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In addition to the renowned palaces, a number of mansions were also built in Minoan Crete. A prominent example is the Vathypetro mansion, at Piso Livadia site, 4km north of Archanes, on the southeast slope of Mt. Juktas.

An archaeological excavation has brought to light a large Minoan building dating back to the first half of the 16th century B.C. It very possibly housed a local lord and features typical elements of palatial architecture of the time.

According to recent research, it comprised two structures constituting a single unit, since the eastern part was added later. The initial, west building (Later Minoan Period I/ 1600-1480 B.C.) featured an impressive western façade and possibly a second floor. Entrance chambers with skylights, water tanks, a crypt on pillars, a tripartite temple with a recess, storage spaces as well as a pottery workshop have been identified. During the second phase (Later Minoan Period II/ 1480-1425 BC), the second building was added and a number of changes were made to the first one - olive presses, storage rooms, pottery rooms, wine production rooms and textile mills. Vathypetro is important because of its architectural detail as well as its obvious contribution regarding the economic activity of that period.

The excavation

The mansion was brought to light by Spiros Marinatos, during an excavation he carried out between 1949 and 1956. Stabilisation and restoration works were concurrent and continued until 1973. One of the restored rooms houses a small exhibition space featuring pottery from the Vathypetro mansion.

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