The ancient Minoans are best known as seafarers, but excavations at the site of Zominthos, nestled in a plateau on Mt. Ida, Crete’s highest mountain, have shown that they were also highlanders. This important second-millennium B.C. site, located about 1,200 meters (nearly 4,000 feet) above sea level, lies on the ancient route between the palace at Knossos, the Minoans’ primary administrative center, and the sacred Ideon Cave, where many believe the legendary god Zeus was born and raised. Zominthos is the only mountaintop Minoan settlement ever to have been excavated and is yielding groundbreaking information.


Context & Chronology

Excavation History
Upper layer of room 17

Field Notes 2018


A Special Message on the Passing of Professor Yannis Sakellarakis

November 1, 2010

The Zominthos Team is very sorry to announce the death of Professor Yannis Sakellarakis, the excavation’s director. He was one of the world’s most influential personalities in Greek archaeology, and his work on Minoan Prehistory influenced many young archaeologists. He was an instructor at the universities of Athens, Heidelberg, and Hamburg. He gave lectures and presented papers at symposia and conferences around the world, including Oslo, Petra, Tokyo, New York, Oxford, London, Princeton, and Harvard. He received awards from the Academy of Athens, the Technological Education Institute of Crete, and the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation. Also, he was honored with the Gold Medal of the University of Crete and the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor of the Greek Republic.

The excavation will continue uninterruptedly under the direction of his wife, Efi Sapouna-Sakellarakis, and the rest of the team. We will work toward making his dream—bringing the Minoan tranquility to Psiloritis Mountain—come true. Our thoughts and prayers are with Efi during this difficult time.