Surface surveys


In 1986 a systematic survey was conducted on the four hills of the site aiming to identify the extent of the Petras Minoan settlement, as well as to locate new sites. A topographic map provided by the Hellenic Mapping Service of 1:5000 scale was used; the survey covered the east side of Hill I, the northwest side, the west foot and the top of the same hill,  Hill II (named Kefala), as well as  Hill IV,  to the south of Hill I. Each hill was defined as a separate sector, divided into smaller parts of 100-500m2. following the morphology of the ground; these were numbered using the Arabic numeric system. Only a 70% of the surface pottery was collected, to avoid altering the picture of the site; also collected were all stone tools other small finds. There was proof of dense occupation on all hills.

The whole surface of Hill I was built. On a plateau of the east slope, on an area free of buildings and traces of recent cultivation, a small part of a wall was located. Further excavation that took place in the same year brought to light part of a big LM IA house (see description of House I.1). The first findings from the east slope of Hill I suggest a sufficiently high standard of living. Except from the clay vessels, which are more than 500, found stone vases, stone tools (grinders, sanders, axes and obsidian blades), dozens of loom weights of various types, some beads and a bronze pin made of twisted wire were also found. South of House I.1 the excavation revealed a curvilinear wall which is the external wall of a second House (House I.2). Furthermore trial trenches on the NW slope of Hill I, ca 50 m from the main excavation, brought to light badly preserved architectural remains of LM IA. On the summit of the hill, on an extended flat area of hundreds m2, surface architectural remains of the same period are preserved. This reinforces the hypothesis that the town planning of Petras is similar with that of Gournia. On its west foot, east of the valley formed by river Pantelis (or Stomion) , a massive fortification wall, fragmentary preserved, was located, built of large rocks, of almost Cyclopean in type (see description of Wall).

On the east side of Hill II many sherds were found, as well as a LM IIIA seal, depicting a wild goat, which indicate the existence of LMI-LMIII settlement in this area. On the top of the same hill, a Final Neolithic settlement was identified. A preliminary study of the sherds collected from this area indicated possible connections with the southern Dodecanese, while a large number of obsidian blades, as well as the cores and other flakes found, demonstrate obsidian processing in situ. On the same hill (Tsakalakis property) a cemetery of house tombs is being excavated since 2004. Furthermore a rock shelter from which human skeletal remains were revealed was thoroughly investigated in 2006. (Hatziyiannis plotD. E. and N. Tsakalakis Property and M. and E. Tsoupaki plot).


In 1988 the survey was extended with the scope of researching the prehistoric occupation of the Sitia Bay at its full extent, from the modern town to the Toplou Monastery. The geographic extent of the area is well identified and there are significant routes of communication towards both the sea and the mainland. During the survey, occupation sites were located at Analoukas and Stavros, as well as at the area of the airport. Apparently, the Neopalatial occupation at the Sitia Bay is comprised by a central settlement at Petras, a secondary settlement at Analoukas, peak sanctuaries at Piscokefalo and Prinias, two villas at Klimataria and Zou, two more settlements at the area of the airport and at Stavros respectively, both at strategic locations in and out of the Sitia Bay, as well as isolated farmhouses  at Hagia Photia, at Asprougas and at Analoukas.

Analoukas is a designated area located approximately 7km. east of the modern town of Sitia, where 3 to 5 archaeological sites have been located. The first of those sites has been previously pointed by N. Platon, it is situated at the area called “Kipi Grigoriou”, and it possibly comprises a neopalatial farmhouse. The second site has been mentioned a few years later by K. Davaras as a Minoan coastal settlement. The site, which was flattened in 1989, preserved neopalatial remains of buildings at an area of approximately 400 sq.m.. The remains constituted of low height walls (0.40-0.60m.) built by small or medium size rocks, as well as a supportive wall around the hill. Several pottery sherds were found at the same location, mostly of house pottery, and also stone tools, sun-dried bricks and ceramic weights. Approximately 1 km. away and southeast of the hill and the beach, north of the road to Palaikastro, and on some barrow, a rockshelter has been located, from which roman sherds (1st-2nd century AD) of several pottery shapes were collected. At the same location, one more site was identified, right across the rockshelter mentioned above, and south of the Sitia-Palaikastro road. The remains belong possibly to some isolated neopalatial farmhouse, which was destroyed during the construction of the modern road. Sherds of house pottery of several shapes were collected, as well as some of finer pottery. The identification of the site with the farmstead mentioned by N.Platon at “Kipi Grigoriou” is not certain. However if there were two different sites with isolated Neopalatial houses then a settlement pattern similar to that of the Agia Photia plain, where at least five farmsteads had been located by surface survey.

Approximately 2.5km east of Analoukas, and 12 km. away of the modern town, at the eastern end of the Sitia Bay, there is the area of Stavros, some high and rocky cape, quite eroded. At the top of this cape there is an open flat and rather extensive area with sparse shrubby vegetation. During the survey at this area very few and badly preserved wall remains were identified, and stone tools and obsidian were collected. Pottery sherds date the site at the neopalatial period. The petrographic analysis showed samples of the known clay from Ierapetra. It is unclear as of the type of occupation at Stavros, however, the high strategic  location, which provides for the control of the Sitia Bay and the Cretan Sea at large, as well as the view towards the Petras hills, the Hagia Photia plain, Analoukas and all the small bays in between, are all of great importance.

At the area of the airport, at the top of the hill, where the modern Sitia is located, the survey did not locate any architectural remains, which, if were preserved until recently, there were definitely destroyed during the airport construction works. However, during the survey, several neopalatial sherds were collected, mostly of house pottery (pithos type, conical cups, etc.). According to the locals, similar sherds have been found at the northeast side of the airport hill, mostly at the area called Kokkina, towards the beach.  The finds of the airport area, which is a high and strategic location at the west end of the Sitia Bay, could be related to those from the Stavros cape as the remains of some settlement to control the sea. 

At the modern town of Sitia, research has provided with few and segmental proof of Minoan occupation dated to the LMIII, which is mostly related to burials. Therefore, it is possible to say that an extensive settlement was not situated here ever; instead, the site was located at Petras, around which a very interesting network of sites, different in type and use, has been identified.


During 1990 the survey was continued to provide for an understanding of the distribution of the neopalatial sites on the mainland of Sitia. Indications were found of neopalatial and metanaktoriki occupation around the LMI villa excavated by N. Platon in 1954 at Klimataria, at the foot of Anemomilia hill, approximately 2km. south of the modern town of Sitia. One more neopalatial site was located on a low hill at the airport area, while there was more research at Analoukas, at the small coastal settlement, the two farmhouses and the roman rockshelter. During the survey, at Asprougas, approximately 1km. east of Petras, a significant source of yellow clay was also found, as well as walls and pottery of the neopalatial period.


©2010 All Rights Reserved.

Developed by Konstantinos Togias.
Powered by Free and Open Source Software.