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Moni Odigitria

Moni Odigitria: A Prepalatial Cemetery and Its Environs in the Asterousia, Southern Crete

Andonis Vasilakis
Keith Branigan
Tim Campbell-Green
Tristan Carter
Doniert Evely
Jane Francis
Flora Michelaki
Kostas Sbonias
Sevi Triantaphyllou
Volume: 30
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: INSTAP Academic Press
Pages: 530
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  • Book Info
    Moni Odigitria
    Book Description:

    This volume presents the final report on the excavation of two Prepalatial tholos tombs and their associated remains at Chatzinas Liophyto near the Moni Odigitria (monastery) in south-central Crete. The grave goods and burial remains include pottery, metal objects, chipped stones, stone vases, gold and stone jewelry, sealstones, and human skeletal material. The results of the associated survey of the upper catchment of the Hagiopharango region are also reported. The book finishes with a reappraisal of our understanding of the early settlement of the Hagiopharango and a Greek summary.

    eISBN: 978-1-62303-003-2
    Subjects: Archaeology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xv-xx)
  5. List of Plates
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  6. Introduction and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)

    This volume presents the final report on the excavation of two Prepalatial tholos tombs and their associated remains at Chatzinas Liophyto near the Moni Odigitria (a monastery), as well as reports the results of the associated survey of the upper catchment of the Hagiopharango region in south-central Crete (Fig. 1).

    The lower catchment of the Hagiopharango was surveyed in 1971 and 1972 by a team led by Keith Branigan and David Blackman. One of the sites recorded in the survey, the Prepalatial tholos tomb at Hagia Kyriaki, was excavated by the same team in 1972 following extensive but incomplete illegal...

  7. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  8. Glossary
    (pp. xxxi-xxxii)

    • 1 Survey of the Environs around the Tholos Cemetery
      (pp. 3-46)
      Keith Branigan, Andonis Vasilakis and Jane Francis

      It is obviously desirable in publishing and interpreting the results of excavations on a prehistoric cemetery to be able to relate the cemetery to the contemporary settlements that it may have served. The lower catchment of the Hagiopharango valley was surveyed in 1971–1972 (Blackman and Branigan 1977), but at that time the northern limit of the survey area was drawn at the Moni Odigitria itself, just 200 m south of the then unknown Early Minoan (EM) tholos cemetery! In order to put the excavated cemetery into its context, therefore, a second survey was undertaken in the summer of 2003...

    • 2 Excavation and Architecture of the Cemetery
      (pp. 47-66)
      Andonis Vasilakis

      The Minoan Prepalatial cemetery near the Monastery of Odigitria, in the broader area of Phaistos, lies halfway between the Mesara Plain and the south coast in South-Central Crete. It is a complex of buildings and other minor structures as well as open areas or courtyards (Fig. 14): two circular tholos tombs, namely Tholos A and Tholos B; a Rectangular Building attached to the east part of Tholos B, with three small rooms (a, b, and c); a Southern Courtyard in front of the entrance of Tholos A and to the northeast; a Central Zone, which lies between the two tholoi...


    • 3 The Pottery Assemblage: Data and Analysis
      (pp. 69-126)
      Keith Branigan and Tim Campbell-Green

      At the beginning of this publication project we were faced with almost 60 boxes of sherds that came from two tholos tombs, which were used for probably many hundreds of burials that were made over a millennium and more. Most likely, the cemetery subsequently had been subjected to sporadic disturbance by stone robbing and agricultural activity, and more recently by tomb robbers. They had targeted the circular tomb chambers, which consequently produced very little pottery, even from disturbed layers, during controlled excavations. These circumstances meant that there would be few if any undisturbed and stratified deposits, and almost certainly no...

    • 4 Interpretation of the Pottery Assemblage
      (pp. 127-144)
      Keith Branigan and Tim Campbell-Green

      This chapter offers further analysis of the data from the study of the pottery corpus as described in Chapter 3. A chronological, spatial, and functional interpretation of the pottery assemblage at the tholos cemetery is systematically discussed below. We first consider the evidence of the pottery for the chronology of the structures and features that comprise the cemetery. Then we discuss the general characteristics and composition of the pottery assemblage. Finally, we try to gain a better understanding of how the pottery in the cemetery was used and deposited.

      Establishing the chronology of the various elements which make up the...


    • 5 Metalwork
      (pp. 147-150)
      Keith Branigan

      Thirty-seven items of metalwork were recovered during the excavations, all made of copper or copper alloy (Fig. 57). Of these, four small items were extremely well preserved with no developed patina and are probably modern intrusions; they are not considered further here. Where “Types” are mentioned these refer to the classification given in Branigan (1974). Herakleion Museum accession numbers (HM) are given for those artifacts that have been registered, followed by context information. Eleven of the artifacts were recovered in 1979 during the excavation of Tholos A, and the remainder came to light in 1980 during the excavation of Tholos...

    • 6 Of Blades and Burials, Flakes and Funerals: The Chipped Stone from Moni Odigitria
      (pp. 151-170)
      Tristan Carter

      The Moni Odigitria burial complex generated 801 chipped stone artifacts, a large assemblage by the standards of other Mesaran tombs.* It is also far more heterogeneous than usual, for, while 474 of the artifacts were made of obsidian, just under half were flaked from a range of cherts, radiolarites, and flint (Fig. 58). The assemblage is interpreted as being comprised of two distinct components. The first is represented by numerous, fragmentary, pressure-flaked, obsidian, prismatic blades that are mainly interpreted as razors (Figs. 59–63), an artifact type that is documented in burials throughout the Mesara and elsewhere in Prepalatial Crete...

