Knossos 2025 Project
The project has involved raising more than £2.6 million over four years. These donations will fund a complete redevelopment of the Stratigraphical Museum located at Knossos on the island of Crete, and equip the BSA’s Knossos Research Centre to the highest international standards. The BSA has received tremendous support from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports which will be its partner in the forthcoming construction project and its departments, namely the Ephorate of Antiquities of Herakleion and the Central Archaeological Council.
Professor Rebecca Sweetman, Director of the BSA said “This is a very exciting time for Greek archaeology. I want to thank all of our supporters, both large and small, for their generosity, and also our project patron, the author Victoria Hislop. Our four year fundraising campaign had made impressive progress, despite the interruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but was still far from reaching its necessary goal. We are proud to reveal that the major donor whose transformational pledge enabled us to move into the final stage of the appeal during summer 2022 was the Packard Humanities Institute.
Informal discussions with the Packard Humanities Institute on a plan to build a new Knossos Museum remote from the site, go back more than ten years. Although this project did not come to fruition, we were delighted that the PHI offered to switch their support to our new project, providing more than half of the total cost. Their support really has been critical for the project.
The BSA’s long history at Knossos has played an important role in the academic development of generations of archaeologists and we want to protect the site’s unique legacy for everyone. We now embark on the next chapter of its history as the project moves from its fundraising phase to its delivery stage.”
Dr Kostis Christakis, Knossos Curator of the BSA said “These donations will enable us to double the size of the existing Stratigraphical Museum with a new mezzanine floor offering over 700 m2 of study and storage space. This will preserve more than 100 years of artefacts excavated at Knossos and other sites in Crete for study by students and international academics. New laboratory space for ceramic analysis and bioarchaeological research will be created and our collections will be digitised to become an online resource for researchers. The new Museum will also be a centre of academic engagement with local communities, making scientific knowledge accessible to the public.”
Professor Roderick Beaton, Chair of the British School at Athens said “This project will safeguard archaeological research conducted at Knossos during the twenty-first century and beyond. The renewed Knossos Research Centre will provide world-class research facilities for new generations of scholars undertaking innovative and exciting research. It will help all of us to understand the past.”
Knossos is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, the oldest settlement in Europe, and the centre of Minoan civilisation. It is the mythological home of King Minos, the Minotaur, the Labyrinth and the legend of Theseus and Ariadne. Knossos is so widely recognised that the Palace is the second most visited archaeological site in Greece, attracting over a million visitors each year.
The first site excavations at Knossos were conducted by the Cretan antiquarian Minos Kalokerinos in 1878-9 and were continued in 1900 by the famous British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. One of Sir Arthur’s priorities was the safe storage of the finds from his excavations. Initially they were stored on-site and in some spaces in the nearby Villa Ariadne. He then gifted his estate in Knossos to the BSA in 1926 when the post of Knossos Curator was established. The BSA has been associated with the site ever since.
The current Stratigraphical Museum, known affectionately as “The Strat”, was opened in 1966. After over fifty years of intense use, it was in need of a complete refurbishment to ensure the best possible storage and conservation conditions for the precious archaeological materials housed within it.
The British School at Athens
Founded in 1886, the British School at Athens is home to one of the world’s finest libraries dedicated to Hellenic Studies, an archive with holdings dating back to the mid C19th, and its Fitch Laboratory is the leading centre for science-based archaeology in the Mediterranean. As a UK institution embedded in Greece, the BSA promotes and facilitates a global research agenda for the humanities and social sciences in Greece and its wider Balkan and Mediterranean contexts.
The Packard Humanities Institute
The Packard Humanities Institute is a California foundation that supports many projects in archaeology, including the Athenian Agora, Herculaneum, and British work at Butrint.