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Dr Yannis Galanakis

Dr Yannis Galanakis

Senior Lecturer in Classics (Classical Art & Archaeology)

Director, Museum of Classical Archaeology

Director of Archives

Fellow and Director of Studies at Sidney Sussex College

Faculty of Classics
Sidgwick Avenue

Office Phone: 01223 338879 (College)

Research Interests

  • Aegean art and archaeology.
  • Mortuary archaeology.
  • Archaeological legislation and the 19th-century trade in antiquities.

I am an archaeologist focusing on the Bronze Age Aegean with a particular interest in examining the role of burials and mortuary rituals in Minoan and Mycenaean societies through fieldwork and the study of past excavations. 

My work focuses on examining how and why the social dimensions of human life shape archaeological remains in funerary contexts and for this reason I am keen in integrating systematically skeletal and faunal remains with objects and geoarchaeological data to better understand site formation processes and how tombs were constructed, used and reused. I am currently co-directing the excavation of Mycenaean tombs at Prosilio near Orchomenos in central Greece (2017-2021), a collaborative project between the British School at Athens and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia/Hellenic Ministry of Culture & Sports. I am also responsible for the publication of a number of Late Bronze Age tombs from earlier excavations in Thessaly, Messenia and Crete, and the Principal Investigator of Lerna: the analysis, interpretation and publication of the Middle Bronze Age phase, a project researched by Dr Lindsay Spencer (2015-2018).

The guiding thread of my work is a contextualized Aegean archaeology that transcends traditional categories and recognizes that the study and interpretation of the past are inseparable from the discipline’s history. For this reason, I regularly integrate archaeological and archival/historical data in my publications in order both to question and to understand better how knowledge is produced. While working as Curator for the Aegean collections and the Sir Arthur Evans Archive at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (2007-2012), I became interested in understanding the factors – aesthetic, economic and political – that shaped the collections that museums house today. I am currently preparing a monograph on the 19th-century antiquities trade in Greece that will improve our understanding of how these collections came into being. I also participate in the Cambridge Heritage Research Centre:


Research Supervision

I supervise research students in all areas of Aegean archaeology and I am always keen to expand my research and learn from the work of others. If you are interested in undertaking postgraduate research, please feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas.

Key Publications


1. Edited Books

2017 [with A. Christophilopoulou and J. Grime] Codebreakers & Groundbreakers. Fitzwilliam Museum & Museum of Classical Archaeology, Cambridge.

2014 [with T. Wilkinson and J. Bennet] ATHYRMATA: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt, Oxford.

2013 The Aegean World. A Companion Guide to the Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean Collections in the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, Oxford and Athens.

2011 [with A. Kottaridi and S. Walker] Heracles to Alexander the Great. Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon, Oxford.

2009 [with G. Deligiannakis] The Aegean and its Cultures. Proceedings of the First Oxford–Athens Graduate Workshop Organized in Oxford, 22-23 April 2005, BAR-IS 1975, Oxford.

2007 [with I. Galanaki, H. Tomas and R. Laffineur] Between the Aegean and Baltic Seas: Prehistory across Borders (Aegaeum 27), Liège and Austin.

2. In Press

‘A survey of LBA funerary archaeology in the last 25 years in central and southern Aegean’, Archaeological Reports 64 (2017-2018).

‘Chamber tombs and the monumental mortuary landscapes of early Mycenaean Greece’, in Eder, B. and Zavadil, M. (eds.), (Social) Place and Space in Early Mycenaean Greece, International Discussions in Mycenaean Archaeology, 5th-8th October 2016, Athens, Vienna.

‘Death and Burial in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age’, in Lemos, I.S. and Kotsonas, A. (eds.), The Archaeology of Early Greece and the Mediterranean, Oxford.

‘‘Squaring the circle’: vaulted tombs, architectural variation and the construction of ‘traditions’ in Late Minoan Crete’, in Kalogerakou, P. (ed.), Festschrift for Professor G.S. Korres, Athens.

