Ancient Minoan society has been a controversial subject ever since Arthur Evans discovered the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete in the year 1900. There is little known about the Minoans" beliefs in the afterlife, but we do know, through archaeological evidence that they did believe in some sort of life after death.
Many historians have their own theories about the burial customs of the Minoans, and due to insufficient or incomplete evidence discovered, it is difficult to determine who is right, and who is wrong. Fortunately we are provided with a basic knowledge of the graves and tombs used, and the various rituals and customs associated with death, although these are still debateable.
During the late Neolithic period in the north and east of Minoan crete, cave burials were the norm. These burials were almost always found in a disordered state with bones of different individuals jumbled together. Marinatos believes that the reason for the disordered state may be similar to modern day Greek burial rituals eg the digging up and cleaning of bones. Blackman and Branigan suggest that these communal burials provide evidence of a clan/ family structure. Often a number of the bones found in cave burials are burnt and this may be due to periodic fumigations rather than sacrificial rituals or funerary meals.
Shortly after these burials came rock shelter burials eg in the valley of the dead, near Zakro. .
Cist graves occur primarily in the northeast ( Zakro and Mochlos), where Cycladic influence was the strongest, and were pits with stone, creating a box for the sarcophagus.
The first type of tombs built by the Minoans were free standing rectangular shaped tombs, better known as "house tombs". There are two broad types of these tombs, the first consisted of long and parallel chambers within a singular rectangular building (Archanes, Palaikastro and Gournes) and the other, consisting of a group of square rooms within a single building (Mochlos, Gournes Palaikatsro).