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Department of Archaeology



The today uninhabited island of Keros, in the Cyclades, Greece, was in the Early Bronze Age (in use from ca. 2750BC to 2300BC) the site of the world’s earliest maritime sanctuary, and a thriving centre for metal production, with monumental architecture, and much evidence for crucial developments in architecture.


The site first came to prominence in the 1960s, when Colin Renfrew and Christos Doumas (separately) visit-ed the site and discovered that part of it had been subject to looting. The looted area was first investig-ated archaeologically in 1963 by Doumas. Further investigation of the site was carried out in 1967 by Zapheiropoulou and in 1987 by Renfrew, Doumas and Marangou. Publication of this work followed in 2007.

Since then three major international collaborative projects have been carried out on Keros. These projects have completely transformed our understanding of what was previously seen as a Cycladic enigma. The work done has defined the site as central in the networks of the Early Bronze Age, a centre of congregation for long-lived pan-Cycladic ritual practices as well as a centre of power where the greatest architectural undertakings of the age housed centralised craft practices, set in a landscape of intensified agricultural innovations and satellite settlements.













Excavations were directed by Colin Renfrew and Michael Boyd of the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge, under a permit given by the Greek Ministry of Culture to the British School at Athens. The project runs a field school, directed by Evi Margaritis of the Cyprus Institute (Assistant Director of the excavation), with tuition and academic credit provided by the Cyprus Institute.

Project Contact Information

The Keros projects are based at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.

Contact: Michael Boyd

Address for correspondence:


McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street



Project Output

To date, the Keros projects have resulted in a large number of monographs and articles.

The third volume in the 2006-2008 excavation series (The Marble Finds from Kavos and the Archaeology of Ritual) was published in 2018.

For a detailed list of published and upcoming work and purchasing information, please visit the Keros Publications page.

A documentary on Keros by Greek National Television was broadcast in July 2020 and is now available to view on YouTube.

A second documentary by National Geographic and Cosmote TV was broadcast in October 2020 in Greece and an international version is now in preparation. It was first screened in London in March 2020.

A lecture about Keros for the Open University of Cyprus can be viewed here.

Our latest article details the innovative all-digital methodology of the project in the Journal of Field Archaeology.


AG Leventis Foundation

British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants Scheme

Packard Humanities Institute

Project Tags

Material Culture
Periods of interest: 
Copper/Bronze Age
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Socio-Politics of the Past
Field Methods
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