Sphakia Survey

Human activity in a remote and rugged part of SW Crete, 3000 BC - AD 1900

Shepherd, sheep, dog, and snow in the Mountain Desert, Sphakia. June 1987

The Sphakia Survey is an interdisciplinary archaeological project investigating the sequence of human activity in Sphakia, from the arrival of people in the area (certainly by the later 4th millennium BC), to AD 1898, the end of the Turkish period in Crete, using environmental, archaeological, material, and local ('ethnographic') information. Lucia Nixon (Wolfson College, Oxford) and Jennifer Moody (University of Texas at Austin) are co-directors. Simon Price (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford) was project historian; Oliver Rackham (Corpus Christi, Cambridge) was project botanist and historical ecologist. Jane Francis (Concordia University, Montreal) is a co-editor of the final paper publication. We thank the Greek Archaeological Service for permits to do the fieldwork; the Canadian Institute in Greece for their support; and many granting agencies for funding. 

An important goal for our project from the beginning has been the wider dissemination of our results to many different audiences: inhabitants of Sphakia and other people in Greece; the general public, particularly in Canada, the UK, the UK, and elsewhere; students (school, university; and academics and researchers. These audiences include taxpayers who indirectly funded many of the grants that we received. 

The Sphakia Survey website was designed as part of our publication programme, specifically to complement the final paper publication in two volumes by OUP. It includes more than 1000 downloadable hi-res images, many in colour; the Survey video (designed for teaching); pdfs of most existing publications; explanatory text.  This 2024 ‘flat’ website has few links and should last for a long time; it replaces the original 2000 version, which after nearly 25 years had become unusable.  Reactions to online publicity show that we are indeed reaching those wider audiences, as well as the scholarly community.  I am very grateful to the Sustainable Digital Scholarship Service at Oxford for their expertise and support.

Lucia Nixon

Co-director, Sphakia Survey