‘Alan Wace. Ein großer Pionier’, in Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe (ed.), Mykene. Die sagenhafte Welt des Agamemnon, Karlsruhe.

[with S. Sherratt] ‘Arthur Evans, Knossos and the World of Archaeological Replicas’, in Simandiraki-Grimshaw, A. and Sattler, F. (eds.), Replica Knowledge. Histories, Processes and Identities, Berlin.

3. Articles

2018 [with E. Tsitsa] ‘Επανεξετάζοντας την τοιχογραφία του Φοίνικα από την Αίθουσα του Θρόνου στην Κνωσό’, in Gavrilaki, I. (ed.), Πεπραγμένα ΙΑ΄ Διεθνούς Κρητολογικού Συνεδρίου (Proceedings of the 11th International Cretological Congress, Rethymno 21-27 October 2011), Rethymno, 253-265 (Link).

2017 [with E. Tsitsa and U. Günkel-Maschek] ‘The power of images: re-examining the wall paintings from the Throne Room at Knossos’, Annual of the British School at Athens 112, 47-98 (

2017 [with E. Egan] ‘A lost Mycenaean fresco fragment re-examined’, Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici NS 3, 83-104.

2017 'Discovering Writing in Bronze Age Greece', in Galanakis, Y., Christophilopoulou, A. and Grime, J. (eds.) Codebreakers & Groundbreakers, Cambridge, 1-14.

2017 ‘‘Spy-hunter' as antiquary: Major A.G. Wade, cultural politics and the British Salonika Force collection at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford’, in Shapland, A. and Stefani, E. (eds.), Archaeology behind the battle lines: The Macedonian campaign (1915–19) and its legacy, London, 181-203.

2016 ‘A roof for the dead: tomb design and the "domestication of death" in Mycenaean funerary architecture’, in Dakouri-Hild, N. and Boyd, M. (eds.), Staging Death. Funerary Performance, Architecture and Landscape in the Aegean, Berlin, 155-177.

2016 ‘Fire, fragmentation, and the body in the Late Bronze Age Aegean’, in Mina, M., Triantaphyllou, S. and Papadatos, Y. (eds.), Embodied Identities in the Prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean: Convergence of Theory and Practice, Oxford, 189-196.

2015 ‘Exhibiting the Minoan Past: From Oxford to Knossos’, in Cappel, S., Günkel-Maschek, U. and Panagiotopoulos, D. (ed.), Minoan Archaeology. Perspectives for the 21st Century, Louvain, 17-34.

2015 ‘“Islanders v. Mainlanders”, “the Mycenae Wars”, & other short stories’, in Vogeikoff-Brogan, N., Florou, V. and Davis, J. (eds.), Carl W. Blegen. Personal and Archaeological Narratives, Atlanta, 99-120.

2014 ‘Arthur Evans and the quest for the “origins of Mycenaean culture”, in Galanakis, Y., Wilkinson, T. and Bennet, J. (eds.), ΑΘΥΡΜΑΤΑ: Critical Essays on the Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in Honour of E. Susan Sherratt, Oxford, 85-98 (Link).

2014 ‘L’histoire de l’archéologie cycladique’, in Boucher, A. (ed.), La Grèce des origines: entre rêve et archéologie, Paris, 28-30.

2013 ‘Early prehistoric research on Amorgos and the beginnings of Cycladic archaeology’, American Journal of Archaeology 117:2, 181-205 (

2013 [with D. Hicks] ‘Chapter 15. The Aegean and Cyprus’, in Hicks, D. and Stevenson, A. (eds.), World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A Characterization, Oxford, 312-335 (

2013 [with Z. Kamash, L. Shipley and S. Skaltsa] ‘Chapter 16. Iron Age and Roman Italy’, in Hicks, D. and Stevenson, A. (eds.), World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A Characterization, Oxford, 336-357 (

2013 [with M. Nowak-Kemp] ‘Ancient Greek skulls in the Oxford University Museum, Part II: the Rhousopoulos-Rolleston correspondence’, Journal of the History of Collections 25:1, 1-17 (  

2013  [with M. Stamatopoulou] ‘A preliminary report on the archival material from the excavations of the tholos tomb at Ano Dranista (Ano Ktimeni) in Thessaly by A.S. Arvanitopoulos (1911)’, in Mazarakis-Ainian, A. (ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference ‘The Archaeological Work in Thessaly and Central Greece, 2007-2009’, Volos, 205-218.

