The Minoan Villa of Makry Gialos

In the position "Plakakia", west from the village of Makry Gialos, archeological excavations revealed a villa that dates back to the post- Minoan period. The villa that was revealed is very important for the study of Minoan architecture because it constitutes micrography of a Minoan palace. In the middle of the building there is the big central courtyard, surrounded by the remainder spaces of the villa with slab paved floors and walls covered with mortar, while there is also a western courtyard. In the central courtyard there is a built altar and next to it a stamp stone was found with arepresentation of a holy boat, a holy tree and a priestess. The roof was set with canes and clay, which is exceptionally interesting as it connects the Minoan with the later Cretan architecture, since this method was used until recently for the construction of the roofs of rural stone-built houses. The villa was destroyed by a big fire, as it is proved by the imprints of burned wooden joists and the blackened slab paved floors. The architecture style of the villa, the small number of spaces for domestic use, and the importance of certain findings (figurines, stone stamps and a bowl of Holy Communion), all of which are accommodated in the Archaeological Museum of Aghios Nikolaos, indicate that the villa had a religious character and it is possible that it constituted an important religious centre of the wider region. In the position "Katovigli", in 1976, systematic excavations began under the direction of N. P. Papadakis that were completed in 1980. The ruins of Roman villa were then revealed, that had a bath complex and an outdoor water reservoir. The design of its spaces is quite complicated. Corridors and courtyards function as central axes surrounded by rooms and auxiliary spaces. The floors and the walls of the central rooms are covered with marble plates. The entrance of the villa had a mosaic floor with geometric and plant decor. A large chamber with luxurious floor was probably used as a reception hall. In the south-eastern department of the villa the bath complex was located, also known as "valaneio", with a petal-shaped swimming-pool whose floor and stairs were set with marble. A large mosaic with geometric representations was found in the outdoor space next to the swimming-pool. In the villa there was a system of build pipes, which channelled the water from the reservoirs in the "valaneio" and in the remainder spaces. Between the various spaces of the "valaneio", a room was located which probably had some sort of burrial use, where bones but also entire skeleton were found. The villa was inhabited from the 1st century B.C. until the 3rd century A.D. The cause of its destruction is unknown. The few findings of the excavations are accommodated in the Archaeological Museum of Sitia.