New questions arise about a peculiar 2,800-year-old burial on Crete
Over the past quarter century, excavations at the Iron Age necropolis of Orthi Petra at Eleutherna on Crete, under the direction of Greek archaeologist Nicholas Stampolidis, a professor at the University of Crete, have yielded fantastic finds. In the 1990s, for instance, the cremated remains of 141 aristocratic men—who likely fell in battle abroad and were honored with burials fit for Homeric war heroes—famously came to light. But the latest discoveries, a stone’s throw from the warriors’ collective tomb, have most captivated me because they radically alter our understanding of the role of women, once thought to be “inferior” to men, in the so-called “Dark Ages” of Greece. Successfully evading the archaeologists’ trowels until 2007, a dozen female individuals are now known to represent an incredibly wealthy and powerful female bloodline, the first and only-known discovery to date of its kind in Greece. Read more.
Photo (c) N. Prof. Ch. Stampolidis