2013 21 entries by invitation in Wiley-Blackwell’s Encyclopaedia of Ancient History  edited by Bagnall, R.S., Brodersen, K., Champion, C.B., Erskine, A. and Huebner, S.R.: ‘Berbati’ (pp. 1088-1089), ‘Dendra’ (pp. 2034-2035), Dhimini (p. 2062), Gla (p. 2923), Iolkos (p. 3485), Korakou (pp. 3810-3811), Lerna (p. 4022), Menelaion (p. 4437), Midea (pp. 4494-4495), Mycenae (pp. 4647-4650), Mycenaean archaeology (pp. 4650-4653), Mycenaean society and culture (pp. 4653-4658), Nichoria (pp. 4779-4780), Perati (pp. 5146-5147), Phylakopi (p. 5310), Prosymna (p. 5592), Sesklo (p. 6174), Thebes [with I. Fappas] (pp. 6648-6651), Tsoungiza (p. 6882), Vapheio (pp. 6947-6948), Zygouries (p. 7188).

2012  [with S. Skaltsa] ‘Tomb robbers, art dealers and a dikast’s pinakion from an Athenian grave’, Hesperia 81:4, 619-653 (

2012 ‘“University Professor–Antiquities Looter”: A 19th-century Athens art dealer and the trafficking of antiquities in Greece under the first archaeological law. Part II’, The Anglo-Hellenic Review no. 46 (Autumn), 3-5.

2012 ‘“University Professor–Antiquities Looter”: A 19th-century Athens art dealer and the trafficking of antiquities in Greece under the first archaeological law. Part I’, The Anglo-Hellenic Review no. 45 (Spring), 7-10.

2012 [with M. Nowak-Kemp] ‘Ancient Greek skulls in the Oxford University Museum, Part I: George Rolleston, Oxford, and the formation of the human skulls collection’, Journal of the History of Collections 24:1, 89–104 (

2012 ‘Digitizing the Ashmolean’s Linear B tablets from Knossos’, The Ashmolean 64 (Summer), 9-11. 

2011 ‘An unpublished stirrup jar from Athens and the 1871-1872 private excavations in the outer Kerameikos’, Annual of the British School at Athens 106, 167–200 (

2011 ‘Mnemonic landscapes and monuments of the past: tumuli, tholos tombs and landscape associations’, in Borgna, E. and Müller-Celka, S. (eds.), Ancestral Landscapes: Burial mounds in the Copper and Bronze Ages (Central and Eastern Europe – Balkans – Adriatic – Aegean, 4th-2nd millennium BC)Maison de l’Orient et de la Méditerranée TMO vol. 58, Lyon, 219–229 (

2011 ‘Late Bronze Age tholos tombs in West Crete: some architectural observations’, in Andreadaki-Vlasaki, M. (ed.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of Cretan Studies, Section A2, Chania, 591–607.

2011 18 entries by invitation for the exhibition catalogue: Siebenmorgen, H. (ed.), Kykladen. Lebenswelten einer frühgriechischen Kultur, Karlsruhe, p. 259 (entry no. 37), pp. 272-275 (entries nos. 66a-k), p. 306 (entry no. 106), pp. 319-320 (entries nos. 118-120).

2009 ‘What’s in a word? The manifold character of the term koiné and its uses in Aegean prehistory’, in Galanakis, Y. and Deligiannakis, G. (eds.), Aegean Cultures. Proceedings of the First Oxford-Athens Graduate Workshop, Oxford, 5–11.

