4,000-Year-Old Building Discovered by Greek Archaeologists at New Airport Location

4,000-Year-Old Building Discovered by Greek Archaeologists at New Airport Location

The discovery of a large, circular, 4,000-year-old stone structure on a mountaintop in Creta is confounding archaeologists and posing a risk to a significant airport project on the popular Greek island.

The building is a “unique and extremely interesting find” from the Minoan civilization of Crete, which is renowned for its opulent palaces, flamboyant art, and mysterious writing system, according to a statement released by Greece’s Culture Ministry on Tuesday.

The remnants of the maze-like 1,800-square-meter (19,000-square-foot) edifice, which resembled a massive automobile wheel from above, were discovered during a recent archaeological investigation.

The location was set aside for a radar station to service a new airport that was being built close to Kastelli town. It is expected to replace Heraklion, Greece’s second-largest airport, when it opens in 2027 and can accommodate up to 18 million passengers a year.

It is still unknown to archaeologists what the hilltop construction was used for. It has no known Minoan parallels and is currently being excavated. For the time being, experts surmise that it might have served a ceremonial or religious purpose.

The inner building, which may have had a shallow conical roof, was divided into smaller, linked chambers and surrounded by eight stepped stone walls that rose to a height of 1.7 meters (5.6 feet).

According to the ministry’s statement, there was a significant amount of animal bones among the discoveries made inside, and it didn’t seem to have been a house.

As per the statement, “It may have been periodically used for possibly ritual ceremonies involving consumption of food, wine, and perhaps offerings.”

According to the statement, “its size, architectural layout, and careful construction required considerable labor, specialized know-how, and a robust central administration,” it was unquestionably a communal building that was unlike any other in the neighborhood.

Archaeologist Lina Mendoni, the minister of culture, promised to protect the discovery while looking for a new location for the radar station.

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The building was established during the same time as Crete’s earliest palaces, such as those at Knossos and Phaistos, were being constructed, according to the ministry. It was mostly used between 2,000 and 1,700 BCE.

Some of its characteristics were considered to be similar to those of burial mounds in other parts of Greece and early Minoan beehive tombs with stepped conical roofs on top. Construction projects frequently encounter conflicts of interest due to Greece’s rich cultural legacy.

An complete hilltop fortified village from the third millennium B.C.E. was unearthed and demolished at the end of the 20th century to make way for Athens International Airport.

According to the government, while construction is underway on the new Kastelli airport and its road links, at least an additional 35 archeological sites have been found thus far.


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