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DIY archaeology in Crete

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Crete is clearly an island with a lot of history – millennia, in fact. Indeed, it has so much history that it doesn’t know what to do with some of it. The likes of Knossos are obviously going to be popular with millions of tourists:


But smaller, less famous, out of the way sites are a slightly trickier proposition. Sometimes, there may not even be room for a car park, let alone the staff to look after the site.

Take the Minoan settlement near the village of Στύλος (Stylos) in NW Crete. It’s a bit up a hill from the village itself and a bit of trek.

You’ll be able to find it easily if you’re walking though, because there’s a sign. Next to a ‘stock fence’.

Sign for the Minoan settlement near Stylos

All you have to do is undo the string securing the fence, peel it back, go through, re-secure the fence, then up the hill you go to the left, through the flock of sheep, turn right and keep going up until you come to a single building with a green roof.

The green roofed building near Stylos

Now you know you’re in the right place. Because there are no signs, no guidebooks, no nothing to tell you where you are. Which is a shame, because there is actually quite a lot further on up the hill, behind the green-roofed building.

More of the Minoan settlement


Of course, you’re better off reading this web page to find out exactly what.

Things get a little weirder up the hill from the settlement, because there’s actually a Minoan tholos tomb nearby. How do we get there? Well, a little further up the road from Stylos, there’s a grove of trees, behind a proper fence. Look here’s the gate. It’s been padlocked shut. Fortunately, there’s a key attached to it.

The gate to the Tholos tomb

Behind the gate is all the information you’re going to get about the tomb and its excavations. Maps? Not really…

The map of the excavation

So after a bit of wandering around the trees, avoiding (if possible) the cicadas that hurl themselves at you, you might find this:

The dromos to the tomb

Could this be what you’re looking for? Why yes, it’s the δρόμος (dromos or path/route) to the tomb. You knew that, didn’t you?

If you’re plucky enough to pick your way down through the grass and the weeds, this is what you’ll find – a Minoan arched entrance to a tholos tomb:

The entrance to the Tholos tomb

You can just go in. No one will stop you. What's inside? A coned roof with a hole at the top.

The top of the Tholos tomb

You are now standing in something that people made 3,500 years ago. And you will be literally the only people there and may be the only people who will have been there in days or even weeks.

There’s stuff like this all over Crete. Just look and you should find something like this pretty much anywhere. It’s well worth it.

A few pictures of Helsinki

I'm back from learning to be a hacker in Helsinki, which was actually very interesting, particularly with regards to advanced evasion techniques. Thanks to Stonesoft and Harvard for organising it all.

As with most press trips, I didn't get to see much of the host city, but I did get to see a little on the first day. No snow, but Christmas has definitely arrived, as have the Moomins.




Moomins in Helsinki airport

Santorini - you must go!

A church dome in Santorini


Just got back from two weeks in Santorini. It's gorgeous, it really is, and even with two weeks, it's hard to do everything, even though it is quite a small island/archipelago. Oia is probably the most beautiful place I've ever been to, but the Prehistoric Museum in Fira is also a must-see for its Bronze Age frescos.

The islands of Santorini

Looking to the northern islands of Santorini

A church in Oia


Sunset at Oia


Going to Wales for the weather

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Weather in London

Snowy M25

Weather in Wales

View from St David's Hotel and Spa

What's up there then?

Shots of Paris

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We went for a short weekend in November before the EuroStar switched over to St Pancras. Here are some piccies:

The Pompidou Centre from a couple of different angles

The Pompidou Centre

The Pompidou Centre

A few shots of Cardiff

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I went to Cardiff in October and stayed on the bay for a few days. Here are a few shots, cos it's a really lovely place - I can't wait to go back!

The Millennium Centre

Yet more shots of Parga

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Here's the bell tower of a nearby ruined monastery

The Bell Tower

Some more shots of Parga

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Hey, let's try to go daily with shots of Parga! That's better than writing, isn't it?

Valtos Beach

Some shots of Parga

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Well, my definitive guide to Πάργα (aka Parga) is probably going to take a little time to emerge, given my current workload (maybe next weekend though). Here are some photos to keep you going until that delightful day. Click on them to make them bigger.

Parga from the Venetian Castle

Miami nice

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Even when it's a bit rainy, you have to admit Miami is still very pretty

The Doral Resort: a view over the golf course

Yes, I'm on another press trip.

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