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Welcome to SARPEDON - the Sissi Archaeological Project

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To see our news, check the Blog section of our website
A short guide to the excavations is now available 


According to Greek legend, Crete was ruled by three mythical brothers, Minos, Sarpedon and Rhadamanthus. Sarpedon is said to have had dominion over the eastern part of the island until he was exiled by his brother Minos. We have adopted him as a symbol for a new interdisciplinary and multi-partner archaeological project focused on the Kefali hill and its environs, located near the modern village of Sissi in east Crete. The Sissi Archaeological Project (S.Ar.P.edon) is a collaboration of the French and Dutch speaking universities of Louvain/Leuven and operates in Greece under the auspices of the Belgian School of Athens (EBSA). This is perhaps the only pan-Belgian excavation abroad and the first time a site on Crete is excavated by the EBSA. Funds are generously provided by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, the UCL and KULeuven, the FNRS and FWO, a series of private donors (see sponsors) as well as the local community of Vrachasi and Sissi. A first five-year programme of excavations took place between 2007 and 2011 and we are now studying the finds for publication.

We sincerely thank the previous head of the KD Ephoreia (, Mrs. V. Apostolakou, and now Mrs. C. Sofianou, for graciously allowing us to do this work, as well as the epimelete, Mrs. V. Zografaki, for a fine collaboration. Ms. S. Michou represented the KD Ephoreia during the 2007 campaign, Ms. L. Manoussogiannaki during the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 campaigns. We would also like to thank the Ecole française d’Athènes and its directors, D. Mulliez and A. Farnoux, for putting at our disposal the apothikes of the dig house at Malia. INSTAPEC and its director, T. Brogan, are thanked for putting site sieves and their photographer at our disposal. Mr. Panos Iossif, secretary of the Belgian School at Athens kindly took care of permits, IKA and other logistic issues, greatly facilitating our work. We now share an apothiki with the Irish Excavations of Priniatikos Pirgos (Dr. Barry Molloy) in Ayios Nikolaos but hope, in the near future, to have our own dig house in the Sissi area.

We are also grateful to the following inhabitants of Sissi and Vrachasi for their help and Cretan hospitality: Christos Mameloukos, Mr. Giorgios Markakis (‘Markogiorgo’ cf., Mr. Michalis Petsalakis (head of the topiko simvoulio), Mr. Aris Rovitis (Sissi Cultural Association), Phaistos Supermarket, Eleni and Kostas Kivernitakis, Anna and Manolis Moulara, the previous mayor of the kinotita Vrachasiou Mr. Giorgios Sfirakis, Mrs. Ismini Ierapetraki, the Zouraris family, Angistri restaurant, the Epano Sissi Restaurants, Zacharias Pension, Panorama Pension, Mia Hara Hotel (Mr. N. Terzakis) and Mr. Vasilis Prineas and Michalis Mameloukos (now at Neromilos) for making site work more agreeable. Check out for Vrachasi news. We also want to thank the Kalimera Kriti Hotel (Mr. Pelikanakis) for the use of the facilities, the Vasia Hotel (Mr. Chondrakis) for putting a truck at our disposal and the Minos Imperial Hotel (Mr. Gennetakis) for hosting the previous Belgian Ambassador.

We also thank our local workers from Vrachasi and elsewhere in Crete especially Giorgios Metaxarakis (2007-11), Kristian Jacobson (2007-11), Iannis Milidakis (2009-11), Iannis Milathianakis (2009-11), Michalis Tzannakis (2008, 2010-11), Manolis Vrachnakis (2010-11), Matina Papadaki (2011), Manolis Tzannakis (2007-2009), Mantis Vrachnakis (2011), Giorgios Kiriakakis (2007), Vassilis Stefanakis (2007), Manolis Mandelenis (2008), Dimitris Vlachakis (2008), Phlippas Petzepakis (2008), Saimir Cami (2008), Nikolin Gkika (2008), Nezha Kremar (2008), Saimi Besik (2008), Luan Bellova (2008)
, as well as Alekos Nikakis and Nearchos Nikakis (conservators).

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