LATE MINOAN CEMETERY AT ARMENOI
The layout of the cemetery seems to have been pre-planned. All the tombs belong to the rock-cut chamber tomb with dromos, with the exception of the unique built tholos tomb no. 200. Unworked stones and pyramidal or slab stelae were erected over the tombs as markers. They were all family tombs, containing multiple burials, either placed directly on the floor or inside larnakes. The grave offerings - pottery, weapons, tools and jewellery - provide us with useful information on art, religion and social organization of the period.
In 1969, two pupils presented to the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon two vases found at the site called Prinokephalo, at the community of Armenoi. Investigation of the area prooved the existence of an extensive Late Minoan cemetery. Since then, the site has been systematically excavated, and more than 220 tombs have been brought to light.
The most important of the tombs of the cemetery are the following:
Tomb 200. It is the only tholos tomb at the cemetery of Armenoi. The dromos, stepped at the beginning, is 4.55 m. long and 1.32 m. wide and the entrance was blocked by a stone slab. A niche has been carved in the side wall. Inside the circular burial chamber, bronze weapons, pottery, beads and an amulet with a Linear A inscription were found. The tomb is dated to the beginning of the 14th century B.C.
Tomb 159. It is the most impressive chamber tomb of the cemetery. The dromos is 15.50 m. long and its outer section is occupied by 25 steps, starting at ground level. A stone bench runs along the four sides of the rectangular chamber and a pillar stands opposite the entrance. Inside the burial chamber an impressive find was uncovered, the remains of a wooden "coffin". The tomb is dated to 1420/1400-1200 B.C.
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