The ancient workshops excavated in the Malia palace complex, in northeast Crete, have been flooded after heavy rain in the area this week, the Culture Ministry said on Wednesday, with underground pipes unable to channel water away from a nearby field that had been submerged after the storms.
The local archaeological service has called on the mayor of Chersonissos for aid and he was quick to send an excavation machine to help, but the volume of water is simply so great that water has continued to flood the excavation trenches in the site.
The flooding was a result of several factors besides the volume of water, the Ministry said, naming faulty angles of pipe-laying originally and the low-lying altitude of the site. The full extent of damage will be seen after the thick layer of mud brought by the water is removed, it said, after assessing that no wall collapses or other major damage has occurred so far.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, who has been briefed on the issue, said that the Ministry’s services will plan for an extensive new, well-planned drainage network buttressed by low walls, to hold rain away from the low-lying excavated areas, particularly since the nearby road is higher than the site.
“The Malia palace is among the six palaces awaiting inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage Monuments List,” she noted.