Bronze Figure, Votive Tablet from the Psychro Cave

Psychro, also associated with the Diktaean / Diktaian Cave credited with Zeus' birth, is an ancient Minoan sacred cave in eastern Crete.


Psychro is 1,025 meters above sea level. The cave is located in the prefecture of Lasithi.


The cave was first excavated in 1886 by Joseph Chatzidakis and F. Halbherr. In 1897, Sir Arthur Evans investigated the site. In 1899, J. Demargne and G. Hogarth conducted further investigations. In 1961, J. Boardman published the finds uncovered by these and other illegal excavations.

While clay human figurines are normally found in peak sanctuaries, Psychro and Ida stand out as the only sacred caves that have yielded human figurines. Psychro is also a unique sacred cave for a bronze leg, also known as a votive body part, which is the only votive body part to be found in a sacred cave. More common sacred cave finds at Psychro include stone and ceramic lamps.

Psychro yielded an uncommon number of semi-precious stones, including carnelian, steatite, amethyst, jasper and hematite.

Early Minoan burials took place in the cave.

Psychro's artefacts are now on display at the Herakleion Museum and Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.


Jones, Donald W. 1999 Peak Sanctuaries and Sacred Caves in Minoan Crete ISBN 9170811539

Hellenic Ministry of Culture Retrieved 17 Jan 2006

Minoan Crete Map

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