Get the most from this page
Phylaki tholos tomb
Phylaki -- the entrance

The LM IIIA tholos tomb was discovered in 1981 a kilometre or so from the village of Phylaki. The tholos is approached by a narrow, deep dromos 11 metres long, carved into the soft rock but left unlined. Inside the tholos the chamber is almost square and in this it resembles another tholos tomb in Western Crete, at Maleme, though not the nearer example at Stylos which has a circular chamber. The chamber measures 3.40 metres by 3.65 metres and it has been carved out of the soft rock known as kouskoura. It has a pyramidal vault. The chamber is lined with well-worked, rectangular, pieces of limestone.

Only a few stones are missing from the tholos where a hurried robbery took place at an unknown date. The largest items were stolen and stones were then thrown onto the floor of the tholos tomb, damaging the smaller items that were left. The tomb was subsequently used by villagers as a rubbish dump where animals -- dead and alive -- as well as the clothes of consumptives were thrown. Its usefulness as a rubbish dump may actually have served to preserve the remaining contents of the tomb from being robbed as well.

Phylaki tholos tomb
Inside the Phylaki tholos tomb

At least nine burials were found in poor condition inside the tomb and there was also evidence of burning, which suggests that animal sacrifices may have taken place in honour of the dead.

The dromos of Phylaki tholos tomb
The dromos seen from inside the tomb

The most important finds in the tomb include: ivory decorations from a wooden box, including the heads of warriors wearing boar's tusk helmets; plaques with sphinxes and wild goats and figure of eight shields; a gold necklace with 21 rosettes of gold; 34 small beads in gold; a gold headband; four silver rings; two stone rings; nine pendants; some bone hairpins; fifteen seals carved in semi-precious stone; 51 small beads of various materials. Also found were amulets and bronze weapons and utensils, though the bronze implements were in very poor condition.

Although the turning to the tomb is signposted from the road which leaves the village of Phylaki in the direction of Kournas, it is not signposted again. The tomb can be found about a hundred metres after taking the turn. On the left there is a dirt track which descends steeply. To the left of this track is a path that leads over even ground to the entrance to the tomb.