The Greek Ministry of Culture announced that archaeologists have discovered large quantities of murex seashells and Minoan-era buildings during excavations conducted by Lasithi Antiquities Ephorate on the western part of the islet Chryssi, a municipality of Ierapetra, eastern Crete.

The great discoveries on the Minoan settlement with a flourishing economy also included ancient tanks built of stone to cultivate marine species.

Greece’s Culture Ministry said that the numerous broken murex shells used to produce purple paint were found in the residences’ rooms, proving that the industrial production of the purple dye was developed even earlier than first thought and later used for Minoan constructions on the island.

“The superficial research conducted in the period 2008-2011 brought to light indications of human activity and settlement from the Bronze Age while the systematic excavation in 2018 and 2019 on Chryssi, carried out by the head of Lassithi Antiquities Ephorate Chryssa Sofianou, unearthed a big building with many rooms which were inhabited without interruption in the Early Minoan to Late Minoan Era,” and particularly around 1800-1500 BC, the Ministry said.

Two of the rooms contained ‘treasures’ with objects made of glass, metal and semi-precious stones. The first one was found in 2018 and is said to have probably been used as a warehouse. It contained a golden ring, 26 golden beads and a golden bracelet, a silver bead, 5 copper ones and a copper ring sling along with a large number of glass beads of various shapes, four of the so-called Egypt blue, 10 from lapis lazuli, one from amethyst and 20 from carnelian, a seal made of agate with the picture of a ship that its stern had the form of an animal’s head and a stone amulet with the shape of a monkey.

In 2019’s excavations another ‘treasury’ was found that included a big saw and three vases, all made of copper. Their total weight was 68 kilos. It is one of the largest found on Crete so far. Inside a vase they also found part of a talent made of tin. A talent made of tin is an extremely rare find, and it is just the second found on Crete.

Archaeologists said that the findings date back to approximately 1500 BC and it is believed that they belonged to aristocratic members of society.


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