Geological Reference Collection
In 2003 Doniert Evely, Thomas Strasser, and Heidi Dierckx donated a collection of rock samples to the Study Center. They were systematically gathered from central and eastern Crete over a two-year period. The project was designed as an aid to the archaeologists working with lithics on Crete. Although the collection is by no means exhaustive in terms of the types of rocks represented, the three specialists, all with extensive experience working with archaeological stone materials, have ensured that it comprises the main rock types used for the manufacture of stone tools and vessels in Bronze Age Crete. Stone artifacts and architecture from Palaikastro, Petras, Hagia Photia, Kavousi, and Knossos were the determinants for the collection.
All eight geological nappes/series encountered in central and eastern Crete are represented: Phyllite-Quartzite, Tripolis, Pindos, Tectonic Mélange, Asterousia, Ophiolite, Plattenkalk, and Neogene deposits. For all samples there is a fresh and a weathered fracture, and the name of the rock is accompanied with information on its findspot along with a short description of its main macroscopic characteristics (color, structure, and hardness of the main mineral component).
The East Cretan box also contains some off-island examples. Emery from Naxos, Paros, and Samos is included because it has been diachronically encountered as an import on Crete. Muscovite from Naxos is included because it is often associated with emery, and trachyte from the Cyclades is included because it was used for millstones.
Modern Cretan Faunal Skeletal Collection
A comparative skeletal collection for zooarchaeology was started in the summer of 2002. It continues to grow with contributions from the zooarchaeologists who work at the Study Center, local residents, and various organizations. Building the reference collection is an ongoing project and at any given time several skeletons are at various stages of preparation.
The collection currently includes skeletons of the following taxa of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles: Ovis aries, Capra hircus, Bos taurus, Canis familiaris, Sus scrofa, Felix silvestris, Equus asinus, Dama dama, Capra aegagrus, Martes foina, Monachus monachus, Caretta caretta, Gyps fulvus, Falco sp., Crocidura sunctus, Rattus rattus, Apodemus sp., Mus musculus, and Thunnus thynus. Additionally, there is a small teaching collection of local marine invertebrates.
The animal reference collection is available to visiting researchers who have made a prior agreement with the Study Center.
Modern Cretan Floral Collection
The SCEC seed collection contains modern specimens from crops, weeds, fruits, and nuts, among other types of plants, which can aid in the identification of archaeologically recovered plant remains. Approximately 250 taxa are represented, though these include some duplicates. The comparative collection was originally assembled by Evi Margaritis, and additional specimens were contributed by Margaret Scarry who also organized and inventoried the collection.
The human skeleton housed at INSTAP SCEC is a valuable resource for scholars engaged in the bioarchaeological analysis of human remains from archaeological sites in East Crete. The skeleton is an adult female and includes: a complete thorax (including right scapula and both clavicles), pelvis, complete right leg and foot, and left femur. There is no skull. The skeleton is a standard anatomical preparation mounted in a standing position. The legs are easily removed, but the remainder of the bones are wired or otherwise permanently fixed. The skeleton serves as comparative material when assistance is needed to identify bone fragments.