Anemospilia, Ano Archanes, Tourkogeitonia

There are three sites here, all of enormous importance. The so-called “Summer Palace” of Archanes, is visible in parts, though the exceptionally pleasant modern town covers most of it.

The area, known as ‘Tourkoyeitonia’, revealed some wonderful finds; everything from artefacts, such as lamps and vases, to a model of a ‘Minoan’ house, found with the “archive”, along with Linear A tablets. Outside of Archanes itself, lie the sites of Phournoi (fires) and Anemospilia (windy caves). The wife and husband team of Efi and Yianis Sakellarakis have carefully excavated both of these sites.

Phornoi was ostensibly a cemetery between c2,400-1,200 BC, and has 26 buildings. Despite having been looted, an amazing discovery was found at ‘Tholos Tomb A’, within which was found a larnax (an earthenware burial container), containing the body of a woman, with a number of gold rings, and, at the tombs entance, the remains of a horse and the head of a bull. This tomb is highly remeniscent of those found at Mycenae, and seeing as there were no horses on the island until the arrival (sometime in the mid 15th C. BC) of mainland Greeks, and the rich findings within, it’s fair to assume that the body was of a “priestess” or perhaps of “royal” Mycenaean descent.

Anemospilia proved to be an incredible find. Here it was that a human sacrifice was interrupted by what was likely to have been the very reason the sacrifice was performed in the first place. An earthquake, followed by a fire, destroyed the building, some time in the early 17th C. BC, catching for posterity four figures within it. Two of these (commonly referred to as a priest and priestess) were in the process of killing a third, who lay prone on a table. A forth figure is caught, seemingly trying to escape the wrath of the earthquake, in an adjacent hall. The knife used for the sacrifice, can be seen in the Archanes museum, as can a very rare iron (a very rare commodity at the time) and silver ring, which was found on the finger of the “priest”.


Contact us: nature (at)