Rare ancient odeon discovered at remote archaeological site in Crete

Tucked into a mountain-ringed cove in southwest Crete are the ruins of Lissos, an ancient town whose archaeological remains are accessible only by sea or a long hike. Because of its isolation, Lissos had not been investigated by archaeologists for several decades. New work at Lissos, though, has uncovered an odeon, similar to a modern auditorium and indicative of the prosperity of the town.

Previous research showed that Lissos was inhabited long before its name made it into history books in the fourth century B.C. Its location across the Mediterranean Sea from Cyrene, a major ancient Greek city in present-day Libya, likely meant that Lissos was an important stop on Mediterranean trade routes. Structures from various time periods at Lissos are relatively well preserved, including a unique temple to Asclepius, the ancient Greek god of medicine; a residential area; an impressive cemetery with two-story tombs; Roman baths; and Christian churches. Archaeologists have now added an odeon to this list of structures following the first excavation at Lissos in more than half a century.

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