Neopalatial Period

Minoan PeriodPrepalatial PeriodProtopalatial PeriodNeopalatial PeriodMycenaean Period
Years3000-1900 BC1900-1700 BC1700-1430 BC1430-1250 BC

The excavation has focused on the LM I town. It has traced its maximum extent north, west and east on the island and has uncovered new streets and houses in the process; it has uncovered a segment of the town on the opposite shore behind the modern village of Mochlos and an outpost of the town at the eastern end of the plain; it has also discovered and excavated its ceremonial center.
The original excavator of the town, Richard Seager, divided the town into four blocks, A, B, C, and D, each separated from the other by a major street. He uncovered most of Blocks A and D and reported on them in his 1909 article in the American Journal of Archaeology. The modern Greek-American excavation has concentrated on the unexcavated areas of the Neopalatial settlement, left behind by Seager, especially in Blocks B and C, where parts of ten houses, four streets, and a narrow alley have been uncovered.

A brief description of the houses along Avenue 2 follows with references to preliminary publications. Their final publication in Mochlos IVA is currently in production at the INSTAP Academic Press and promised to appear soon.

Layout of the Neopalatial Town

House C.1, already partly exposed by Seager in 1908, is one of the latest of the houses to be built in the town. Built immediately after the eruption of the Thera volcano at the end of the LM IA period, it has been identified as the House of the Theran Refugee. Its facade and staircase were built in ashlar masonry and a deep and extensive layer of Theran tephra was found beneath its LM IB floor, proving once and for all that the volcanic eruption did not destroy Minoan civilization. A kitchen was found in the northern part of the house, but it was not possible to excavate the entire house because a large Byzantine building sits on top of it. (Soles and Davaras 1990).

A second house, C.2, also partly excavated in 1908, has been uncovered to the north with two workshops in its basement rooms. The western side of the building, excavated by Seager, lies under the 1908 dump which is not yet removed, so only the eastern side of the house is exposed. Eleven successive floor levels, ranging in date from LM IB to MM IIIB, have been uncovered along the south facade of the house, where a retaining wall was built to support an approach to the house and a small open space, Plateia B.

House C.3, identified as the House of the Metal Merchant, was completed in 2010. It is a large rectangular house of three floors with the main entrance located on the ground floor from the west. It leads into a small vestibule where a staircase leads up to the second floor and a doorway to the right led into living quarters. An interior staircase led down from one of the living rooms to the basement where three magazines packed full of pithoi and other objects were located. Two bronze hoards were found in this house, a merchant’s hoard buried beneath the floor of a room on the ground floor, and a foundry hoard of broken tools and copper ingots which was being stored for re-use in the basement. The former was capped by half an oxhide ingot and contained several intact objects, including a sistrum modeled after an Egyptian musical instrument, and the latter contained eleven different types of tools, including two shapes never before documented in the Aegean, and ingot fragments that originated in Cyprus. (Soles and Davaras 1994, 2011).

House C.4. lies on the eastern side of a narrow alley across from Houses C.2 and C.3. Only its western side was uncovered, but it suggests a similar arrangement as that of House C.3 with basement stories located on a lower level of the hill slope and the main second floor level terraced above it.

House C.6 lies to the north of House C.3 on the other side of an east-west road that separates the two buildings. The northern half of the building appears to have been re-used in the Late Hellenistic fort.

Building B.2, which displays palatial architectural features, is the main ceremonial center of the Neopalatial town. It is separated from Block C by a paved street, running north-south, and from House B.1 to the south, which was excavated in 1908, by a terraced courtyard. Terraced against the hill slope, the building was three-stories high, and because of its terracing, part of each story is still preserved. The main entrance is located in its east facade and leads into a long and narrow vestibule to a Minoan Hall, a rectangular space surrounded by doorways on all sides with a basin against its north wall and a columnar room at its south. The basin resembles a Roman impluvium with two columns that stood along its south face on either side of an offering stone. It was once filled with water and a drain leads out under the floor to the street on the east where decorated LM IB drinking cups were found. A staircase, found intact with 14 steps, leads from a doorway in the east wall of the hall down to two pillar crypts in the basement. A kitchen has been excavated near the center of the building adjacent to a large room that probably served as a dining area, which could be reached via a long corridor that led from a secondary entrance in the building’s west facade. The third floor of the building may be traced beneath the Late Hellenistic fort that runs through the Minoan building incorporating many of its walls into its own structure.

House B.4 lies farther up the street. Its north side was destroyed and overlaid by a Hellenistic building, but its south survived. The entrance on the west side of the street is provided with a monolithic slab of grey-green sidheropetra resembling the threshold of House C.1 and probably dating therefore to a LM IB construction. It opens on a formal entrance hall, provided with ashlar benches, that leads in turn to a hall at the end of which two staircases are located, one leading down to a basement room at the southwest corner of the house and another leading to an upper floor.

C.10 is an unusual building. By no means an ordinary house, it contains at least three different apartments or living units that shared a common kitchen. It also contained more conical cup lamps per square meter than any other building in the town, suggesting that its occupants stayed up late.

At the northwest corner of C.10 the avenue veers to the northeast and passes a number of buildings used for ritual purposes: a small bench shrine where a votive clay foot was found; C.12 where a kitchen was located producing large amounts of solid food; C.10, a two story building, where another kitchen was located producing drink in great quantities; and at the end of the avenue a temenos where olive trees grew in large pithoi placed in a small, open-air court. (Soles and Davaras 2013).