Ritual altar with Linear A found at Zominthos

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Archaeologists excavating at Zominthos, a small plateau in the northern foothills of Mount Ida (Psiloritis) on the Greek island of Crete, have unearthed a rare stone libation altar inscribed with the enigmatic Minoan Linear A script. 

Ritual altar with Linear A found at Zominthos
The newly discovered inscribed stone libation altar from Zominthos is carefully
lifted from its hiding place [Credit: To Vima]

The altar, which was found in an excellent state of preservation beneath a stone bench, is unusually shaped in that it consists of three stepped tiers or levels that extend upwards from the base. A small hollow cavity is found on the altar’s otherwise flat surface. 

Hailed as the most significant find of this year’s excavation season at Zominthos, each of the altar’s twelve sides or registers is inscribed with symbols of the Linear A script.

“It is a ritual altar, hence its small dimensions (20×20 cm)”, explained archaeologist Dr. Effie Sapouna-Sakellarakis, who discovered the rare artefact a few days ago during the excavation of the large building complex at Zominthos. 

“The study of the inscription will take time and will certainly be conducted by specialists of the Minoan script in the hope that it will reveal important information about the rituals that took place at Zominthos around 3,500 year ago” she added.

The altar was not the only ritual object discovered at the site this year, which testifies to the sacred character of the complex, which is now unquestionably recognized as a palace. 

For more information on the excavations at Zominthos, visit Interactive Dig Crete: Zominthos Project

Source: To Vima [August 11, 2013]

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