Is the strange “labyrinthine” structure found in Crete the labyrinth of the Minotaur? Probably not

During the works for the construction of a military airport in Kastelliin the central area of ​​the island of Crete in Greeceone happened one-of-a-kind archaeological discovery. On the hill of Papoura (494 meters high), where the Greek Air Force radar system should have been built, a very particular structure has emerged, whose shape seems to recall from afar the myth of the Cretan labyrinth.

The archaeologists who intervened have brought to light one large circular structurecomposed of well eight concentric rings of stonefor a total diameter of 48 meters. The innermost of the rings, known as “area A” (as opposed to the rest of the structure, named by archaeologists “area B“) has been interpreted as a circular buildingfrom the diameter of 15 meters. The outer rings are partially linked together by other walls arranged in an irregular radial patternforming a series of environments connected to each other by some narrow passages. The Greek archaeologists who are carrying out the excavation (still ongoing) have defined this plan as almost “labyrinthine“.

But here's where it really is the similarities stop between the structure that emerged on the hill of Papoura and the myth of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur. A dating preliminary of this structure, which up to now has no direct comparison on the island of Crete, was proposed on the basis of ceramic fragments found during the excavation. The chronology would seem to point towards the time “protopalatial” (2000-1700 BC), to use the conventional terminology ofMinoan archaeology.

minotaur labyrinth crete

At the moment the function of this strange structure remains a mystery, although some conclusions can be formulated hypothesis: within the rooms a large quantity of animal boneswhich might suggest a sacred place in which gods were practiced sacrifices and offerings for the deities. Even the same one position of the building would seem to suggest a function religious or ceremonial, on the top of a hill that dominated the area below. In any case, at the moment, it is not possible to establish either the overall plan or the original height of the complex, e.g we will have to wait for the end of the excavation campaign.

The site, for its uniquenesswas judged to be great archaeological interest. Scholars have tried to trace comparisons with some contemporary vaulted tombs present on the island of Crete, but also with structures found on the continent, in particular in Tiryns, in Southern Greeceand in Middle East. At the level of dimensions, to date no comparable building has been found. Given the interest aroused by the context of the Papoura hill, the Greek authorities agreed to move the site for the construction of the military radar system elsewhere.