Sissi Archaeological Project

The island of Crete is especially known as home of the brilliant Minoan civilization (3000-1200 BC). At about 4 km east from the palace town at Malia, the remains of a 3500-year-old settlement were identified on a hill called Kephali, east of the village of Sissi. Located on the coast and on a crossroad of land routes, the site obviously was of strategic importance. Since 2007, it is being explored by the Belgian School at Athens and especially by the Université catholique de Louvain and the Aegis research group.

Building CD, room 3.1. LM IIIB chimney

The first 5-year campaign (2007-2011, followed by study) managed to bring to light part of a cemetery and different well-preserved buildings of which the finds suggest a variety of domestic, artisanal and cultic activities, but also evidence for social gatherings. Every phase of the Bronze Age is well-presented but in particular, a large complex on the summit of the hill dating to the 13th BC. (Late Minoan IIIB), is of a size and an organization hitherto unique. Moreover, on the southeast terrace of the hill, excavation in 2011 revealed part of a building constructed around a central court measuring c. 10 by 21 m, dating to the 17th-16th c. BC. This could well be a small central building or palace which would be a surprising discovery in view of the presence of a large, contemporary palace at nearby Malia. The new 5-year excavation program, planned to start in 2015, will concentrate on this new building.

Building CD, room 4.15. LM IIIB Khaniote stirrup jar

The project uses a whole range of scientific disciplines including of course archaeological survey and excavation but also georadar, aerial photography, topography and GIS, geoarchaeology, micromorphology, physical anthropology, archaeozoology, palaeobotany, ceramic studies, petrography. More information on the project can be found on the website or in our publications.

Building CD