    • 7 Stone Vases and Tools
      (pp. 171-186)
      Doniert Evely

      Of the approximately 60 pieces covered in detail in this study (Figs. 73–77; Pls. 47–49), some two-thirds were recovered as small finds in the course of the rescue excavations of the looted tholoi.* They are now stored in the Herakleion Museum with HM registration numbers. The remainder (23) were found in bags while examining the pottery; this set tends to be smaller in size and easily confusable with a sherd when lifted fresh from the soil. These circumstances taken together make it very hard to assess what was found where, let alone when and where they might have...

    • 8 Jewelry and Other Small Finds
      (pp. 187-200)
      Flora Michelaki and Andonis Vasilakis

      The small finds from an excavation demand great care and responsibility during their assemblage from different storage rooms and boxes and in their examination as they are usually very delicate and fragile.* They form an important part of the material culture found in the burial complex consisting of the two tholos tombs, the rooms of the Rectangular Building, and the Ossuary. This section covers all of the grave goods that accompanied the dead and are considered to be “small finds,” though some, such as jewelry and figurines, are of great significance and demanded special manufacturing skills. Here they are described...

    • 9 Seals from the Cemetery
      (pp. 201-226)
      Kostas Sbonias

      The burial complex consists of Tholos Tombs A and B, the Rectangular Building east of Tholos B, and the Ossuary between the two tholos tombs. Two of the areas where the looters dug have been designated as the South and East Pits (see Fig. 15). Table 99 summarizes the provenance of the seals from Moni Odigitria. Tholos A, which was looted and subsequently excavated in 1979, yielded no seals. The main corpus of seals (Pls. 54–70) comes from Tholos B (16 seals) and the Ossuary (23 seals). Eleven seals were found in the disturbed soil of the tomb robbers’...


    • 10 Analysis of the Human Bones
      (pp. 229-248)
      Sevi Triantaphyllou

      Skeletal assemblages that come from multiple burials and commingled bone remains such as the human bones of the Prepalatial tholos tombs in Crete offer a unique opportunity to shed some light on various issues related to the treatment of the deceased and associated practices such as the burial and re-burial of the body and multiple openings of the tomb complex.* Furthermore, additional information can be gathered regarding the biological parameters such as the demographic picture of the population—minimum number of individuals buried and their sex and age groups—and its health and dietary status, as well as the physical...


    • 11 History and Use of the Cemetery
      (pp. 251-264)
      Keith Branigan

      In this chapter we attempt first to trace the history and development of the cemetery from its foundation to its closure. Then we explore the changing ways in which the cemetery was used for burials and other ritual activity over a period of more than a millennium.

      In Chapter 4 the date of the earliest material from the cemetery was discussed. A small number of horned bowls of Partira type made of EM I fabrics suggested that the cemetery dates to the earliest part of EM IA. Additionally, a handful of fragments from horizontally corrugated beakers in Black Burnished Ware...

    • 12 The Hagiopharango in the Early Bronze Age
      (pp. 265-270)
      Keith Branigan and Andonis Vasilakis

      This volume is published almost 40 years after the initial survey of the lower catchment of the Hagiopharango (Blackman and Branigan 1975, 1977) and the excavation of the tholos tomb at Hagia Kyriaki (Blackman and Branigan 1982). It seems appropriate therefore to end this report, which details a survey of the upper catchment and the excavation of two tholos tombs at Chatzinas Liophyto, Moni Odigitria, with a brief reappraisal of our understanding of the early settlement of the Hagiopharango. This reassessment will benefit not only from the discoveries reported in this volume but from other discoveries made in the region...

    • 13 Προανακτορικό Νεκροταφείο Μονής Οδηγήτριας
      (pp. 271-286)
      Αντώνης Βασιλάκης

      Το καλοκαίρι του έτους 2003 πραγματοποιήθηκε συστηματική επιφανειακή αρχαιολογική έρευνα στην περιοχή βόρεια από τη Μονή Οδηγήτριας, προκειμένου να ενταχθεί το προανακτορικό νεκροταφείο των θολωτών τάφων στο σύγχρονο περιβάλλον του. Εξηνταένα ‘χωράφια’ (αγροί), το καθένα έκτασης 100 τ.μ., περπατήθηκαν από ομάδες των δέκα ατόμων. Οι περιπατητές είχαν απόσταση 10 μ. ο ένας από τον άλλο και περισυνέλεγαν αντικείμενα σε ακτίνα 1 μ., που αντιστοιχεί στο 10% του κάθε χωραφιού. Δύο επιβλέποντες κράτησαν την ομάδα σε πειθαρχία και έλυναν τα πιθανά προβλήματα τακτικής, ενώ ένας τοπογράφος εντόπιζε και αποτύπωνε με συντεταγμένες τη βλάστηση και την ορατότητα του εδάφους στο κάθε χωράφι....

  14. Concordance A: Omades, Trenches, Areas, and Strata from the 1980 Excavation of Tholos B
    (pp. 287-288)
  15. Concordance B: Herakleion Museum Numbers and Catalog Numbers for All Types of Objects
    (pp. 289-292)
  16. Concordance C: Catalog and Herakleion Museum Numbers for All Types of Objects
    (pp. 293-298)
  17. References
    (pp. 299-310)
  18. Index
    (pp. 311-316)
  19. Tables
    (pp. None)
  20. Figures
    (pp. None)
  21. Plates
    (pp. None)