The exhibition outlines the life of three Cretan cities, Aptera, Eleutherna, and Knossos, from their founding and development, to their abandonment and rediscovery, through recent archaeological investigation and excavation.
Approximately 500 artifacts dating from the Neolithic (7th-6th millennium BC) to the Byzantine period (8th century AD), some newly discovered, others from old excavations, most of them never presented to the public before: statues, reliefs, figurines, inscriptions, vases, weapons, jewellery , coins, and other artifacts of various materials—limestone, marble, clay, metal (bronze, iron, silver, and gold), faience, glass, ivory, and semi-precious stones. This is the first time that so many artifacts leave the storerooms of the Antiquities Ephorates and display cases of the museums of Crete for this temporary exhibition in Athens.
Antiquities from each one of the three cities speak of its territory, public and private life, religious beliefs, sanctuaries, and cemeteries, fragments of its historical continuum. A special place is given to artifacts relating to each city’s founding myths and also to personal stories: Soterios from Eleutherna who live and died at Aptera, the young man of Eleutherna who died before knowing love, and the child buried with their toys at Knossos.