hopping back on the bus.
We visited two sites after lunch, the first of which was Ayia Triada, a settlement that was used in various capacities from the Neolithic period through the 13th century CE. This site is noteworthy for the Late Minoan 1 villa that stands here, where the famous Harvester Vase was found alongside over 130 seals and several tablets with Linear A script. A set of storefronts stand in a row on the north side of the site as well. Our second stop of the afternoon was at Kamilari, where we checked out one of the tholos tombs built there during the Middle Minoan 1B period and used through the Late Minoan IIIA2 period. This is extremely late for a tomb like this to be constructed and even later for it to still be in active use, so it’s possible that these tombs were constructed as an expression of local traditions and a sign of resistance against palatial authority. After we wrapped up at Kamilari, we returned to the bus and arrived in Agios Nikolaos for the night.
Mortise and Tenon (Tim and Shania)