PEATS CRETE – Karphi – Exploring a City in Crisis. Surveying WorkTuring Logo

PEATS CRETE – Exploring a City in Crisis

New Placement! 


Dates: end of June – July 2022
Number of UK Participants: 3
Duration: 30 days


Accommodation: Shared rooms with access to kitchen facilities

Meals: Self catered

Communication: mobile networks readily available (you will need to check with your provider)

Transport: The group will be driven to the area of site, but will have to walk on a rough path for the last 20 minutes or so with the equipment from the last accessible vehicle point. The site is on top of the hill.

Weather: TBC, hotter than UK

This is a new opportunity for a group of UK students to travel to Crete and work with our new partners, HERITAGE. The site is the mountain top city of Karphi. More information to come.

2022 Season- Provisional Itinerary, awaiting permits

Dr Saro Wallace (Senior Research Fellow Gerda Henkel Foundation, 2021-3) has excavated at the prehistoric mountaintop town of Karphi (1200-1000 BC) since 2008; see Permissions have been requested from the Greek Ministry of Culture in 2022 for a short season of mapping and detailed architectural planning at Karphi and the neighbouring larger city of Papoura, c. 1200-700 BC, prior to planned future phases of excavation 2023-25.

The Lasithi plain is a glorious place to spend time – as the largest upland plain in Crete, it has a cooler microclimate and spectacular encircling mountains. Our research team stays in beautiful traditional accommodation looking down on the village at its upper edge. The village has a friendly atmosphere with plenty of cafes and tavernas and all rooms are self-catering. Both Karphi and Papoura require a stiff uphill walk along goat tracks in hot weather to reach the spectacular peaks from which you see the Kera gorge, the northern coast of Crete and Lasithi plain spread out before you in 360 degree beauty.

Full training in architectural planning and surveying is provided and you have the chance to explore being part of the projected excavation team for 2023 and beyond. Full prior briefing about personal items and welfare on and off site is provided before you arrive, and all technical equipment is provided.
We will also be undertaking ethnographic and visitor survey work in connection with our project in 2022, examining attitudes to heritage and landscape among local populations in collaboration with students and graduates from Greek universities and the international NGO HERITAGE, which is a sponsor of our project and the host organization. This work involves researching and preparing information on recreational trails, leaflets and signage incorporating parts of the archaeological landscape, with participation from local people. This work is funded by the AG Leventis Foundation. Consultation and research work among locals will also take place in local schools and other public spaces during the span of the project.

Our team will be 6-7 people in 2022 and the schedule will be up to 3 weeks of participation. An expert lecture and accompanied trip to an ancient site or cultural landscape will be provided during your time with us every weekend of your stay and on one day in the final week. Work runs over 3 weeks 22-26 June, 29 June-3 July, and 6-10 July and a stay of 2-3 weeks is expected for each student joining. Weekends are free and work Monday-Friday runs c. 7am-3pm.
Academic partners in project for 2022:
Professor Krzysztof Nowicki (Polish Academy of Sciences)
Dr Eleni Stefanou (Hellenic Open University)

The group will be assisting the hosts on surface recording and surveys at the site. There will also be lectures and cultural trips organised during the placement. The group will assist the team in mapping and drawn architectural recording at the ancient sites of Karphi and Papoura in Crete in preparation for excavation in 2023. Training will be in Mediterranean prehistory field techniques, with drawn recording of ancient architecture and surveying with an instrument the priorities.


In 1937, the site was excavated by John Pendlebury and his team. Following his death in 1941, the site was not researched until the 1980’s. More back ground information can be found on their website.

In 2008, excavations revealed 4 buildings across the 3ha site. One of these (A1) seems likely to be a little-understood form of ceremonial complex operating in parallel with the ‘Temple’ discovered by Pendlebury; another building/area (B) has rare MM peak sanctuary-related deposits of a little-understood character underneath it, while a third (C1) was a large building located near the newly-discovered fortification wall, its dating suggesting that the site expanded and was fortified in its north sector early on.

On Megali Koprana in the southern part of the site, overlooking the contemporary large settlement of Papoura on the pass to the Lasithi plain, part of a large residential district was revealed. It also seems to to have been founded early in the settlement’s life but was never fortified. The well-furnished house MG1 contains exceptionally rich burnt destruction deposits including fragile wooden beams.

The excavations showed for the first time that the site was widely destroyed, often violently and by fire, at the end of its life. While the site was never re-occupied, the excavations showed evidence of returns to the ruined architecture and tombs for specific ceremonial activities, including open-air cooking. in the 9th to 7th centuries BC. The participants seem likely to have been resident at the emergent regional centre of Papoura, occupied until c. 700 BC (taken from their website).

Turing Funding

The Turing funding covers return UK flights, insurance, accommodation, subsistence (3 meals a day) and internal transport in Crete. Participants must make their own way to and from the UK airport. Please note: flight schedules may still be reduced, so while we do our best to look for flights from airports near to where the participants are, we cannot guarantee that we can use the closest airport. We can only book what is available.