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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Phaistos: Bronze age archeological site


 Phaistos(also transliterated as Phaestos, Festos and Latin Phaestus) situated on the fertile Mesara plain in central Crete, it has been inhabited since the last Neolithic period (3600–3000 BCE).The greatest period of influence was from the 20th to the 15th century BCE, during which time, it was one of the most important centers of Minoan civilization along with Knossos, Malia and Zakros. Settlement continued in the Mycenaean era after a brief resurgence in the 7th century BC. The independence of Phaistos was eventually lost when it was won in CA. 180 BC by Gortyn, the Roman capital of Crete.

Tradition attributes the establishment of the Fascists to either Minos, the ruler of Knossos, or Radhamanthys, his brother. The name is derived from Phaistos (Herakles's son or grandson), who was killed by the Cretan King Idomeneus. It was Idomeneus who led the Cretans into the Trojan War and Phaistos is described in Homer's Iliad as 'a well-established city'.

Discovery of Archeologist

The excavation of the site was started in 1900 AD by the Italian Archaeological School and continues to this day. The extensive remains visible today are mainly from another palace. There are two large staircases - the memorial entrance to the main court (14 meters wide) and the entrance to the west court (height 6 meters); A large theater area with nine ranks of stone seats or steps, 24 meters long and with a potential capacity of over 400 standing spectators; The Western Durbar, where the famous bull-games were probably held; Two-walled, circular pits; A lobby with benches; Magazine room; Remnants of light wells; And large apartments, one - the so-called King's Megaran - still with original alabaster flagstones and red plaster interstices.

Among the many artifacts found on the site, the most famous is the Phaistos disc. This clay disc, dated to 1600 BCE, is inscribed on both sides in a spiral pattern with 241 symbols. The disk can be called an ancestor of typography because each symbol was printed separately using a stamp. Despite much scholarly effort and debate, these symbols are unclear. The artifacts of Fistos now reside primarily in the Archaeological Museum of Iraklion, Crete.

Architecture in Phaistos

The first large-scale buildings date back to ca.3000 BCE however it was from 2000 BCE that the main royal residences were based on the site. The first and best palace was built between 2000 BCE and 1700 BCE. This massive Minoan palace was built on a wide plateau at the bottom of three hills 97 meters high. The palace, at its greatest extent, occupied an area of 8,400 square meters and was second only to Knossos in size and importance. Built on three terraces and ranging from one to three stories, it was a magnificent building, with large courts (the largest being 1,100 square meters), colonnades, ladders and light wells so typical of the architecture of the Minoan palace.
It has been suggested that the palace was an administrative, manufacturing and commercial center with storage of goods for religious sites for domestic and foreign trade and religious worship - in particular, that of the Mother Goddess. Some scholars argue that the quality and variety of thousands of ceilings, linear A tablets, and ceramics - in particular, Kamares Ware - would suggest that the palace was something more than a communal gathering place and perhaps the seat of a democratic power. However, archaeological evidence is inconclusive as to the specific role of the palace in the community. Certainly, the grandeur of the buildings and the richness of the pottery suggest a period of great prosperity.

The first palace complex dates back to 1700 BC. The surrounding was destroyed by two earthquakes and the second palace was soon built for the first time. More humble than its predecessor, the second palace was destroyed in 1600 BCE and left until a brief revival in the 16th century BCE, after which the nearby Hagia Triada, the local seat of power under Fascistos Mycenaean and became important for Hagia Triada.


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