Knossos Gypsades is a synergasia between the Herakleion Ephoreia and the British School at Athens, directed by Ioanna Sepretsidaki (Herakleion Ephoreia), Eleni Hatzaki (Cincinnati), Amy Bogaard (Oxford), and Gianna Ayala (Sheffield) under the auspices of the British School at Athens.
The goal of this interdisciplinary project is to excavate a Knossian ‘neighbourhood’ on the northern end of Gypsades hill, and to chart its history of development through the Bronze Age. Lower Gypsades extends from the enigmatic Caravanserai complex on its northernmost terrace, above the Vlychia stream, to mortuary monuments (Temple Tomb, Gypsades tholos) that perhaps marked the southern boundary of the urban centre. Building on the results of the Gypsades geophysics project, in 2014 we began excavation within a c. two-hectare plot that extends across north-eastern Lower Gypsades in order to reveal the dynamic layout and nature of occupation in an urban neighbourhood.
Figure 1. Drone photo of the 2014 excavation team, Lower Gypsades
Our results will be tied into previous research on the townscape, ranging from Hogarth’s initial excavations in 1900 – revealing the nearby Houses A and B – to the recently completed surface investigations by the Knossos Urban Landscape Project (KULP). Intensive recording of material culture and systematic sampling of bioarchaeological and geoarchaeological sequences is undertaken and dynamically combined with the aim to develop a nuanced understanding of how spaces – both domestic and non-domestic, elite and non-elite, internal and external – were formed, used and ultimately abandoned across a ‘neighborhood’ of Bronze Age Knossos.
Figure 2. Burned room fill with in situ pithos in Trench 1
Figure 3. Charlotte Diffey (Oxford) excavating an ash deposit containing a concentration of pulse seeds in Trench 1
Figure 4. Gianna Ayala (Sheffield), Hannah Gwyther (Sydney) and Evgenia Tsafou (Thessaloniki) conducting in situ magnetic susceptibility measurement, Trench 2
This level of analysis is crucial for understanding the depositional and social contexts of material culture and bioarchaeological assemblages, and hence forms a foundation for further interpretation of consumption and production practices. We also aim to build inferences into the wider productive landscape through integrated analysis of geo/bio- and artefactual assemblages, including targeted investigation of the nature and role of agricultural production through the occupation of northern Gypsades. We hope to address questions such as: how was urban Knossos provisioned, and what broader social and ecological implications should be drawn?