Minoan Purple Dye Workshops Excavated on Greek Island

Greece Bronze VesselATHENS, GREECE—The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced the discovery of a large quantity of Hexaplex trunculus shells, which were used in the production of valuable purple dye, at a Minoan settlement dating to between 1800 and 1500 B.C. on the now uninhabited Greek island of Chryssi. One large, two-room building in the settlement was equipped with built-in buckets, terraces, work desks, stoves, and a staircase made of stone slabs. Pottery and stone tools were also found in the building, although it lacked the dye-producing shells found in other structures in the settlement. One of the rooms contained treasures including a gold ring, a gold bracelet, gold beads, a silver bead, bronze beads, glass beads in various colors, an amethyst bead, ten lapis beads, an agate seal carved with an image of a ship, and three copper vases. Researchers from the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lassithi suggest inhabitants of this building may have managed the production and trade of purple dye for the entire settlement. To read about a facility for purple dye production unearthed at the site of Tel Shikmona, go to “World Roundup: Israel.”

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