Ioannis D. Nakas

Ioannis D. Nakas

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details


  • BA Archaeology (Ioannina)
  • MA Maritime Archaeology (Southampton)


As with many other colleagues, archaeology has been my passion since a very early age. As I began my undergraduate studies I explored various aspects of archaeology, from classical to byzantine archaeology, but eventually I understood that it was maritime archaeology and mostly ships and shipbuilding technology that it was to be my field of expertise. Thanks to a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation I managed to do a Master’s course at the University of Southampton, with my thesis topic being the Mediterranean galleys of the Middle Ages (1150-1350). My effort was to combine a variety of sources (texts, iconography and shipwrecks) in order to gain a better understanding of shipbuilding technology, as well as its role in contemporary society and history, an approach that I am using also in my doctoral research. My ability to illustrate ancient finds but also to create artistic reconstructions of sites and ships helped me a lot to visualize and communicate the results of my studies better.

After my MA I worked for several years as a contracted archaeologist and more and more as an illustrator (the former has now become my main source of income). In the last decade I began working as an archaeologist, digital surveyor and illustrator in three important projects related with Hellenistic and Roman harbours in the Aegean: Zea Harbour Project, Lechaion Harbour Project and Delos Project. The field experience and the knowledge I gained from this work turned my interest in the study of harbours in relation to ships of the period and the implications in the practicalities of this relationship.

Doctoral research

PhD title
The construction, use and evolution of late Hellenistic and Roman harbours of the Aegean
Professor Henry Chapman and Dr Gareth Sears
Classics and Ancient History PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)


My research considers the ways in which harbours of the Hellenistic and Roman period of the Aegean Sea were designed, constructed and evolved within the context of contemporary technology, mainly shipbuilding and seafaring. It focuses on the relationship between the ships that frequented these harbours and the harbours’ ability to accommodate and serve them by looking into three main case studies, Delos, Lechaion and Kenchreai, the first two being the object of ongoing investigations in which I am involved.

My study aims in providing an innovative look into harbour sites, which have not yet received proper attention with regard to the advanced technology applied in their construction and their evolution. This will be done through an interdisciplinary approach, with the use of a variety of methods, ranging from excavation records to geoarchaeological data. The assessment of technical issues, such as construction techniques, sailing, anchoring and ship handling will be an important aspect of my study.

Other activities


  • 2001-2002: Onassis Public Benefit Foundation scholarship for my MA in Maritime Archaeology, University of Southampton
  • 2017-present: College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham scholarship for my ongoing PhD

Administrative duties

  • 2016: Co-organizer of the 1st International Seminar on Ancient and Traditional Shipbuilding, National Technical University of Athens 




  • “Methods and techniques of Medieval Mediterranean shipbuilding: an introduction” (in Greek), Ενάλια VII, 2004.
  •  “Studying maritime archaeology around the world” (in Greek), Ενάλια VIII, 2005.
  • “Mary Rose: a floating fortress” (in Greek), Καθημερινή, Επτά Ημέρες (21 August 2005).
  • Y.Lolos & Y.Nakas, “An Early Byzantine wet-dock at the islet of Peranisi, Salamis”, Tropis IX, Ayia Napa, August 2005 (under publication).
  • “Byzantine shipbuilding: its beginning, method and aftermath”, 6th Meeting of the Byzantinologists of Greece and Cyprus, Athens, September 22nd-25th 2005 (in Greek) (under publication).
  •  “The ‘unharvested sea’: maritime archaeology in Greece” (in Greek), ΑΩ (Journal of the A.Onassis Public Benefit Foundation) 35, March 2007.
  • “14th-Century Galleys in the Black Sea: Ships in the Romance of Alexander the Great in Venice”, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37.1, 77-87 (March 2008).
  •  “Νήαι μέλαιναι: ships and shipbuilding in the Early Iron Age Aegean”, The “Dark Ages” Revisited, An International Symposium in Memory of William D.E. Coulson, Volos, 14-17 June 2007, Volos 2015.
  • “Ships, kings and mariners at the 14th-century Black Sea: Codex 5 of the Hellenic Institute of Venice”, VII Meeting of the Byzantinologists of Greece and Cyprus, Komotene, 2007, September 20-23 (Komotene 2011).
  • “Reinventing the galley: tradition and innovation in 13th-century Mediterranean oared vessels”, Tropis Χ, Hydra, August 2008 (under publication).
  • D. Koutsoumba & Y. Nakas, “The Diolkos: a significant technical achievement of antiquity”, International Archaeological Conference. Corinthia and the Northeast Peloponnesus: Topography and History from Prehistoric Times until the End of Antiquity, Loutraki 26-29 March 2009 (Athenaia 4), 191-206.
  • “A 14th-Century Galley Fleet from the Black Sea: The Case of Codex 5 in the Hellenic Institute of Venice”, 12th International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, Istanbul 12-16 October 2009, Istanbul 2012.
  • A. Babuin & Y. Nakas, “Byzantine ship graffiti from the church of Prophet Elias in Thessaloniki”, In Poseidon's Realm XV, Byzantium at Sea. Innovation and Tradition, Vienna 19-21 February 2010, Skyllis 11, 2011.
  • E. Hasaki & Y. Nakas, “Maritime Trade, Politics, and Pottery Industry. The Penteskouphia Pinakes from Archaic Corinth”, in J.Gawronski, A.van Holk & J. Schokkenbroek (eds.), Ships and Maritime Landscapes, Proceedings of the 13th International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology, Amsterdam 8-12 October 2012, Amsterdam 2017, 66-72.
  • “Tracing the evolution of Mediterranean medieval galleys from the 11th to the 15th century AD”, in H.Frielinghaus, T.Schmidts & V.Tsamakda (eds.), Schiffe und ihr Kontext: Darstellungen, Modelle, Bestandteile-von der Bronzezeit bis zum Ende des Byzantinischen Reiches, Internationales Kolloquium (24–25 Mai 2013), Mainz, 2017, 185-197.
  • “The ships and the art of shipbuilding in the 15th century according to the manuscript of Michael of Rhodes”, in K. Damianides (ed.), Naus. Ships and shipbuilding in the Greek World, Athens 2014.
  • “From the black ships to the trireme: ships and shipbuilding in the Mediterranean of the Early Iron Age”, Regional stories towards a new perception of the early Greek world. An International Symposium in the honor of Professor Jan Bouzek, Volos, 18-21 June 2015 (under publication).
  • “Transport amphorae from Souriza in Laurion”, 16th Scientific Meeting of Southeast Attica, 18-22 November 2015 (under publication).
  • “Isolated towers in the fortification network of ancient Molossia: a case study”, in. R. Frederiksen, S. Mueth, P.I. Schneider & M. Schnelle (eds.), Focus on Fortifications. New Research on Fortifications in the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East, Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, V.18, Oxbow Books, Oxford 2016, 446-55.
  • T.Krapf & Y. Nakas, “Medieval ship graffiti from Amarynthos, Euboea”, International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 46.2, 433-37 (September 2017).


  • D. Demetriou: Negotiating Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean: The Archaic and Classical Greek Multiethnic Emporia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. In Cambridge Classical Review, vol.64.1, April 2014, pp189-191.
  • W. M. Murray: The Age of the Titans. The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies. Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. In ΑΩ, The Magazine of the Scholars’ Association of the Onassis Foundation, vol.64, June 2014.
  • E.A. Meyer: The Inscriptions of Dodona and a New History of Molossia. (Habes 54.) Cambridge Classical Review, vol.64.2, October 2014, pp508-510.