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Greece finds ‘unique’ Minoan hilltop complex near airport

ATHENS (AFP) – Greece’s Culture Ministry on Tuesday said archaeologists had discovered a “unique” monumental Minoan building atop a hill on Crete overlooking the island’s planned new international airport.

The ministry in a statement said the building had been found on a hill at Kasteli, nearly 500 metres high, that was previously earmarked for the new airport radar.

“It is a unique discovery of particular interest,” Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said, with the ministry statement adding that it is the “first of its kind” found on Crete.

The circular stone building, about 1,800 square metres in size, contains eight “nearly labyrinthine” rings connected via small openings, it said.

The intended use of the complex is still unknown, and may have served a ritual purpose, but saw its main activity between 3,700 and 4,000 years ago, the ministry said.

A large quantity of animal bones was found on the site. The discovery means that the planned radar will have to be relocated, Mendoni said.

The new airport, designed to accommodate 10 million travellers annually, is to be delivered in 2027.

The Minoan civilisation, a naval superpower of the Bronze Age era, flourished on Crete and other Aegean islands until about 1500 BCE.

The ruins of a 4,000-year-old hilltop building newly discovered on the island of Crete. PHOTO: AP