Excavation at Minoan cemetery of Petras ‘left hanging’
In a country whose archaeological wealth is one of its main sources of income, at a time when archaeologists make an impressive entrance into the lives of local communities whose support they are counting on to continue their important work, an excavation is now confronted with the danger of being left incomplete. Not for lack of money, but because it seems that a private citizen can obstruct access to the excavation site.
This is the case in the systematic excavation of the Minoan cemetery in Petras, Siteia (Eastern Crete), being conducted since 2004 by Metaxia Tsipopoulou, honorary Head of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. Earlier on, specifically since 1985, Ms Tsipopoulou had excavated the town and the Minoan palace, which since 2006 are archaeological sites open to the public. In 2012, a 5 year excavation programme was approved by the Ministry of Culture and in 2017 the permit was renewed for another five years (2017-2021).
As we are informed by the excavation’s head: “The extensive Minoan cemetery so far consists of 17 large funerary buildings (approximately 80-100 m2) dating from 2800 to 1750 BC. It is to date the largest burial assemblage of that era in Crete and the only one being systematically excavated in its entirety in the 21st century using modern methods of excavation, documentation and treatment of the material.