Metaxia Tsipopoulou (Director Emerita, Hellenic Ministry of Culture), “«Ce qui donne un sens à la vie donne un sens à la mort» (Antoine de Saint Exupéry). The Pre- and Proto-palatial cemetery at Petras, Siteia. (ca 2800-1900 BC)”
At Petras, Siteia, in Northeastern Crete, the archaeological sites extend over two neighbouring hills. Excavations, directed by Metaxia Tsipopoulou, started in 1985 and are still in progress. On Hill I an important Minoan palace and parts of a settlement occupied from the Early Minoan II to the Late Minoan IIIB periods were excavated. On Hill II (or Kephala), a Final Neolithic IV and Early Minoan I settlement, another settlement dated to the Late Minoan III and an extensive Early Minoan I to Middle Minoan II cemetery are being excavated.
Petras played a leading role in the cultural, economic, and religious networks not only of Crete, but also of the Aegean, and beyond, in the Eastern Mediterranean. The cemetery comprises house-tombs with up to 10 rooms measuring between 50-90m, each of them used by an extended elite family. To date 14 house tombs have been excavated and there is a possibility of more. The tombs were unplundered and this fact combined with the modern methods of the excavation, documentation and study by an international group of experts offer a unique opportunity to understand social status and competition in a Pre- and Protopalatial society.