With increasing recognition by archaeologists and anthropologists that archaeological interpretations of space, form and behaviour are missing light as an essential element, this research breaks new ground by placing light at the heart of the narratives about past built spaces. The project adopts an interdisciplinary multi-method approach to study the role of light in diverse architectural settings of the Bronze Age period in Crete (Phourni Cemetery, Ceramics Workshop at Zominthos, Kommos Hilltop Houses) and of the Neolithic period in Thessaly, Greece (Building 1 at Koutroulou Magoula) in order to enhance understandings of illumination’s functional, behavioural and artistic impact on different aspects of everyday life.

The analytical methods employed draw upon recent developments in computer graphic three-dimensional visualisation, analysis, and simulation, developing further integrative methods capable of considering a wide range of variables in relation to light, i.e. light sources, time of the day, year, weather etc., which might have affected the perception of space, human interaction, activities and the manipulation of objects. It follows current trends in archaeology of using three-dimensional computational methods for the recording, interpretation and dissemination of archaeological data, and demonstrates that computer visualisations are not limited to the presentation of data, but can also help archaeologists to form new approaches and interpretations for the archaeological evidence. This research also contributes a set of computational tools, as well as a new theoretical and practical framework, for addressing timely and recurring archaeological concerns on the perception of space and somatic experiences, as well as the factors that influence the understandings and interpretations of past lives and architecture in Greek prehistory.

An interdisciplinary network of 40 international experts in archaeology, anthropology, architecture, art, engineering, computer science, conservation, and lighting design will contribute to The Oxford Handbook of Light in Archaeology, edited by Papadopoulos, C. & Moyes, H. (Oxford University Press, Planned Publication Date: December 2017).

PI: Dr Konstantinos Papadopoulos


Project Collaborators

Prof. Graeme Earl, University of Southampton

Prof. Yannis Hamilakis, University of Southampton

Prof. Yannis Sakellarakis, Honorary Ephor of Greek Antiquities✙



Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation

Greek Archaeological Committee UK

Psycha Foundation, Greece