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by Archaeology Newsroom

The archaeological landscape of a palace

The palace of Zakro, the fourth Minoan palace of Crete, was discovered during the excavations conducted by Professor Nikolaos Platon from the 1960s to the 1980s. Although this palatial complex is the smallest of those already excavated, namely Knossos, Phaestos and Malia, its primary contribution to science is due both to its good state of preservation and to the extensive appearance of the town surrounding it. The large scale of the excavation – to be published soon by Lefteris Platon – produced ,on the one hand ,a thorough picture of the life and function of the palace, its relations with the town and its commercial transactions with other centers on Crete and abroad.On the other hand it produced a series of significant indications regarding the rural economy of the palatial center and its relevant connections with the broader region to which it belongs geographically and culturally .Athough Zakro had attracted quite early on the interest of geographers-travellers, such as Thomas Spratt, and of the pioneers of Cretan archaeology, Lucio Mariani, Federigo Halbherr and Arthur Evans himself, it had not been systematically and thoroughly researched till recently. The excavator of the palace carried out a series of rescue or trial excavations in the area (mainly graves), while other archaeologists completed the project by excavating a villa, open-air sanctuaries, and a small rural installation. In spite of all the major or minor excavations, the investigation of the broader zone around the palace still remains fragmentary, while the finds, regardless of their importance, cannot in themselves help us picture the inhabitation of the area during successive historical periods.