Archanes - The museum
The museum first opened in 1993, and it contains finds from the excavations and copies of finds (for security reasons). The excavation of the Minoan palace in the center of the village of Archanes, as well as the numerous settlements on the slopes and the summit of Mt. Juktas, have yielded some of the most impressive finds from Minoan Crete. The museum is housed in a 19th century neo-classical building that originally served as the village’s first school. The exhibition occupies a single room; the exhibits are arranged along the walls and in display cases in the centre of the room.
Upon entering the room, the visitor should move from left to right. The first six display cases (1-6) contain finds from the Minoan burial ground at Phourni, west of Archanes. The excavation of this burial ground, which was in use for more than one thousand years (2400-1200 BC), has yielded important information on the burial customs of this period since it has uncovered thousands of burials, as well as a wealth of offerings.
In this section, special attention should be paid to the copy of a clay rattle found in Phourni and displayed in case no 4. It is a musical instrument, also known to us from the representation on the so-called Harvester’s Vase on display at the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Other finds from burials in Phourni are displayed in an artificial hollow designed to evoke an underground burial; these include three clay sarcophagi with their covers and three burial urns (commonly used for the burial of children).
Another remarkable section of the exhibition is the one concerning sanctuaries and worship. The most important finds in this section come from the sanctuary of Anemospilia, on Mt. Juktas, west of Archanes. Here the archaeologists found the skeletons of three people who had been killed when the roof and the walls collapsed because of an earthquake, as well as a skeleton tied upon an altar. Apparently, at the moment of the earthquake there was a human sacrifice under way in order to avert it.
Display case no. 9 shows evidence of everyday activities; in display case no. 11 we can see specimens of pottery from the New Palace period, while the theme of display case no. 12 is stone masonry. Display case no. 13 contains shards from clay vases dating from different periods.
Table 1, facing the entrance, represents the excavation of the palace in the Turkish district, while display cases 14-19 contain finds from the palace and from Phourni (ivory objects, fragments of frescoes and libation vessels). The final two exhibits date from the historical period of Archanes (an altar of the 1st century AD and the marble head of a young woman from the 3rd century AD) and testify to the area’s importance in the centuries that followed the downfall of Minoan civilization.
from Explorer Guide Crete
Archaeological Museum of Archanes
Opening Hours: Every day, after appointment by phone