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Prof James Whitley  -  FSA


The Praisos Project, 1992-2013-The Praisos Project is an integrated survey and excavation project focussing on the site and environs of the ancient city of Praisos in Eastern Crete,  famed in antiquity as the city of the Eteocretans (‘True Cretans’). The aims of the project are; first to understand the history of settlement in the region, from Neolithic times until the present; second to understand the urban structure and use of domestic space within the settlement and city; and third to understand how the material culture of the ‘Eteocretans’ differed, if at all, from their Greek neighbours to the North-East and West. It is funded by the British School at Athens; the British Academy; the Society of Antiquaries of London; the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, Philadelphia (INSTAP); the Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; Packard Humanities Institute (for excavation). Its value is £200,000.

For further information please visit the project web pages:

Project publications

Report: ‘Praisos V: A preliminary report on the 2007 season of excavation’. Annual of the British School at Athens 106 [2011]: 3-45.

Contribution to festschrift: ‘Eteocretans and Eteobritons: the intellectual prehistory of the Minoans. In N.V. Sekunda (ed.), Ergasteria: Works Presented to John Ellis Jones on his 80th Birthday, 36-43. Gdańsk: Institute of Archaeology, Gdańsk University.

Article: ‘Identity and Sacred Topography: The Sanctuaries of Praisos in Eastern Crete,’ in Anders Holm Rasmussen and Susanne William Rasmussen (eds), Religion and Society: Rituals, Resources and Identity in the Ancient Graeco-Roman World: The BOMOS-Conferences 2002-2005 (Analecta Romana Instituti Danici Supplementum XL), 233-246. Rome: Edizioni Quasar.

Article: ‘Praisos: political evolution and ethnic identity in Eastern Crete, c.1400-300 B.C.’ in S. Deger-Jalkotzy and I. Lemos (eds), Ancient Greece from the Mycenaean Palaces to the Age of Homer (Edinburgh Leventis Studies 3), 597-617. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Article: ‘The Minoans: A Welsh Invention? A View from East Crete’, in Y. Hamilakis and N. Momigliano (eds), Archaeology and European Modernity: Producing and Consuming the ‘Minoans’, 55-67. (Creta Antica 7). Padua: Bottega D’Erasmo.

Report: (with M. Prent and S. Thorne):  “Praisos IV: A Preliminary Report on the 1993 and 1994 Survey Seasons,” Annual of the British School at Athens 94 (1999), 215-64.

Article: "From Minoans to Eteocretans: The Praisos Region 1200-500 B.C." In W.G. Cavanagh, M. Curtis, J.N. Coldstream and A.W. Johnston (eds) Post-Minoan Crete: Proceedings of the First Colloquium, 27-39. London: British School at Athens.

Report: (with K. O'Conor and H. Mason) "Praisos III: A Report on the Architectural Survey Undertaken in 1992," Annual of the British School at Athens 90 (1995), 405-428.

"Praisos," in J. W. Myers, E.E. Myers and G. Cadogan (eds) The Aerial Atlas of Ancient Crete, 256-61. Berkeley and Los Angeles: The University of California Press.

Pottery Production and Consumption in Iron Age Crete: Knossos and Sybrita, 2005-2009- This project is essentially a petrological (primarily petrographic) analysis of the coarser and plainer pottery from Early Iron Age Knossos and Sybrita in Crete. The study of Early Iron Age coarsewares in the Aegean has suffered from comparative neglect as compared to those of the Bronze Age. The aim is an improved understanding of patterns of production and consumption of the coarse and plain pottery used in everyday life, especially in domestic contexts, in Knossos and Sybrita. It is funded by The Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP) and the British School at Athens. This is a collaborative project involving J. Whitley (Cardiff), Dr Anna Lucia D’Agata (National Research Centre, Rome) and Dr Marie Claude Boileau, of the Fitch Laboratory of the British School at Athens.

More information is available on the British School at Athens website:

Project publications

(forthcoming 2013)
Article (written jointly with M.C. Boileau) True Grit : Production and exchange of cooking wares in the ninth-century Aegean’. For A. Villing and  M. Spataro (eds), Ceramics, Cuisine and Culture: the Archaeology and Science of Kitchen Pottery in the Ancient Mediterranean World (British Museum/Oxbow books, out in 2012/13)

Article (written jointly with M.C. Boileau): ‘Patterns of production and consumption of coarse to semi-fine pottery at Early Iron Age Knossos,’ Annual of the British School at Athens 105: 225-68.

Article (written jointly with M.C. Boileau and A.L. D’Agata). ‘Pottery production in Iron Age Crete viewed in the context of regional and external trade networks: a ceramic petrology perspective’. Bollettino di Archeologia Online: Volume Speciale.

D’Agata, A.L. and Boileau, M.-C. 2009. ‘Pottery production and consumption in Early Iron Age Crete: The case of Thronos Kephala (ancient Sybrita)’, Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici 51, 145-202.

(jointly with M.C. Boileau and A. L. D’Agata): ‘Pottery technology and regional exchange in Early Iron Age Crete’, in P.S. Quinn (ed) Interpreting Silent Artefacts: Petrographic Approaches to Archaeological Ceramics, 157-72. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Transformations in the Mediterranean 1200-500 BC, 2010-2015- This is an umbrella project, run by Professor Manfred Bietak (Vienna) and Professor Hartmut Matthäus (Erlangen), whose purpose is to understand the social and economic processes that led to a ‘connected’ Mediterranean in the Iron Age. The principal aim of the project is primarily to understand the processes by and through which the Mediterranean became transformed (or ‘got connected’). Providing an improved chronological framework is a first step in this understanding. Activities include: workshop in Vienna, January 2008; workshop in Cambridge ‘Bridging the Divide’, 6th-7th November 2009. Dr Simon Stoddart (Cambridge), Dr Alexandra Villing (British Museum) and myself represent the British branch of this largely Austrian/German enterprise.

Research Group

Strategies, Structures and Ideologies of the Built Environment: Regionalism and Continuity in the History and Prehistory of Greece - Research on houses, including excavation of houses at Praisos,  forms part of this AHRB-funded project on houses and settlements in Greece and the Aegean from the Middle Bronze Age to the late Hellenistic period, directed by Nick Fisher and myself and largely conducted by Ruth Westgate. The aim of the project is to investigate the structures of domestic space and the internal arrangement of settlements in three regions of the Aegean (central Greece, Crete and Macedonia) between 2000 and 100 BC.