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Odigitria Prepalatial Cemetery

Place description

The historic Monastery of Panagia Odigitria on the way to Agiofaraggo hides many treasures. Beyond the monastery itself with its great history and the tower of Xopateras, it conceals another surprise north of the monastery. This is the prepalatial necropolis of Odigitria, named after the monastery, as we still don’t know the name of the town it belonged to.

Today, we can say that the area of Odigitria, the surrounding hills, the area of Agiofarago, and the land of Asterousia till the tip of Cape Lithino, attracted the attention of man who settled here and formed settlements, places of worship, and burial.

The Prepalatial Cemetery of Odigitria, as its name suggests, was developed before the glorious period of the palaces in the early stages of the Minoan era. The necropolis was looted by illegal excavations, like so many other places in Asterousia Range. It was used continuously by the Minoans for about a thousand years. The first formal archaeological excavation took place in 1979-1980 by archaeologist Nota Dimopoulou and was continued by Antonis Vasilakis. The illegal excavations prior to the official one unearthed numerous finds, many of which concluded in the private collection of Konstantinos Mitsotakis, the former Prime Minister of Greece coming from Chania. The rich finds included ceramics, stamps, metal objects made of gold and other metals, and stone tools.

The prepalatial necropolis with the old graves occupies a large area and consists of two domed tombs, rooms for offerings, an ossuary, and a paved courtyard with altars. It is open to visitors and has been maintained by the archaeologists. To find the site, there is a sign inside the monastery.

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