Pioneering Greek Archaeologist G. Papathanassopoulos Dies Aged 95

May 28, 2019

ATHENS – Archaeologist George Papathanassopoulos, a founding member of the Hellenic Institute of Marine Archaeology (HIMA, 1973) and the inspiration behind the founding of the Ephorate of Underwater Archaeology, died aged 95.

Papathanassopoulos, who had worked with American fellow-archaeologist Carl Blegen on the Nestor Palace excavations in the Peloponnese and was responsible for identifying several new sites, was the first to systematically record Greece’s underwater antiquities.

In a message of condolences including biographical facts, the Ministry of Culture described him as “an outstanding officer of the Archaeological Service who for seven decades worked tirelessly to promote archaeological research, conducting pioneering studies in dozens of underwater and archaeological sites.”

The late archaeologist had served as head of the Ephorate of Underwater Archaeology from 1976, its founding year, to his retirement in 1987 and as representative of the Ministry of Culture to the Council of Europe, among several positions he held.

His life project however was the excavation of the Neolithic-era Alepotrypa Cave in the Bay of Diros in Mani, Peloponnese, which he conducted from 1970 to 2006. The site was inhabited by humans from about 6000 BC to 3200 BC and because of the condition of preservation, is one of the richest Neolithic sites in Europe. Data from it has contributed to the understanding of the Neolithic era in the whole region and as far as Anatolia.

Besides multiple monographs and books, Papathanassopoulos was also feted for his work with an anthology in his honour.


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