The Knossos Little Palace North Project is an excavation directed by Dr. Eleni Hatzaki, now at a post-excavation and publication phase. The project aims to provide a diachronic picture of urban activities from excavation by testing stratigraphical and architectural phasing against older excavations, and by defining the nature of occupation and use of space along the exterior of the Little Palace, an elite building located in the public-elite core of the Late Bronze Age town of Knossos. Of special importance has been the application of microstratigraphic and taphonomic analysis where bioarchaeological remains (studied by Drs. Valasia Isaakidou, Alexandra Livarda, and Sevi Triantaphyllou) are combined with ceramic datasets in unravelling anthropogenic and natural formation processes in detail.
Two seasons of excavation (2001 and 2002) took place in the area immediately north of the Little Palace (excavated by Arthur Evans in the 1900s) and northeast of the Unexplored Mansion (excavated by Mervyn Popham and Hugh Sackett in the late 1960s and 1970s). The project is funded by the Louise Taft Semple Fund through the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, and the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, and runs under the aegis of the British School at Athens. Publication is planned in a series of articles at the Annual of the British School at Athens and other peer-reviewed journals.
The project has provided substantial information about the development of the town of Knossos during both prehistoric and historic times. A complex architectural and stratigraphic sequence for the Neopalatial, Final Palatial and Postpalatial periods (1600-1100 BCE) has been revealed which will clarify the history of the Little Palace, especially in providing firmer dating evidence for the fire destruction responsible for the preservation of its sealings and Linear B tablets. The archaeological material recovered is not only important for the study of the LM IIIA to LM IIIC ceramic sequence at Knossos, but also in defining continuity and change in the use of urban exterior and interior spaces during the Final Palatial and Postpalatial periods. Post-Bronze Age levels include activities dated to the EIA, Greek and Roman periods (studied for publication by Dr. Mieke Prent, Stuart MacVeagh Thorne, and Dr. Peter Callaghan). This data will be linked to the well-excavated and published Unexplored Mansion site and the little known Little Palace site, thus providing a better understanding of the development of the Greek and Roman town in this part of Knossos.
During excavation special emphasis was placed on, context recording, architectural and archaeological section drawing, as well rigorous recovery procedures aimed, among other, at intensive bio- and geo-archaeological sampling. One of the project’s aims is to fully integrate the study of artefactual and ecofactual data in order to study site formation processes. Unlike most excavations at Knossos, which have focused on artefactually rewarding interior spaces, the results of the LPN Project allow ceramic and faunal specialists to study continuity and change in the use of external spaces with a high degree of detail. Approaches to the disposal of biodegradable and non-biodegradable domestic waste, and food preparation areas are subjects of particular interest for a period that coincides with major changes in the political, economic and social structures of Knossos and Crete.
Final publication of the EIA levels:
Hatzaki, E., M. Prent, N. Coldstream, D. Evely, A. Livarda, 2008. ‘Knossos, the Little Palace North Project, Part 1: the Early Greek periods’ Annual of the British School at Athens, 235-289.
Preliminary analysis of LM III building remains:
Hatzaki, E., 2005. ‘Postpalatial Knossos: town and cemeteries from LM IIIA2 to LM IIIC’ in A. -L. D’Agata and J. Moody (eds) Ariadne’s Threads. Connections between Crete and the Greek Mainland in the Postpalatial Period (LM IIIA2 to SM) (Italian School at Athens): 65-95.
Brief reports by Hatzaki have also appeared in Archaeological Reports:
‘Little Palace North 2006 study season’ in J. Whitley, S. Germanidou, D. Urem-Kotsou, A. Dimoula, I. Nikolakopoulou, A. Karnava, and E. Hatzaki 2006. ‘Archaeology in Greece 2005-2006’. Archaeological Reports 52.
‘Little Palace North Project 2002 excavation season’ in J. Whitley 2003. ‘Archaeological Reports for 2002-2003’ Archaeological Reports 49: 81.
‘Little Palace North Project 2001 excavation season’ in D. Blackman 2002. ‘Archaeological Reports for 2001-2002’ Archaeological Reports 48: 107-8.