Speires: The Rock Drawings of Iraklia

Speires: The Rock Drawings of Iraklia

Some 25 ancient spiral or circle drawings, engraved mostly on smooth rock surfaces or flat stones, can be seen in various parts of Iraklia.

The spirals, dating to the Early Bronze Age (3000 BC), are usually formed by shallow “fingertip” holes-known as cup marks- and some contain other drawings in between the lines.

The spiral motifs are thought to have been carved with tools made of emery — a hard rock found in abundance in various parts of the island- but their role and function remain unknown.

According to an old popular belief, they were signs left by pirates so that they could come back for the treasures they had hidden on the island.

Later it was thought they were signs by early Cycladic astronomers or even that they symbolized snakes which were thought to bring good luck.

More recently, some archeologists have argued that they signaled a settlement, a graveyard or even a water source. Some are found on dirt roads, which renders them vulnerable to erosion, others are located in inaccessible spots while more still may have not been discovered yet.

A few of Iraklia’s spiral rock drawing can also be viewed at the Archaeological Museum of Apiranthos in

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