Knossos, located on the north central coast of Crete, just south of modern Heraklion, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Although widely known for its Bronze Age (Minoan) palace brought to light by Sir Arthur Evans, Knossos has been occupied from the Neolithic to the present day and has been a major Aegean site for millennia. Investigation of diachronic activity in the area of Knossos has been the aim of the Knossos Urban Landscape Project (KULP), which commenced in 2005 as a collaboration between the British School at Athens, represented by Professor Todd Whitelaw, and the 23rd Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, represented by Maria Bredaki and Dr. Antonis Vasilakis. The KULP involves both new field survey and assessment of earlier work, particularly excavation, carried out in the area of Knossos.


Dr. Antonis Kotsonas, from the NPAP-project, studies the Early Iron Age material from the KULP. The Early Iron Age that extends from the collapse of the Bronze Age palaces in the Aegean to the establishment of the Archaic Greek city-states (circa 1100-600 BC). On the one hand, the work of Kotsonas is aimed at the identification of the pottery recovered from the survey, its classification according to fabric and type and its dating. On the other hand, this material is to be set against the background of previous work on the archaeology and topography of Early Iron Age Knossos.

Primary sorting of the KULP material (preceding his involvement with the project) has shown its strong potential in both respects. Approximately 1.000 sherds of the Early Iron Age have already been identified and this figure, which is surprisingly high by the standards of Aegean surface surveys, is likely to rise following further study of less diagnostic material. At the same time, the plotting of this rich body of material against the landscape of Knossos has revealed that the settlement was much larger than was suggested by previous work, based on excavations, and extended considerably further than previously thought in almost every direction. The emerging picture is to be confirmed and extended by Kotsonas’ work, which will seek to draw the outlines of the site by distinguishing between settlement material and pottery deriving from destroyed tombs and by attributing the survey pottery to shorter phases within the Early Iron Age. This will contribute to a more detailed understanding of settlement development over time and the process of state (polis) formation. Against this background, Kotsonas is going to re-examine the exceptionally rich archaeological record available for Early Iron Age Knossos with the purpose of understanding social and economic developments in this major community within an Aegean and wider Mediterranean context.

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