Jan Driessen

Full Professor of Greek Archaeology (UCLouvain), Head of the Aegis Research Group & Director of the Belgian School at Athens

Aegean Prehistory – Neopalatial architecture, impact of the LBA Santorini eruption on Crete & Minoan society.

Email : jan.driessen@uclouvain.be See my CV below.


My research on Minoan Crete initially concentrated on Neopalatial architecture, soon to be followed by studies on the archaeological aspects of the Linear B tablets of Knossos. My involvement in different archaeological projects on the island, first through the British School at Athens (Palaikastro, Knossos, Myrtos) then as a Belgian member of the French School at Athens (Malia) as well as a series of studies on the impact of the Santorini eruption on Minoan Crete with C.F. Macdonald, made me realise that, despite a 100 years of excavation, Minoan society remains as mysterious for us as it was for Arthur Evans. Hence my interest for social structure and the attempts to understand the reality presented by the palace. Influenced by Lévi-Strauss and Elinor Ostrom, I have recently tried to approach Minoan society as corporative, based on a locus-bound association of matrifocally organised groups or houses, which, through collective action, collaborated to construct and use the complexes labelled ‘palaces’. By initiating the first ever excavation by the Belgian School at Athens on Crete at Sissi, thanks to the collaboration of the KD’ ephorate of antiquities, I have been able to explore some of these ideas in the field.


Choice of publications/conferences (5 max.)

  • Driessen, J. & C.F. Macdonald. 1997. The Troubled Island: Minoan Crete before and after the Santorini Eruption. Aegaeum 17. Liège: Université de Liège, Histoire de l'art et archéologie de la Grèce antique; University of Texas at Austin, Program in Aegean Scripts and Prehistory (is about to be re-printed).

  • Driessen, J. 2010. Spirit of Place: Minoan Houses as Major Actors. Political Economies of the Aegean Bronze Age: Papers from the Langford Conference, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 22–24 February 2007, Pullen, Daniel J., ed. Oxford and Oakville: Oxbow Books. ISBN 978-1-84217-392-3. p. 35-65.

  • Driessen, J. 2018. "Beyond the Collective… The Minoan Palace in Action", in M. Relaki & I. Papadatos (eds), From the Foundations to the Legacy of Minoan Society. Studies in honour of Keith Branigan, (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology12), Oxford, 2018, 291-313.

  • Driessen, J. 2018. "The Santorini eruption. An archaeological investigation of its distal impacts on Minoan Crete", Quaternary Internationalhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2018.4.019

  • Driessen, J. 2021. "Revisiting the Minoan Palaces: Ritual Commensality at Sissi", Antiquity 95(381), 686-704. https://doi: 10.15184/aqy.2021.30

See all publications on DIAL. See also Academia, ResearchGate and Google Scholar. here.

CV JAN.pdf