History

SelladesArtifactsArtifacts from Mouliana Warrior Graves, 12th century BCE. After Xanthoudidis 1904

In his 1904 publication of the Mouliana Sellades tholos tombs, pioneering Greek archaeologist Stefanos Xanthoudidis documents his findings following the tombs’ 1903 discovery and subsequent investigation. He records that the tombs’ artifacts were originally sent to the Candia Museum, now the Herakleion Archaeological Museum, but we know in the intervening decades that a number of objects were moved to newer regional museums such as the one in Siteia. The immediate area around the tombs was noted for undergoing heavy agricultural activity, which is how Tomb A was originally discovered. The tombs are located in a depression between two hills, hence its toponymic designation Sellades (“saddle”), and carved into a ridge consisting of a pale yellow rock (Greek asprougas) commonly found throughout the Eastern Crete Mountain range and quite suitable for tomb construction.

In an attempt to bring a synthetic viewpoint to the funerary landscape of East Crete, Giorgos Vavouranakis (2007) extensively studied tombs around Gournia, Mochlos and Pseira, Palaikastro, and Zakros. The Siteia region warranted his attention, as well, but he based his work on Xanthoudidis’ publication. Paschalidis (2009) also utilized Xanthoudidis’ 1904 report in his examination of chamber and tholos tombs from the Tourloti, Siteia region, focusing mainly on their ceramic repertoire with LM IIIC octopus designs. In the process, he outlines the history of research in the region and clarifies the basic contextual background of the Mouliana Sellades tholos tombs, especially Tomb B, but a comprehensive study of the tombs was outside the scope of his research.