Traostalos was first excavated in 1963-1964 under Kostis Davaras. Davaras returned in 1978 to continue that work. A rescue excavation from April to October 1995 was led by Stella Chryssoulaki.
Along with the usual clay human and animal figurines common to peak sanctuaries, Traostalos has, notably, a female figure with a swollen leg. Other finds at Traostalos include ceramic boats and stone altars. See references for a more complete inventory.
Traostalos is one of the highest mountains near the coast of south-east Crete and 14km far from Palekastro Village.Despite its only moderate height (515.4 m), however, the solid, isolated massif of Traostalos dominates the surrounding area, and its summit can be distinguished from afar, both from the sea and from inland (Pl. XIIa).
The highest point of the sanctuary commands an uninterrupted view over the entire east end of Crete, Kasos, Karpathos and the Dionysades islets to the north, and Kouphonisi to the south. It thus overlooks the sea route from the north Aegean to the east Mediterranean.From its summit, the sanctuary enjoys visual contact with almost all the other peaks in the area on which have been found cult deposits, or buildings that served cult purposes. These are, from south to north, the sanctuaries at Ambelos, Korakomouri, Mare, Ziros (Playia),Viglos, Modi, Kalamaki, and Petsophas (Pl. XIIb-XIII). In Minoan times, the historical landscape was bounded by the palace and town of Zakros to the south and the town of Palekastro to the north.Habitation in the immediate environment of the sanctuary takes the form of a scattering of isolated buildings, of which the following are the most important: In 1964, Kostis Davaras partially excavated a Minoan villa at the modern village of Azokeramos on the lower north-western slopes of Traostalos.In the western to south-western foothills stands the megalithic building at Skaphi5 and what is probably a guard-house at Polla Kladia. The densely occupied Chochlakies valley, with a guard-house, probable villa, and settlement, is in the north-western foothills.Mount Traostalos has a distinctive articulation with a series of bare plateaux. This reflects the stepped morphology of the east and south-east coasts of Crete. The bay of Karoumes, the only anchorage on the steep coast, is formed by the north to north-east face of Traostalos, which is known characteristically as ‘Adiavatos,’ or ‘Impassable.’ Habitation in the bay of Karoumes covers a long interval from the Neolithic period to Roman times. The Minoan period is represented by three megalithic buildings and an extensive series of walls and enclosures that change and organise the natural form of the hills.Finally, the coastline between the bay of Karoumes and that of Zakros is of great interest, not only for the important Neolithic occupation of the cave of Pelekita, but also for the systematic quarrying of limestone and poros in Minoan times. There were large quarries atPelekita and Papa i Limnes, and provision was made for transporting the blocks to the palace at Zakros.ApproachesThe summit can be approached by two routes. The first is a built road, now called ‘Skala tou Ayiou Antoniou’12 by the locals. This road, which runs roughly south-north, crosses the western foothills of Traostalos and links Kato Zakros with Palekastro. The second route is apath starting from the village of Azokeramos.The ascent to the plateau on the summit is easiest from the north and north-west, where the contours of the rocky terrain create a series of natural stretches of road, reinforced in places by steps and makeshift walls.Although the line of this ascent has been established, no stretch of road has been discovered that has the quality of construction of the road that led from Anemospilia to the sanctuary on Juktas.