Ancient Circular Monument
© Ministry of Culture via InTime NewsThe impressive monument as seen in a Culture Ministry handout photo released on Tuesday.
During excavations for an airport on Greece's largest island of Crete, a large circular monument dating back 4000 years was unearthed.

A statement released by the Greek Ministry of Culture on Tuesday said the structure was a "unique and extremely interesting find".

Resembling a huge car wheel from above, the ruins of the labyrinthine, 1,800-square-meter (19,000-square-foot) building came to light during a recent dig by archaeologists.

The circular monument structure dates back to the Bronze Age Minoan Civilization. It was a civilization that developed on the island of Crete during the Bronze Age and lasted from 3000 BC to 1450 BC. The Minoans were a highly advanced society in seafaring, trade, and the arts. The civilization was named after the mythological king Minos.

The ministry said the building was mainly used between 2000-1700 B.C, and was founded around the time Crete's first palaces were being built โ€” including at Knossos and Phaistos.

It said some of its features were comparable with early Minoan beehive tombs that were surmounted by stepped conical roofs and burial mounds in other parts of Greece.

From Above
© Proto Thema
It is still unknown to archaeologists what the hilltop structure was used for. It has no known Minoan parallels and is currently being excavated. For the time being, experts surmise that it might have served a ceremonial or religious purpose. The ministry's statement said it didn't appear to have been a dwelling, and the finds from inside it included a large quantity of animal bones.

The ministry's statement said, "It may have been periodically used for possibly ritual ceremonies involving consumption of food, wine, and perhaps offerings."

The inner structure, which may have had a shallow conical roof, was divided into smaller, interconnecting spaces and surrounded by eight stepped stone walls that rose to a height of 1.7 meters (5.6 feet).

"Its size, architectural layout, and careful construction required considerable labor, specialized know-how, and a robust central administration," the statement said, adding it was certainly some kind of communal building that stood out in the entire area.

The site was earmarked for a radar station to serve a new airport under construction near the town of Kastelli. Greece's rich cultural heritage often results in conflicts of interest during construction projects.

However, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, pledged that the find would be preserved while a different location would be sought for the radar station.

Greek Ministry of Culture

Source: Ministry of Culture via InTime News