2008 ‘Doing Business: two unpublished letters from Athanasios Rhousopoulos to Arthur Evans in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, in Kurtz, D. with Meyer, C., Saunders, D. Tsingarida, A. and Harris, N. (eds.), Essays in Classical Archaeology for Eleni Hatzivassiliou 1977-2007, The Beazley Archives Series vol. 4, Oxford, 297–309.

2007 ‘The construction of the Aegisthus tholos tomb at Mycenae and the “Helladic Heresy”’, Annual of the British School at Athens 102, 239–256 ( 

2005 [with J. Bennet] ‘Parallels and Contrasts: early Mycenaean mortuary traditions in Messenia and Lakonia’, in Dakouri-Hild, A. and Sherratt, S. (eds.), Autochthon. Papers presented to O.T.P.K. Dickinson on the occasion of his retirement, Oxford, 144–155.

4. Online publications

2012 ‘On Her Majesty’s Service: C. L. W. Merlin and the Sourcing of Greek Antiquities for the British Museum’, E-Journal, Center for Hellenic Studies (Fall 2012 Research Colloquium) (

2012 ‘“Insignificant”, “superfluous”, and “useless”: legal antiquities for export?’, Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin (

2012 ‘To Serve and to Source: a consul at the service of the British Museum’, Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin (

2012 ‘Of grave hunters and earth contractors: a look at the private archaeology of Greece’, Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin (

2012 ‘University Professor – Antiquities Looter ?’, Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin (

2012 ‘Guns, Drugs, and the trafficking of antiquities: archaeology in 19th-century Greece’, Center for Hellenic Studies Research Bulletin (

2012 ‘Sir Arthur Evans, the Ashmolean, and the display of Minoan Crete’, British Museum’s Knossos Day, London, 12 November 2011 ( 

2011 ‘Re-thinking Marathon: Two ‘Memorabilia’ from the Battle of Marathon at the Pitt-Rivers’, in Petch, A. (ed.), Rethinking Pitt-Rivers. Analyzing the activities of a nineteenth century collector, Oxford (

5. Reviews

2018 Smith, R.A.K. et al. (2017): 'Ayia Sotira. A Mycenaean Chamber Tomb Cemetery in the Nemea Valley, Greece', Bryn Mawr Classical Review (

2017 A. Karetsou and L. Girella (2015): ‘Kalochoraphitis. Two Chamber Tombs from the LM IIIA2-B Cemetery’, Journal of Hellenic Studies 137, 256-257.

2017 C. Wiersma and S. Voutsaki (2017) Social Change in Aegean Prehistory’, The Prehistoric Society Book Reviews (

2017 M. Marthari, C. Renfrew, and M. Boyd (2017): ‘Early Cycladic Sculpture in Context’, The Art Newspaper no. 290 (May), 22 (

2014 S. Privitera (2013): ‘Principi, Pelasgi e pescatori: L'Attica nella Tarda Età del Bronzo’, The American Journal of Archaeology 118.4 (

2012 N. Demand (2011): ‘The Mediterranean Context of Early Greek History’, The Anglo-Hellenic Review 46, 23. 

2012 J. Bintliff (2012): ‘The Complete Archaeology of Greece. From Hunter-Gatherers to the 20th Century A.D.’, The Anglo-Hellenic Review 46, 23-24.

2009 C. Gere (2009): ‘Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism’, The Art Newspaper vol. XVIII, no. 208 (December), 44.

2009 J. Soles (2008): ‘Mochlos IIA. Period IV. The Mycenaean Settlement and Cemetery. The Sites’, Bryn Mawr Classical Review ( 

2007 C. Gallou (2005): 'The Mycenaean Cult of the Dead', Journal of Hellenic Studies 127, 212-213.

Upcoming events

Literature Seminar

Nov 21, 2018


Ancient History Seminar

Nov 26, 2018


Upcoming events

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