Ancient Cities of Crete

kriti vene map

Acharna.Archanes Temenous. Archanes is located 15 kilometres south to Herakleion, and 10 kilometres south to Knossos. An inscription of the 5th century BC is the older source where we have the name of the city. This inscription was found at Argos, in the Peloponnese, and it is about the decree between Knossos and Tylissos. The inscription is also talking about the cult of Archon: TEMENOS HAD ACHARNAI AS RULER/LEADER.

The name is in singular. Archanes had never its own currency. However, there have been found in the area, coins of Knossos. This testifies not only that the city was under the rule of Knossos for many centuries, but also that it was not palatial centre. It was not palatial centre, but it was very important since it was an independent and autonomous settlement Priests, priestesses princesses, members of the Mycenean royal family of Knossos were living at Archanes. Archana was the linchpin between Knossos, the temple on the top of mount Yiouktas and the cemetery of Phourni, where there were buried the members of the royal family. Archanes is one of the most important areas in Minoan archaeology. The excavations in the area have many important elements about residential architecture (in the village), burial architecture, and burial habits (cemetery at Phourni). Evans had understood the importance of Archanes because of its close distance with Yiouktas. In 1922, he unearthed interesting ruins from the Minoan period, at the village Epano Archanes. Based on these ruins, he presumed that it was another palace, which was the summer residence of the royal family. The Greek archaeologists Yiannis and Efi Sakellarakis started excavations in the area in 1964. They unearthed buildings of the same period the Minoan palace was built (c.1600 BC). The walls, which are preserved up to 2 metres height, the rest building elements, and the rest mobile artefacts give to it great importance and make it comparable with the palace of Knossos. Not far away, there was found

archive of terracotta tablets in Linear A, and a small terracotta model of Minoan house. The Phourni cemetery and the artefacts found there are very important. The importance of the cemetery is emphasised by the long period use (more than 1500 years use), and by the objects, which were in the tombs. This is the most important cemetery of the prehistoric world, since it has objects from the Minoan and the Mycenean period. In the vaulted tomb A, there is in the side room, a royal burial from c.1400 BC. In the tomb of the princess-priestess, there were found golden rings, necklaces, mirror, bronze objects, ivory footstool, but also skeletons of sacrificed bull and horse. Also, in the main room of the tomb, there is buried a warrior. On golden ring that was found in this tomb and has representation of worship scene, it is written in Cretan hieroglyphics: “ Man who wears belt and asks for plea on a pedestal”. The hieroglyphics are written before the priestess and towards the man who worships. Until today, those hieroglyphics were considered to be flying butterflies. Similar ring was found at Vapheio tomb, but on it, there is written in hieroglyphics the word “zonite”, which is Dorian dialect. The excavations at Phourni unearthed many and valuable artefacts, such as seals, bronze vessels, stone vessels, ivory tablets with relief representations, idols, shrines, and other vessels. Another, important place is the royal temple on the top of Yiouktas. The today name of the mountain is corruption of the ancient one: IYTTOS> IYKTOS> YIOUKTAS.