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3000-year-old Minoan graves uncovered

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Archaeologists working at a site in the Greek island of Crete have uncovered ancient Minoan tombs that dated back some 3000 years, the country’s culture ministry says.

The tombs form part of a cemetery connected to a palace belonging to the early and middle Minoans (2,000-1,700 BC), a Bronze Age civilisation that 19th century archaeologists linked to the ancient Greek myth of King Minos and the minotaur who roamed the labyrinth beneath the palace of Knossos, devouring sacrificial youths sent from the recently-conquered Athens.

The latest two graves of the 21 that were uncovered at the Petras palace site, near Siteia, were found to be filled with ivory seals, golden jewellery and semi-precious gems of exceptional beauty, as well as stone cups and small clay statues decorated in the middle Minoan style.

“The amount of pottery is also very important and includes a very large number of decorated ritual vases,” read the statement.

Until now, 17 monumental tombs have been found and studied, as well as a stone engraving, three pits and two extensive ritual spaces.

Over the last few years, archaeologists digging in the Petras graveyard have found many gold and silver jewels, copper tools, more than 200 stone cups, 65 ivory seals, two signet rings and a huge number of small ceremonial statues.

They have also found human remains that give valuable information on the anatomy of the Minoan man.

The site at Petras, in northeastern Crete, was built on a 40m high hill in the early Minoan period (2,800-1,800 BC), though there is evidence that it had been inhabited since the late neolithic (3,500 BC).

Found in: http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/3000yearold-minoan-graves-uncovered/news-story/0ff977692ff6715a66a83fa08fc5d14e