The materialization of burial ideology in the Minoan community of Porti in the Mesara (Stephanos Xanthoudides’ excavation)

The aim of the project is the preparation of a monograph presenting one of the richest burial assemblages in south-central Crete recovered from the Minoan Tholos Tomb P at Porti (ca. 2700-1700 BC). All finds from the tomb, including human remains, ceramic vessels, obsidian tools, clay figurines, bronze daggers and tools, sealstones and gold jewellery pieces will be published with a theoretically-informed approach.

The study will focus on site-level specifics rather than the macro-scale (Crete/the Mesara valley), in order to overcome past interpretive trends (evolutionism or empirical reductionism and island-wide models). The project’s greatest asset is the interdisciplinary collaborative work which will integrate intra-site analysis with the following scientific methods:

  • Raman spectroscopy on stone artefacts
  • pXRF analysis of metal artefacts
  • osteological study (age, gender, practices of burial deposition)
  • stable isotope analysis (population diet)
  • DNA analysis of human remains combined with radiocarbon dating
Flouda 1
Bronze dagger blade from Porti (Early Minoan period, 3rd millennium B.C.). Drawing by G. Merlatti. © Heraklion Archaeological Museum/ Porti Tholos Project

The generosity of MAT funding expedites this international collaboration of specialists pressing forward the precipice of archaeological methodology. The resulting publication will bring to light the total findings from a nearly century-old excavation.

For further information, please contact Dr Georgia Flouda (Archaeologist, Head of the Department of Prehistoric and Minoan Antiquities, Heraklion Archaeological Museum) on


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