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Sphakia Survey: The Internet Edition

Bee-keeping in the Graeco-Roman World

A conference organised by Simon Price and Lucia Nixon at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, on 7 November 2000.

The conference had two parts: the first presented archaeological evidence for bee-keeping (including material from Sphakia, SW Crete, which through the Sphakia Survey has produced one of the best assemblages of finds from the ancient world; and from Isthmia); the second was a lecture by Dr Eva Crane, the leading authority on world bee-keeping, on 'The transmission of bee-keeping round the ancient Mediterranean'. Principal participants: Eva Crane, Jane Francis, John Ellis Jones, Lucia Nixon, Nicholas Purcell and Simon Price.

The event was much enhanced by a display of bee-keeping artefacts and of books, courtesy of Dr Eva Crane, and Mr Richard Jones, International Bee Research Association, Cardiff. Honey from Sphakia was served with tea.

The audience, numbering some 50 people, consisted both of ancient historians/archaeologists and of scientists and beekeepers from the Oxfordshire County Beekeepers' Association. The event was introduced by Simon Price, and concluded by Nicholas Purcell, who led a stimulating discussion, made especially fruitful by the variety of expertises in the room.

Abstracts of the four papers, with some illustrations, are given here:

Eva Crane, The Transmission of Beekeeping Round the Ancient Mediterranean

John Ellis Jones, Hives from Isthmia and Elsewhere

Jane Francis, Finds of Graeco-Roman Beehives from Sphakia, SW Crete

Lucia Nixon, Traditional Bee-Keeping in Sphakia, SW Crete

If you want to explore some of the beehive material collected by the Survey, go to the Case Study section of this site, where some of the model questions deal with beehives.


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