The Cretan archaeological landscape is adorned with the ruins of several major prehistoric palaces. The Minoans began building palaces around 6955 BC to act as cultural, religious, administrative, and commercial centers for their increasingly expanding society. The Minoan palaces provided a forum for gathering and celebrations, while at the same time they offered storage for the crops, and workshops for the artists. They were built over time to occupy low hills at strategic places around the island in a manner so complex that they resembled labyrinths to outside visitors. The Minoan palaces were technologically advanced with expanded drainage systems, irrigation, aqueducts, and deep wells that provided fresh water to the inhabitants. The multi-storied palace buildings were laced with impressive interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive columns, storage magazines, and gathering outdoor places -- the precursor to ancient theaters. The construction method consisted of connected by mortar in the interior walls, while the corners of the buildings were fashioned by sharply defined. None of the Minoan palaces unearthed to date was surrounded by defensive walls, a testament to the Minoan supremacy at sea.
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For centuries the Minoans used Tholos Tombs and sacred caves, along with pithoi and larnakes for burial of their dead. Many Tholos Tombs have been found in Crete dating back to prepalatial times.
They were usually round in shape with one short entrance, although tholos tombs rectangular in shape were not unusual, like the ones found in Palekastro, and some were cut into hill sides, while most were free-standing structures. What has survived to date consists of the foundations or the lower part of the walls, so it is difficult to gauge their height or their shape at the top.