Myrto Georgakopoulou (1976-2022)
It is with great sorrow and heavy hearts that we note the untimely passing of our dear colleague, valued collaborator and beloved friend, Myrto Georgakopoulou, on December 15, 2022.
Myrto was a long-term member of the Fitch Laboratory team, first as Archaeological Chemistry Fellow (2005-2009), then as the Fitch’s first Scientific Research Officer (2009-2013). Even after she took up a post in UCL-Qatar she remained a close collaborator in a number of Fitch projects. Through her long-running partnership with Vangelio Kiriatzi, she was instrumental in the establishment of the WD-XRF analytical unit at the Fitch and in the integration of elemental and petrographic analysis of ceramics in a series of emblematic projects such as the diachronic study of pottery ceramic landscapes on Aegina and Kythera. She also participated in a number of BSA fieldwork projects, notably the Kato Phana survey on Chios, the Kythera Island Project and the Keros excavations.
Myrto received her BSc in Chemistry from Imperial College, London, before moving on to the Institute of Archaeology for a Masters and PhD in Archaeological Science, specialising in the study of ancient metals. Her PhD was on Early Cycladic Metallurgy, a subject that remained central throughout her research career. She was supervised by Thilo Rehren, Cyprian Broodbank and Yannis Bassiakos who remained life-long mentors and collaborators. Her academic career was mainly split between three institutions, the British School at Athens (2005-2013), UCL-Qatar (2013-2019) where she worked as Lecturer in archaeological material science and Laboratory manager, and, most recently, the Cyprus Institute as research associate. She also held short-term research posts at the NCSR Demokritos and the University of Cyprus. While early Aegean metallurgy was her great love throughout the course of her career she developed an impressive breadth of expertise and enjoyed working on a variety of archaeological materials of different periods and regions. She taught, advised and supervised a number of postgraduate students and served as reviewer for many funding bodies and scientific journals. Throughout her career she built a huge network of collaborations and projects across the globe, from India to North America and from Britain to Nigeria.
Myrto’s unique combination of skills, values and qualities are rarely found in the same individual; a very strong scientific background that was very successfully complemented by a critical, anthropocentric approach to material culture and a deep awareness of the cultural dynamics of ancient technology. Her work has had a significant impact on the study of early metallurgy due to her holistic and multi-scalar approach. She had an infinite breadth of interests on scientific matters, society, politics and environment and was the most intuitive and inspiring discussant on any subject. Myrto had a sharp mind and keen intellect, a strong sense of responsibility, and above all an enormously engaging and easy-going personality. She cared deeply and had affection for all creatures on this planet, from humans to animals and plants. She was the kind of employee, collaborator, teacher and friend everyone would wish to have. An exceptional and reliable team member, and an inspirational team leader.
While at the BSA, Myrto met Thomas Loughlin (then the BSA Macmillan-Rodewald Student), who became her life-partner and father to their beloved daughter, Nefeli.
We would like to send our heartfelt condolences and caring thoughts of support to Tom, Nefeli, her mother Iphigenia, her sister Aliki and her family. Myrto leaves a huge void, personally and professionally, and will be sorely missed by all of us.
Her funeral will be held on Monday 19th December 2022, at 12.00, at the First Cemetery of Athens.
*In memory of Myrto Georgakopoulou and to acknowledge her contribution to the fields of Archaeological Science and Archaeometallurgy, the British School at Athens, following her family’s wish, will establish a programme of ‘Myrto Georgakopoulou’ scholarships to support postgraduate students and early career researchers in both disciplines in collaboration with other institutions in Greece and abroad.