Interactive Digs

October 14, 2009

Zominthos Field Notes 2009: Weeks 3 & 4

Area 1
We kept removing stones from the partition wall (the foundation has now been totally unearthed). In the fill at the southern part of floor, we found 12 vessels, most of which were handle-less conical cups, along with a bell-shaped cup, a miniature cup, and a milk jug. In addition, we discovered three grinders, a quartz crystal, some bones, and carbonized wood. Lastly, the excavation continued across the wall of room 14, which had been covered by the fallen stones.

Wall of room 14, area 1

Wall of room 14, area 1

We revealed several big fragments of burnt wood, which may come from fallen beams, as well as four cups and many bones. In the meantime, we opened a test trench under the floor of room 15, in order to see if there were any earlier phases. In total, we removed three layers, along with many sherds, carbonized wood, and a few bones. The second layer mainly contained sherds, as well as an accumulation of charcoal and small burnt stones. At the eastern side of the wall—in the passageway of the workshop complex—we found four vessels (three handle-less conical cups and a milk jug) and two grinders.
[imagebrowser id=31] Area 2
We tried to determine whether the courses of stones that were revealed last week were part of a wall or had just fallen there. We removed the surrounding soil, many large stones, and the underlying soil. Although we have not yet finished investigating the area, we think it is likely that this structure formed part of a wall. We also revealed a thick layer of lepidha (decomposed schist), which was used as an insulating material for floors and roofs. We found more than 10 complete vessels (mainly handle-less conical cups), which we removed during the last days of the excavation. In total, during the four weeks of the excavation, we unearthed 51 complete vessels and more than 50 fragmentary ones. Lastly, we uncovered a bronze brooch.
[imagebrowser=32] Area 3
We opened 14 more trenches this week and found nine vessels (mainly conical cups), ample sherds, and many pieces of carbonized wood. In addition, we unearthed several pieces of plaster, as well as great quantities of bones. One of the most interesting finds was a column base. The excavation that finished this week proved the existence of walls that were shown by the geomagnetic prospection, and helped us complete the existing ground plan for the Central Building.


  1. Elizabeth Kalinowski

    How are the artifacts and buildings so well preserved after such a long period of time?

  2. Costas Papadopoulos Team Member of the ''Zominthos Project''

    The excavation will continue this year in Area 3, so more images will be definitely posted during summer.

  3. Saxon de Kock

    Dear Costas,
    How kind of you to reply. I will make a point of coming to see you if you are still on site. Have a great dig season this year and I hope to have the pleasure of meeting you and your team. Now to start saving to be able to get to my beloved Crete once again!! Kind regards, Saxon

  4. clayton moore

    Were any storage boxes found built into any of the floors, as were found at Knossos? If so, what was stored?

  5. Costas Papadopoulos Team Member of the ''Zominthos Project''

    Dear Saxon,
    Thank you very much for your comments. The excavation will start again in the coming July. If we are still there when you will come back to Crete, we will be more than happy to let you have a tour…

  6. Costas Papadopoulos Team Member of the ''Zominthos Project''

    Dear Clayton, since the excavation is still in progress and we have only excavated a couple of the rooms, we cannot be sure about the use of the rest of the areas. However, it is certain that we will be surprised in the forseeable future…Thanks for your comments!!

  7. clayton moore

    Yes, I can’t wait until work starts up again. This is one of the most fascinating subjects. Thank you for the “Interactive” site, I hope it continues.

  8. Saxon de Kock

    What a fascinating story developing through this amazing excavation site at Zominthos.Thank you for the opportunity to share some of the excitement of the finds and discoveries. I am devoted to the Minoans and have visited Crete four times. I am so interested to know that there were “Highlanders” amongst our sea-faring friends from so long ago. I plan on visiting Crete again in late September/early October this year 2010. Could one make a request to Dr Sakellarakis for permission to visit the site? I would be most grateful. My email address is
    I presume that you will start work again in the Summer? with thanks and keep up the wonderful work and good luck for more terrific discoveries. Saxon de Kock (Mrs.) – Johannesburg, South Africa

  9. Clayton Moore

    There appear to be many rooms. Does the team have any theories as to what these many rooms were used for? (other than the ceramics & pottery rooms, which you have so well described)

  10. Costas Papadopoulos Team Member of the ''Zominthos Project''

    Thanks for your comments Jane. Actually there is a lot of controversy regarding the date of the Theran eruption. The evidence from the stratified finds of Theran tephra and pumice at a number of Aegean sites supports a Late Minoan IA date. We believe, based on the ceramic typologies, that also Zominthos is dated in Late Minoan I phase. However, we cannot be sure at the moment if Zominthos was destructed by the earthquake that destroyed Thera (Santorini) or the Minoan Palaces.

  11. Jane

    Do you believe that this site is one of the Minoan phases, pre-1600 Thera tectonic event…or an early Mycenaean/Minoan site after this event? [As there have been many ‘earthquakes’ [tectonic events] on these islands…..
    Thank you for your information. I enjoy reading your site.
    Jane Richards

  12. Costas Papadopoulos team member of ''Zominthos Project''

    Thanks Kassandra for your interest. As far as close up photos are concerned you can find many of them in the Special Finds Section, in the Glossary of Ceramics and the Video Tour of the Site.

  13. Costas Papadopoulos Zominthos Project Team Member

    Close up photos can be found in the Special Finds Section, in the Glossary of Ceramics and the Video Tour. Thanks for your interest.

  14. Joanne Mann

    Hello, can you please post close ups of objects found? Tell me where to go to see the found objects?
    Thank you very much,
    Joanne mann

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