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The exhibit

Isopata Tomb. 1450 - 1400 BC

The elegant stone vessels in this case are made of translucent alabaster and imported from Egypt. They were placed as grave goods in a large tomb at Isopata, roughly midway between the Palace of Knossos and the harbour of Katsambas. This was the largest known Late Minoan tomb in the area, but unfortunately it was already partly destroyed before being excavated, and then completely razed during the Second World War. The ten Egyptian vessels accompanying the burials in what is known as the Royal Tomb of Isopata are the largest group of imported stone vessels found in an Aegean tomb of this period, around 1450-1400 BC. Half of them are alabastra, containers for perfumed oils which were used by the Egyptians in funerary rituals, something which the users of the Minoan tomb may have known. The multifaceted commercial and cultural links between Minoan Crete and Egypt are reflected both in the material culture and on the level of ideology and religious symbolism. In this case, the close relationship between the two civilisations is indicated by the Minoan and Egyptian grave goods accompanying the earliest burials in the Isopata Τomb, and also by some architectural features of the tomb which resemble similar features found in Egyptian tombs.
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