The LM IA Decorated Lustral Basin at Chania: Ritual and Use (15 min)


Elizabeth Shank, INSTAP Study Center for East Crete


The recently completed reconstruction and display of the LM IA Lustral Basin from Chania, Crete in the new Chania Archaeological Museum enables an examination of this small subterranean room and its decorative fresco program. This is one of only three decorated lustral basins known from the Aegean Bronze Age. The construction of this semiprivate room within a larger palace-like complex at Chania is significant to our study of the purpose of lustral basins and the actions that took place inside of them. In this paper I will examine the fresco program including its one-of-a-kind pillar covered in painted plaster and discuss the use of space and the room’s intimacy to explore what were likely private religious rituals performed in the lustral basins of Late Bronze Age Crete.