Kythera Island Project

Island connections: a Kytheran landscape looking towards Antikythera and Crete

Cultural and Ecological Dynamics of Island Archaeology

Kythera Island Project logo

Kythera Island Project (KIP) explores the cultural and ecological dynamics of this strategically positioned Aegean island from earliest times until the present, within both its specific nested, regional frameworks (i.e. as an Aegean and Mediterranean microcosm) and from the perspective of island archaeology as a global field for comparative analysis.

KIP’s research is based around an intensive archaeological field survey and also integrates archaeological science (ceramic and metallurgical), GIS, and historical, ethnographic and botanical research. It has drawn together a team of leading international experts from the UK, Greece, Holland, the US, and Canada.

KIP is one of the most sophisticated, as well as largest, projects of its kind currently operating in Greece, and one of the foremost in the Mediterranean as a whole. It has led the way in important methodological innovations, including pioneering roles in the archaeological use of GIS, gridded collection of surface sites to define period-specific extents, analysis, via prospection for raw materials and manufacturing debris, of ancient technological landscapes, and the integration of archaeological survey data with ancient and more recent (Venetian, Ottoman, British and Greek) textual sources.

Surface collection survey near Kastri

In historical terms highlights include the earliest phases of colonisation, the relationship between the island and Minoan Crete (when Kythera was closely integrated in palatial networks), the changing route centrality of the island in Classical and Roman times (including as a pilgrimage destination due to its shrine of Aphrodite), economic, military and ideological integration in the Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman and British empires, and the maintenance of island identity in an age of global diaspora.

Related outputs

The final project publication as a 4-volume work is scheduled for 2012-2015. In the interim project research has generated over 20 articles and papers, as well as  presentations at high profile events including those orchestrated by the British School at Athens (2000, 2011), a series of public lectures across the US (2007) and the UK’s Triennial Classics conference. In addition, KIP is used as major illustrative and analytical case study in James Conolly and Mark Lake’s long-standard textbook: Geographical Information Systems in Archaeolog. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2006).

Selected publications:

  • Kiriatzi, E. in 2011. ‘Minoanising pottery traditions in the SW Aegean: understanding the social context of technological and consumption practices’, in A. Touchais, G. Touchais, S. Voutsaki and J. Wright (eds.), Mesohelladika. The Greek Mainland in the Middle Bronze Age, International Conference, Athens 8-12 March 2006: Athens: BCH Supplement.
  • Krahtopoulou, A. and C. Frederick 2008. ‘The stratigraphic implications of long-term terrace agriculture in dynamic landscapes: polycyclic terracing from Kythera island, Greece’, Geoarchaeology.
  • Bennet, J. 2007. ‘Fragmentary “geo-metry”: early modern landscapes of the Morea and Cerigo in text, image, and archaeology’, in S. Davies and J.L. Davis (eds.) Between Venice and Istanbul: Colonial Landscapes in early Modern Greece (Hesperia Supplement 40), 197-215. Princeton, NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
  • Broodbank, C. and E. Kiriatzi 2007. ‘The first “Minoans” of Kythera re-visited: technology, demography and landscape in the pre-palatial Aegean’, American Journal of Archaeology 111: 241-74.
  • Broodbank, C., T. Rehren and A.-M. Zianni 2007. ‘Metallurgical analysis of material from the 1960’s excavations at Kastri, Kythera’, Annual of the British School at Athens 102: 219-38.
  • Preston, L. 2007. ‘Bringing in the dead: burials and the local perspective on Kythera in the Second Palace period’, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 26.3: 239-60.
  • Broodbank, C. E. Kiriatzi and J.B. Rutter 2005. ‘From pharaoh’s feet to the slave-women of Pylos? The history and cultural dynamics of Kythera in the Third Palace period’, in A. Dakouri-Hild and E.S. Sherratt (eds.) Autochthon: Studies Presented to Oliver Dickinson on the Occasion of His Retirement (British Archaeological Reports International Series 1432), Oxford: Archaeopress, 70-96.
  • Bevan, A. and J. Conolly 2006. ‘Multi-scalar approaches to settlement pattern analysis’, in G. Lock and B. Molyneaux (eds.), Confronting Scale in Archaeology: Issues of Theory and Practice: 217-234. New York: Springer.
  • Broodbank, C. 2004. ‘Minoanisation’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 50: 46-91.
  • Broodbank, C., J. Bennet and J.L. Davis 2004. ‘Aphrodite observed: insularity and antiquities on Kythera through outsiders’ eyes’, in J. Cherry, C. Scarre and S. Shennan (eds.) Explaining Social Change: Studies in Honour of Colin Renfrew (McDonald Institute Monographs). Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 227-39.
  • Bevan, A. 2002. ‘The rural landscape of Neopalatial Kythera: A GIS perspective’, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 15:217-56.
  • Broodbank, C. 1999. ‘Kythera survey: preliminary report on the 1998 season’, Annual of the British School at Athens 94: 191-214.

The KIP website is regularly accessed not only by scholars but also by the Kytheran diaspora world-wide, who regard it as a source of information about their heritage. Discussions are being held with the local archaeological authorities about helping in the display of the planned new archaeological museum on the island.


  • AHRB/C
  • British Academy
  • British School at Athens
  • Institute for Aegean Prehistory (INSTAP)
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • Mediterranean Archaeological Trust
  • National Geographic
  • Society of Antiquaries
  • UCL

Project Leader:

Project Partner:

  • Evangelia Kiriatzi (Project Co-Director)
    British School at Athens


Further information:

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