Scholars have long been aware of tombs dating to the end of the Bronze Age in the western Siteia foothills between the Mirabello and Siteia bays in East Crete. They have yielded an array of notable finds, including richly decorated pottery and the rare occurrence of both bronze and iron swords along with inhumation and cremation burials in the same tomb. In other words, these tombs straddle the end of the Bronze Age and beginning of the early Iron Age on Crete (ca. 1200 BCE).
Memorable discoveries of funerary monuments began in 1903 with the excavations at Sellades (Mouliana) by Greek Stefanos Xanthoudidis (Xanthoudidis 1904), followed shortly by American Richard Seager at Plakalona (Tourloti) in 1905/1906 (Seager 1909: 286; Betancourt 1983: 52). While there have been subsequent studies of the funerary finds (e.g. Paschalidis 2009 and Betancourt 1983), these investigations have relied primarily on the publication of Xanthoudidis, especially since Seager did not publish his research at Plakalona. Xanthoudidis’ publication, while excellent for its time, is insufficient by 21st century standards. Our new study aims to publish these important artifacts from Mouliana Sellades comprehensively and with modern scientific analyses (pXRF, LiDAR, photogrammetry, organic residue analysis), to make them available to the wider scholarly world. It is part of a larger project to contextualize all of the tomb artifacts from Xanthoudidis’ and Seager’s excavations in the area, finds that are now spread among four different museums in Crete and the USA. Our overarching aim is to answer questions during Postpalatial Crete (ca. 1400-1000 BCE) pertaining to regionalism , cultural hybridization (aka “Mycenoanization”), and the island’s contribution to classical Greece.
Banner photo by Apollonas Kyriakakis, a young amateur photographer whose simple goal is to share the beauty of Crete captured in his own unique way – Crete from Above.