The “Ancient Cities of Boeotia” Project / The Boeotia Project

Years of Operation:

(1978-1999 – Under the aegis of the British School at Athens,

2000- to date – Under the aegis of the Netherlands Institute in Athens)


John Bintliff, Emeritus Professor Leiden University/ Honorary Professorial Fellow Edinburgh University

Anthony Snodgrass, Emeritus Professor Cambridge University

Objectives of the Project:

Boeotia is a large region in Central Greece, anciently some 2540 sq km, within which around 15 city-states existed in Antiquity. The region’s landscape archaeology and history had been rather neglected by 20th century scholarship, with several important exceptions, such as the work of John Fossey, who gathered all known sites from Prehistory to Late Antiquity in a useful gazetteer and made a preliminary analyses of site numbers by period, and the Byzantine Atlas Project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences which discussed the region as part of the province of Hellas and Thessalia.

Since 1978 a series of five local landscapes have been researched by this Project, using intensive surface survey, combining rural and urban surveys: the town and countryside of ancient Thespiai, ancient Haliartos, ancient Hyettos, ancient Tanagra and ancient Koroneia (see MAP).


The aim has been to be able to compare and contrast the long-term development of human settlement in diverse areas of this large Central Greek province.

Equal attention has been paid to prehistoric settlement and to the post-Roman eras, with the goal of following respectively the background to the emergence of the ancient city landscape of Greco-Roman antiquity, and the evolution of the modern village pattern during Medieval and Post-Medieval times.

Alongside ceramic survey and study, which includes innovative analysis of trade systems and communal wealth derived from provenance statistics and assemblage composition, many other specialisms are integrated into this interdisciplinary regional project. These incorporate historians of antiquity, Byzantine and Ottoman historians, and social anthropologists; botanists, geologists and geomorphologists; geophysicists and geochemists; numismatists; and architectural historians.

The final results of the Boeotia Project are appearing as monographs from the McDonald Institute of Cambridge University, each dealing with a particular ancient city and its landscape or a major landscape unit.


University of Cambridge

University of Leiden,

the British Academy,

the Leverhulme Foundation,


the Society of Antiquaries London


Major Publications:

Bintliff J.L. & Howard P. (1999), Studying needles in haystacks – Surface survey and the rural landscape of Central Greece in Roman times, Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens 7: 51-91.

The Project has published preliminary reports in Pharos. Journal of the Netherlands Institute in Athens, between 2000 and 2016, and an update to 2022 is in press with this journal. More recent reports can be found in the online journal of Boeotian studies, Teiresias.

Rackham, O. (1983). “Observations on the historical ecology of Boeotia.” Annual of the British School at Athens 78: 291-351.

Sigalos, E. (2004). Housing in Medieval and Post-Medieval Greece. Oxford, British Archaeological Reports Int. Ser. 1291.

Bintliff, J. L., P. Howard and A. Snodgrass, Eds. (2007). Testing the hinterland: The work of the Boeotia Survey (1989-1991) in the southern approaches to the city of Thespiai. Cambridge, MacDonald Institute Monographs, University of Cambridge.

Farinetti, E. (2011). Boeotian Landscapes: A GIS-based study for the reconstruction and interpretation of the archaeological datasets of ancient Boeotia. Oxford, British Archaeological Reports S2195.

Bintliff, J. L., E. Farinetti, B. Slapsak and A. Snodgrass, Eds. (2017). Boeotia Project, Volume II: The City of Thespiai. Survey at a Complex Urban Site. Cambridge, McDonald Institute Monographs, University of Cambridge.

Bintliff, J. (2019). City-archaeology in Boeotia: continuity and discontinuity, localism and globalisation. La Béotie de l’archaïsme à l’époque romaine. Frontières, territoires, paysages. T. Lucas, C. Muller and A. C. Oddon-Panissie. Paris, Editions de Boccard: 121-133.

Bintliff, J., P. Degryse and J. van Zwienen (2022). “The longterm programme of trace metal analysis at the ancient city of Hyettos.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 43: 103432.

Peeters, D. (2023). Shaping Regionality in Socioeconomic Systems. Oxford, Archaeopress.

Bintliff, J. L., E. Farinetti and A. Snodgrass, Eds. (In press). The Greek City State on a Small Scale. Hyettos in Boeotia and its Territory. Cambridge, McDonald Institute, Cambridge University.


Contact Information

John Bintliff



The Ancient cities of Boeotia project