Incredible Minoan era objects and purple-dyed items found in Crete

The discovery pushes back the date for the human use of purple dye

Large quantities of murex sea shells and Minoan-era buildings were discovered during excavations conducted by Lasithi Antiquities Ephorate on the western part of the islet Chryssi, in the municipality of Ierapetra, eastern Crete.

Ancient stone containers for the cultivation of marine species were also unearthed by the shore.

The Culture Ministry said that the numerous broken murex shells found in the residences’ rooms push the industrial production of the purple dye developed in the early Minoan era to an earlier start date.

“The superficial research conducted in the period 2008-2011 brought to light indications of human activity and settlement from the Bronze Age while the systematic excavation in 2018 and 2019 on Chryssi, carried out by the head of Lassithi Antiquities Ephorate Chryssa Sofianou, unearthed a big building with many rooms which was inhabited without interruption in the Early Minoan to Late Minoan Era,” and particularly around 1800-1500 BC, the ministry said.

Despite their simple architecture, two of the rooms contained ‘treasuries’ with objects made of glass, metal and semi-precious stones. The first one was found in 2018 in a room probably used as a warehouse. It contained a golden ring, 26 golden beads and a golden bracelet, a silver bead, 5 copper ones and a copper ring sling along with a large number of glass beads of various shapes, four of the so-called Egypt blue, 10 from lapis lazuli, one from amethyst and 20 from carnelian, a seal made of agate with the picture of a ship that its stern had the form of an animal’s head and a stone amulet with the shape of a monkey.

In 2019’s excavations another ‘treasury’ was found that included including ancient talents, a big saw and three vases, all made of copper. Their total weight was 68 kilos. It is one of the largest found on Crete so far. Moreover, inside a vase was found part of a talent made of tin. A talent made of tin is an extremely rare find, and it is just the second found on Crete.


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