The Mycenaean Tholos tomb at Komiaki

On Naxos exist only relatively few testimonies from the Mycenaean period (approx. 1,700 to 1,150 BC). One of them is the Mycenaean tholos tomb (dome tomb) near Komiakí, one of only three tholos tombs discovered in the Cyclades.

Tholos tombs are typical for the Mycenaean period in Greece. During this epoch most people were buried in sometimes richly equipped shaft or chamber graves; in addition, however, the much more elaborate tholos tombs now appear, which were reserved for the local rulers (lords). The Mycenaean tholos tombs are large stone constructions; they consist of a round chamber with a false dome and a straight passage leading to this chamber. The dome vault is created by the stones protruding inwards towards the top (false dome); a larger stone slab is sometimes used as a cap stone. The domed tombs were often immersed in the ground and always covered by a large heap of earth or stone. The Mycenaean tholos tombs have very different sizes from 1.9 to 15 m inner diameter.

The tholos tomb of Naxos is located near the village of Komiakí in the north of the island in one of the most fertile and green mountain valleys. With an inner diameter of 3.3 m and a height of 2.4 m it belongs to the small tholos tombs.

View to the village of Komiakí in the north of Naxos; the Mycenaean tholos grave is located on the right side of the picture next to the village.

The valley of Komiakí is one of the greenest and most fertile areas of Naxos. The tholos grave is situated in a wine terrace called “Axós” (in the middle of the picture).

The tholos tomb lies under the trees visible in the foreground. Originally, it was completely covered by earth. In 1908 it was discovered by a farmer who worked the field. It . During the excavation no artifacts were found except a few fragments of unadorned, simple pottery: The grave was probably already looted in antiquity.

Tholos tombs consist of a dome-shaped burial chamber covered with a mound of earth or stone and a passage leading to it. Here you can see the 3 m long passage into the burial chamber. On the left you can see a terrace wall of the vineyard.

View into the burial chamber. The large stone covering the entrance is visible; it is 1.5 m long. The east-facing entrance was only 1.15 metres high.

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