Rare Finds

Rare FindsPotteryMetal ObjectsJewelryStone ObjectsOther


The ivory pyxis is one of the rarest finds in the history of Minoan archaeology. Dated to the LM IB period, it depicts a Minoan religious scene showing the epiphany of the Minoan Goddess sitting beneath an olive tree shrine, extending a lily to an approaching individual, possibly a male ancestor figure who in turn leads another male and two females, potentially priestesses who both wear flounced skirts. Within the pyxis, eighty amethyst beads accompanied an assortment of carnelian, lapis lazuli, and glass paste beads that made up at least two necklaces.


The trident is an LM IB bronze fishing tool that was both functional as well as symbolic. In later periods of Greek history, the trident becomes the symbol of Poseidon, the god of the sea, but during the Minoan period, it certainly symbolized the Minoan familiarity with the sea and its resources. This trident preserves its rivet hole for mounting it on a pole, the barbs for keeping its quarry on the trident after it is thrown, and a separate rivet, from which a rope might have been attached, for pulling the tool and prey back into the boat or onto shore.


The sistrum is a musical instrument most likely produced locally but of an Egyptian inspiration. Because the Minoans frequently voyaged to Egypt during the Neopalatial period, it is likely that they actually saw a sistrum in use during an Egyptian religious festival. This could have influenced them to add it to their own repertoire of instruments, as seen on the Harvester Vase in the Heraklion Museum. The instrument was likely used like a maraca with the sound of a tambourine.