Arkalochori Axe

The “Cretan Hieroglyphic” inscription from Arkalochori

One of the hundreds of bronze double axes collected by Spyridon Marinatos from the Cave at Arkalochori, on the hill of Profitis Hlias, has 15 signs in the Minoan “Cretan Hieroglyphic” script. It is probably dated to the 17th century B.C., after the destruction of the First Palaces c.1700 B.C. and before the eruption of Thera c.1625.

There is also a related inscription on the Malia Stone Block consisting of another 15 signs in the Minoan “Cretan Hieroglyphic” script, published by Fernand Chapouthier, which along with the Arkalochori Metal Axe both serve as an epigraphic bridge between the (in)famous Phaistos Disk and the c.330 inscriptions in the Minoan “Cretan Hieroglyphic” script. All three Minoan inscriptions, the Arkalochori Metal Axe (AMA), the Malia Stone Block (MSB) and the Phaistos Disk (PhD) would seem to be approximately contemporary in date, i.e, from the 17th century B.C.

The inscription on the “Cretan Hieroglyphic” Axe from Arkalochori may possibly start with a Vowel plus –DA- (I-DA-/A-DA-?) perhaps a reference to the Mother Goddess of Minoan Crete I-DA-MA-TE who was worshipped here, between Iouktas to the North, Kophinas to the South, Dikte to the East and Ida to the West.

This Minoan inscription is from the Cave of Arkalochori which seems to have been religious in use from the Pre-Palatial Period and was sacred to the Mother Goddess who was offered votive double axes and swords, including one over one metre in length, the longest votive sword in Europe.