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Fourni Minoan Cemetery

Place description

The archaeological site of Fourni can be found on a hill with the same name, situated 17km south of Heraklion and southwest of Kato Archanes. To visit the site (which is not always open, but you can contact the guard), you can either walk along the Minoan path that starts from Kato Arhanes and crosses the stunning artificial grove of Fourni, or climb the stairs from the Apano Archanes ring road.

At Fourni, archaeologists have identified a preminoan cemetery (2800BC-2200BC) which is, in fact, the largest prehistoric cemetery in the Aegean Sea. Additionally, more graves have been discovered, dating back to the period between 2200BC and 1200BC. You can also see the quarry from which the materials for the cemetery’s construction were extracted.

Archaeologist Ioannis Sakellarakis began excavations in 1964, and so far, 26 buildings have been uncovered, with most of them being graves. The objects found in these graves suggest that ancient Archanes had strong connections with the Aegean, Egypt, and the East.

Due to its significant findings, Fourni is considered the most important Minoan cemetery on Crete. The most notable discovery was the unlooted sarcophagus of the “Queen,” containing jewelry (over 140 pieces) of immense value and other items believed to accompany her to the next world. Remains of an ox and a horse sacrifice were also found. Many of these findings are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion and the Archaeological Museum of Archanes.


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