The Archaeological Museum of Siteia opened its gates to the public in 1984, one hundred years after the first official excavations were made in the area by the Italian School of Archaeology.
The collection from the Palace of Kato Zakros is considered to be the largest and the richest one, with a large number of important findings, some of which are masterpieces of the Minoan art. The gold and ivory statuette from the town of Palekastro is considered to be the most famous object of the museum.
It is a complete museum complex, with laboratories, offices for the scientific and administrative staff and the attendants, as well as a small archaeological library. As you enter the main entrance, in the lobby, the tickets office and the book and cards shop are on the right and the toilets are at the front. The exhibition room extends on the right, divided in four units by partition tables offering the visitor informational material in two languages. The findings cover a period of about 4.000 years, from the late Neolithic to the late Roman period. They are principally presented in excavation sets by region. The cases provide information to the guest in five languages. The information is going to be more detailed in the future, without affecting the view of the findings.
The tour starts from the lobby, in the centre of which stands the famous gold and ivory statuette from the Minoan city of Palekastro. It is a masterpiece of Minoan art.
In the second unit are exhibited findings from the palace of Kato Zakros and the area around it: Huge earthenware jars, a large number of embellished vessels and utensils, a jar with colourful decoration and fine pieces of miniature art. Show-case 16 includes a wonderful set of Linear A tablets from the archives of the palace.
The findings presented in the 3rd unit come mainly from tombs sets of the Geometric and Archaic Siteia. In show-case 22 you can see carved tiles and statuettes from the archaic temple depository found in the city of Siteia. In the 4th unit there are impressive Hellenistic and Greco-Roman findings from Ksirokampos, Ziros, Tripitos, the mansion of Makri Gialos, Koufonisi etc.
(Author: M. Hatzipanagioti, Archaeologist).