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Petroglyphs, Inscriptions & Artefacts


The earliest labyrinths are often difficult to date accurately - a labyrinth carved on a rockface several hundred years ago can look no different from an example carved thousands of years ago. Other examples, found on objects recovered in archaeological excavations, can sometimes be securely dated, but despite these problems, we know that the earliest labyrinths to be found in Europe are possibly around 4000 years old. Below are a selection of images of these 'early' labyrinths, with approximate dates of creation, where known.


Coin from Knossos, Crete, c. 270 BCE

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Mogor, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

Mogor, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

Mogor, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Chan do Lagoa, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

Outeiro do Cribo, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

Chan do Lagoa, Galicia, NW Spain
 early Bronze Age, c. 2000 BCE?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Lucillo, Leon, Spain
 Bronze Age, c. 1500 BCE?

Lucillo, Leon, Spain
 Bronze Age, c. 1500 BCE?

Lucillo, Leon, Spain
 Bronze Age, c. 1500
BCE?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Luzzanas, Sardinia

Iron Age or Roman?

Naquane, Val Camonica, Italy

early Iron Age, c. 750 BCE?

Campanine, Val Camonica, Italy

early Iron Age, c. 750 BCE?

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Tell Rifa'at, Syria

age uncertain

Graffiti, Kom Ombo, Egypt
Ptolemaic or Roman?

Tragliatella Vase, Italy
c. 630 BCE

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Clay tablet, Pylos, Greece
c. 1200 BCE

Petroglyph, Tauoz, Morocco
c. 500 BCE?

Detail of inscription

Tragliatella Vase, Italy

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library


© Labyrinthos Photo Library

Rocky Valley, Tintagel, England
probably 18th century CE

Rocky Valley, Tintagel, England
probably 18th century CE

Stora Anrås, Bohuslan, Sweden
 17th or 18th century CE?



For more information about these early labyrinths, you may care to read the article The First Labyrinths in the Labyrinthos Archive section on this website, which explains a little of their complicated and often contentious history.


All of the images on this page (and many more besides) are available in high resolution digital formats for licensed reproduction. For details of reproduction fees and permission procedures, send us an e-mail with details of your planned usage and format requirements.


Coin from Knossos, Crete, c. 70 BCE

© Labyrinthos Photo Library

© Labyrinthos Photo Library