Although it seems that the lower terraces along the north-west, the north and east side of the hill were used for burials, work in 2007 focused exclusively on the eastern lower terrace. Here (zone 1) the work was directed by Prof. I. Schoep (KULeuven), assisted by F. Carpentier (KULeuven) and with Dr. I. Crevecoeur of the IRSNB as physical anthropologist and two undergraduate students (E. Mlokie, A. Metallinou). Excavation focused on the lower terrace of the eastern hill, which was used in EM III/MM IA and in MM IIB, but traces of small rectangular structures higher up the slope suggest that the cemetery was considerably more extensive than initially assumed. In recent years, erosion and tourist action resulted in exposing several human bones and ceramic remains on the rocky terrace that flanks the sea.
Surface reconnaissance allowed us to recognize different tomb types: five rock-shelters along the northern slope and at least a dozen built rectangular compartments on the east slope. The same type of structure was recognized on the north-western slope but here no fragments of bone have been located and erosion here seems to have been even more fierce. The rock-shelters show evidence of having been robbed. The 2007 campaign concentrated on those tombs of which the skeletal material was exposed and the area where more or less complete pottery profiles were eroding. We fully excavated two compartments of house tombs that, on the basis of the single cups accompanying the deceased, may be dated to EM III-MM IA. One of the tombs was used for a single individual, the other for at least two. Another compartment of a third house tomb was clearly used for secondary burial, since remains of at least 5 individuals, amongst which at least two infants, were found together in a small space. The lack of sherds does not allow to date this compartment. It is interesting to note that different tombs on the eastern slope testify to different burial practices.
Buffo at Sissi, Zone 1: EM III/MM I burial (photo P. Zintzen)
Further to the north, in close connection to another house tomb, a MM I-II pottery deposit was excavated. This deposit is of great importance because of the specialized nature of the pottery types that occur, most of them being drinking-and pouring shapes. Especially abounding were carinated and straight-sided cups, tripod plates and tripod cups, some of which have close parallels at Malia. The pouring shapes are usually small to medium-sized jugs. Mixed in with the pottery were human bone fragments, mostly long bones but also a few fragments of skulls. A lot of the pottery and some of the bones display evidence of having been broken afterwards in situ and after deposition of the deposit. The precise context of this pottery deposit needs to be clarified during the 2008 campaign. The restricted range of pottery shapes, their specialized nature and the absence of the type of material that one would expect to form part of the clearance of tombs (e.g. absence of stone vase fragments or any other objects) suggest that this is not simply clearance from tombs.
First results : MM I/II pottery deposit associated with human bones in burial area on Kefali at Sissi