Archaeologists have made an important discovery during excavations on the island of Crete. A ceremonial building with religious vessels and objects as well as monuments dating back 2500 years has been excavated in the town of Itanos.
Scientists argue that this shows that the people of Crete held worship services here. Professor Didier Vivier, who leads the excavations together with Professor Athena Tsingarida, stated that the findings show that ritual practices took place in the necropolis.
The ancient building consisted of a large reception hall where memorial feasts could be held. Most of the grounds were occupied by a courtyard with cenotaphs – tombstones to which the relatives of the dead made offerings.
The finds at Itanos have renewed the archeological debate about the lack of burials on Crete during this period, which was previously attributed to the decline of society and the economy. Researchers believe that worship services were held at the site to honor the dead, and the absence of burials may signify a change in social behavior toward death.
A Belgian archaeological mission plans to resume excavations at Itanos in the summer of 2021 to study the necropolis in more detail and restore its landscape.