Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine
Université libre de Bruxelles • CP 133/01
Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50
After completing my studies in Archaeology at the Universities of Bournemouth and Sheffield, UK I have been employed at several positions and gained long experience in archaeological interdisciplinary research. Particularly I assumed four positions as an archaeologist of the Greek Archaeological Service (Ephorates of Antiquities of Kavala-Thasos, Xanthi, Rhodope, Lesbos) and two positions as a researcher in archaeological science projects at two Research Centres in Greece (N.C.S.R. ‘Demokritos’ and R.C. ‘Athena’). I was employed for two years as a post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Lille-3 in France. I have been awarded consecutive research grants by INSTAP since 2012 for the conduct of field survey, finds study and laboratory analysis and been involved in two archaeological excavation projects (Systematic Excavation at Pistyros, Kavala, Systematic Excavation of Neolithic Diomedeia, Xanthi) a field survey project (Archaeological Programme of Abdera and Xanthi-APAX) and an interdisciplinary research project at Université de Lille-3 (Habitat et Métallurgie en Egée du Nord-HeMEN). Currently I hold a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship conducting post-doctoral research at CReA-Patrimoine, Université libre de Bruxelles.
My research is focused on archaeology of the north Aegean, with an emphasis on the technology of metals production and consumption. Research interests include mining, metallurgy and the fabrication of alloys from Late Neolithic to the Byzantine period, the transition from copper to iron technology, Greek colonisation and precious metals extraction. In this context interactions between communities of producers and consumers, political control on resources through ideology and religion and the social aspects of technological systems are under study.
Metals Technology in North Aegean Societies (ME.Tech.NAS)
This project will investigate the organisation of mining, mineral processing and metallurgy in northern Greece from prehistory up to the Classical period and their implications for social interaction, political power, economy and ritual. It is focused on one of the richest in mineral deposits regions of the country and explores issues of technological expansion through connectivity and mobility which are central to ongoing discussions in archaeology. It involves an interdisciplinary study of mining landscapes, excavated sites and archaeological material found therein by employing modern analytical techniques (archaeometry and GIS) in order tο provide quantifiable data on the social, symbolic and economic significance of metal production in the ancient world. The project’s objective is to address three crucial research questions corresponding to three technological breakthroughs:
a) The emergence and early development of copper and silver extraction within the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age cultural framework (5th-2nd mill. BC). Relevant sites include Promachon-Topolnica and Sitagroi on the mainland, Limenaria, Aghios Antonios and Skala Sotiros on Thasos, and Mikro Vouni on Samothrace that yielded important metallurgical assemblages. The study of such material will contribute significant information on issues of raw materials acquisition, processing/enrichment of minerals and metals production while examining the possible links with Balkan, Western Anatolian and Cycladic metallurgical centres.
b) The introduction of iron metallurgy associated with increased connectivity between sites of the North Aegean and Anatolia around 1200-700 BC. Iron ore deposits from Thasos and the Rhodope mountain range will be studied and their chemical composition will be compared to the composition of Early Iron Age metallurgical finds from Kastri in Thasos and iron objects from sites in Xanthi and Drama prefectures. Such an investigation will enable us to approach the crucial issue of the emergence/adoption of iron technology in this region.
c) The intensification of mining and extraction of base and precious metals during the Archaic and Classical period (700-323 BC), triggered by the establishment of Greek colonies on the Thracian coastline. Metallurgical finds from Abdera and Pistyros will be studied in conjunction with evidence from the mining zones at Kimmeria and mount Lekani respectively. Characterization of mineral ores and slag will contribute to an evaluation of the technology applied in silver extraction that was so important for the minting of coinage. Such an investigation aims to elucidate the relations between Thracian indigenous populations inhabiting the mining zone and the Greeks of the colonies producing and trading metals through their far-reaching exchange networks.
The significance of investigating metals technology through these case studies is paramount as each one reflects directly onto the social choices behind utilizing strategic mineral resources, the different levels of economic and political organisation and the use of ritual connotations towards appropriation of resources and technical knowledge. In order to approach the key issues described above interdisciplinary research tools are utilized such as archaeological finds recording, field survey, GIS data processing, sampling and laboratory analysis of finds, and experimental reduction of mineral ores using ancient examples. With this project, exploration of technological networks behind mining, mineral processing and organisation of metal production will serve to re-conceptualize these paradigms by reintegrating crafting in socio-political dynamics.
Upper left: ancient mine entrance in the Lekani mountain range, Kavala, upper right: experimental copper smelting in a low shaft furnace, lower left: bronze objects from Early Bronze Age settlements in Thasos, lower right: optical microscope image of copper slag showing four distinct mineralogical phases.
Bassiakos Y., Nerantzis N. and Papadopoulos S. ,2019, Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age metallurgical practices at Limenaria, Thasos: evidence for silver and copper production, Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Volume 11 (6), 2743-2757.
Nerantzis N., Bassiakos Y., Georgakopoulou M., Filippaki E., Mastrotheodoros G., 2017, Copper Production in EBA Thasos: new finds and experimental simulation in the context of contemporaneous Aegean metallurgical practices, In I. Montero Ruiz and A. Perea (eds) ,Archaeometallurgy in Europe IV, Bibliotheca Praehistorica Hispana Vol. XXXIII, Instituto de Historia, Madrid, 115-125.
Nerantzis N., Bassiakos Y. and Papadopoulos, S. 2016, Copper metallurgy of the Early Bronze Age in Thassos, north Aegean, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 7, 574-580.
Nerantzis N. and Papadopoulos S., 2016, Copper production during the Early Bronze Age at Aghios Antonios, Potos in Thassos, Ιn E. Photos-Jones in collaboration with Y. Bassiakos, E. Filippaki, A. Hein, I. Karatasios, V. Kilikoglou and E. Kouloumpi (eds), Proceedings of the 6th Symposium of the Hellenic Society for Archaeometry, BAR S2780, British Archaeological Reports Ltd, 89-94.
Nerantzis N. and Papadopoulos S., 2013, Reassessment and new data on the diachronic relationship of Thassos Island with its indigenous metal resources: a review, Journal of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, Volume 5 (3), 183-196.