Secret Tomb Dating Back To Minoan Civilization Accidentally Found By Farmer


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Everything was remarkably intact, with no signs of looting. Greek Ministry of Culture

According to The Greek Reporter, a newly discovered tomb dating back to the time of the Minoan civilization has been unearthed in Crete. It was discovered just below the surface of an olive grove near the town of Ierapetra on the eastern section of the island.

A farmer first discovered the tomb when his vehicle got stuck in the mud under an olive tree. His attempts to free it revealed a carved tombstone, and archaeologists were subsequently called in.


Details are still sparse, but it appears that the tomb is divided into three separate chambers and was blocked by a clay barrier at the original entrance. It contains two adult male skeletons, several carvings, and 24 fancy-looking, well-preserved pots, which, based on preliminary estimates, all date to between 1500 and 1400 BCE.


The Minoan civilization has quite the storied history.

Crete became the center of Bronze Age culture in the Aegean Sea, and, per Encyclopedia Britannica, was representative of a fairly advanced civilization as early as the third millennium prior to the Common Era. Peaking at around 1600 BCE, the Minoans – named after the mythical King Minos of Knossos – built massive cities and developed a unique art and architectural style. They became a seafaring people, reaching as far as mainland Greece and taking their culture with them.

The accidental entrance to the tomb. Greek Ministry of Culture

Things eventually took a turn for the worse. Several incidences – possibly earthquakes, conquering forces from the mainland, or both – ended up leading to the destruction of several of their palaces on Crete, including at Knossos.


Between 1600 and 1501 BCE, a cataclysmic eruption on the island of Santorini (then known as Thera) buried much of the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri beneath 40 meters (130 feet) of ash and pumice. Either the collapse of the caldera into the sea or the generation of vast amounts of pyroclastic material that then fell into the sea produced devastating tsunamis too, which reached Crete.

Although not the only factor that led to the downfall of the civilization, it certainly played a role. Around two centuries after this event, the Minoans were no more.

It's likely the men were fairly wealthy. Greek Ministry of Culture

So where does this new tomb fit into all this drama? Well, considering the fact that it probably dates back to the Late Minoan Period, from 1400 BCE to 1100 BCE, whomever the tomb belonged to lived during the twilight years of their civilization. At present, however, their identities remain unknown, although the high-quality ceramics they were buried with suggests they were fairly wealthy.

It was ultimately superseded by the Mycenaean civilization, who rose to prominence about the same time the Minoans were peaking. You may know the Mycenaeans best from the legendary story of the perhaps mythical King Agamemnon, who was said to have led the Greeks in the Trojan War.


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