GALATAS - 2007
Residence - Palace - Figurine - Painting - Dress and personal ornament - Stone - Religious building - Public area - Domestic space - Sanctuary - Building Type - Find Type - Material Type - Site Type
Type of Operation
Galatas. G. Rethemiotakis (Herakleion Museum) reports on the 2007 season of excavation at the M palace and town of Galatas, focused on the Neopalatial building 6, W of the ‘Court of the Baetyl’, in particular its N wing. Rock cracks contain sherds of black-polished EM I−II wares. The large structure (500m2) is better preserved to the E, but eroded to the bedrock at the W. The centre of attention was a M hall and adjacent rooms of moderate size. The hall (5 x 3.3m) has a pier and door system at its W, of 5 doors and limestone bases, as well as a portico with a single column set midway between the side walls. Two plaster floors were laid; at the SE corner was a stone-lined pit, with a foundation deposit of vases and a libation table fragment; at the SW, a stone dressed pit apparently for libations. Pottery indicates an LM I (probably LM IA) date for the use of the room; a rectangular table of offerings, of serpentine, had fallen from an upper floor. The surrounding rooms are of moderate size, with one casement for a double staircase leading to the upper floor. Two rooms were located to the E and SE: the first had a single plaster floor, partly preserved. Its destruction deposit had many broken pithoi, part of a large chalice and a serpentine offering table. Its floor, as with the room to the S, was laid over a deep earth fill, small stones and quantities of MM IB sherds. In this, all known types of finewares and coarsewares appear: the prevalence of tumblers and carinated cups (all sizes down to miniatures) suggest drinking ceremonies were practised. A potential ritual aspect is suggested by certain cylindrical vessels, part of a triton shell and 2 animal figurines. The locus for such events could have been the ‘Court of the Baetyl’, where similar finds were re-encountered last year. Accumulations of vases and similar were swept away into rock crevices.
N of the M hall, at the E, was the placement for a staircase. Other than some ordinary vases, the main find was a steatite sealstone: lentoid in form, it has an ‘ibex-headed woman’ in the central position, dressed in a long skirt and with arms on the waist as if dancing. At her sides are birds: one by its long s-shaped neck might be an aquatic bird (?crane), the smaller is arguably a duck. Unparalleled as the design is, it yet must draw upon the world of the divine − a nature goddess, a protector of horned animals and waterfowl perhaps. The next room to the W contained many and varied ceramic vases and a bronze axe of utilitarian sort. Under the Neopalatial floor, destruction debris for the first phase of building 6 dates to the MM IIIA.
Stratigraphically connected to this earlier phase, as well as architecturally, the following room to the W is of great interest: it is a lustral basin. All the essential physical characteristics are present: a short staircase of 2 flights, a floor below that of the surrounding rooms and a paved corridor that impinges on the E side (as that found at Chania a little while back). Here too much timberwork is associated (now carbonized), perhaps a railing; the floor and walls are plastered and painted (the floor yellow with a red band at the foot of the white walls). However, there are differences too from the full Neopalatial basins: the parapet of the stairs, of mud and small stones, is delicate, at only 0.18m w. Probably it was a low partition on the inner side of the stairs. Again, there is no massive pillar terminating the stairs, merely a final post of wood, whose stone support slab remains. These variables are presumably due to its very early date − at the present, the earliest known, excepting something similar at Malia in quartier mu. With typical pottery, mostly cups, from the fill go 2 beads: one an amygdaloid of reddish banded agate, the other a sphere of amethyst. Above the infilling of the basin come vases of the final use of the area: one has a typical LM IB scale pattern.
S of the M hall, 2 unusual structures were revealed: apparently enclosures with walls and artificial terracing inside dedicated to ritual actions. That which faces onto the ‘Court of the Baetyl’ is divided into 2, one lower than the other and containing many vases, mostly cups. The 2nd, to the W, has several small terraces giving access to an inner compartment: this last has a plaster floor, with a stone construction in its SE corner. It is arguably an altar: it has a stone set onto it − dressed and with a hollow suited to receiving liquids, as a jug found near it could indicate. All around, the space was packed with pottery: utilitarian and ritual alike. The latter include cylindrical vessels, miniatures (cups and an amphora), rectangular stands, as well as some human and animal figurines. A roofless house model is of interest: door openings are shown and perhaps horns of consecration at the upper edge.
Unpublished field report: G. Rethemiotakis
Date of creation