|Summary:||Minoan palace with associated town and cemeteries.|
Middle Bronze Age
Late Bronze Age
Located on the N coast of Crete ca. 34 km E of Knossos, in a small fertile plain near the foothills of Mount Dicte. As at Knossos and other Minoan palaces, the rooms, magazines, and corridors of the palace were arranged around a rectangular central court. At Mallia, however, there were more utilitarian work rooms, storage rooms, and grain silos and fewer luxurious private rooms which gives the Mallia palace more of a country villa or farm estate character.
Associated with the palace are the houses and buildings of a considerable town, paved roadways, and cemeteries, including the Khrysolakko cemetery which has yielded some of the finest examples of Middle Minoan gold work and jewelry.
Mallia is one of the smaller (ca. 8000 sq. m) of the known palace sites and its ancient name is unknown, but it has the best preserved ground plan of all palace sites and extensive well-preserved remains in the associated town.
The site of Mallia was 1st settled in the Early Minoan I period (ca. 3000 B.C.) and the 1st palace construction dates to the beginning of Middle Minoan I (ca. 1900 B.C.). Although the original structure at Mallia had all the essential elements of a Minoan Palace, it was less elaborate and complex that the other known palaces and there was less extensive use of upper stories, light wells, and staircases. As a result, when the great earthquake struck Crete near the end of the Middle Minoan II period (at ca. 1700 B.C.), Mallia suffered less damage than the other palaces and was rebuilt with little alteration. At Knossos and the other palaces, however, there was extensive rebuilding and renovation. The excavations at the palace and town of Mallia, therefore, provide much information about earlier (Old Palatial Period, or pre-earthquake) Middle Minoan architecture.
Mallia, as almost all of the Minoan palaces and sites, suffered a violent destruction and burning at the end of Late Minoan Ib (ca. 1400 B.C.), and was completely abandoned. Only one small building was later built over the site and a settlement of the Geometric period at Mallia avoided the ancient site itself. This later history has helped to make Mallia one of the best preserved and most informative of all Minoan sites.
Discovery and preliminary investigations by J. Hatzidhakis. Excavations: 1922 - present, French School of Archaeology.