Crete News August 2006 – Page 1

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Samaria Gorge: 14-year-old injured by falling rock

A 14-year-old boy was recently injured by a falling rock in the Samaria Gorge. The boy was taken to the Chania Hospital ICU and operated on to stabilize his condition. He was then flown home by air ambulance, at his insurance company’s expense.

The Forestry Service, which is responsible for the Samaria National Park, says that the rockfall was due to the erosion of the walls of the gorge by heavy winter rains. Geologically, Samaria is composed mainly of limestone which is easily eroded by wind, water and temperature. Eroded rock faces are unstable and rocks can easily drop from them.

In order to avoid accidents in future, two solutions have been proposed:
– avoidance of the dangerous area
– obligatory wearing of helmets by all visitors to the gorge. The helmets will be distributed at the entrance to all visitors.

Museum in Messara

The creation of an archaeological museum in Messara was announced yesterday by the Minister of Culture, Mr Georgos Voulgarakis, at the archaeological site of Gortyn (Gortys). Mr Voulgarakis said that, “I believe that the museum of Messara will very soon be a reality, able to house the rich and important finds from the area. Gortyn needs the support of the State, for the preservation of the ‘Great Inscription’ – one of the most important finds – on the one hand, and for the necessary planned consolidation works in the Odeon on the other.”

Gortyn knew days of glory in antiquity, and today Messara can house all the finds showing visitors how active and how important the area was in times of crisis.

Seeking traces of the Minoans in the Sea of Crete

The oceanologist Dr Robert Ballard and his colleagues have begun archaeological investigations in the sea of Crete, with advanced technological aids such as the “Hercules” robot. This has acoustic sensors, an underwater colour camera and a remote-controlled arm for collecting samples from the sea bed.

Ballard’s team of archaeologists and oceanologists from Rhode island University has collected data from the wider area of the Sea of Crete, which, following the completion of processing at the end of next week, will shed further light on the relationship between the Minoan and the Egyptian civilization.

“Even today, we can’t be sure who the Minoans were. Many people say they were Egyptians. It is my belief that more intensive research must be carried out to determine their origin precisely”, says Ballard. “We are certain that the Minoans had close trade relations with the Egyptians and Syrians. From 2500 BC to 1500 BC, Aegean shipping spread tremendously, as far as the shores of North Africa.”

“One of the most interesting conclusions of the study is that ship crews from 2500 BC up to 1500 BC in the area of the Eastern Mediterranean were comprised of people of different nationalities”, adds Dr Mary Holinshed, Professor of Archaeology.

According to Dr Holinshed, the Bronze Age shipping model was very similar to the modern one: large ships were used for long distances, while small flexible craft served needs close to the coasts.

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