The research objectives of the group encompass the development and application of methods for the study of deterioration mechanisms of archaeological and modern composite materials, the reconstruction of ancient technologies (e.g. ceramics, mortars, pyrotechnology etc.), as well as the determination of the provenance of raw materials and their processing.

A further objective is the development of new materials for the conservation and protection of archaeological monuments and historic structures, compatible with the original ones. This comprises the examination of setting processes and the assessment of the long term behaviour of common conservation materials.

Research Topics

  • Provenance and technology of ancient and modern materials

During the recent years a series of methods has been developed and refined to study the provenance and technology of ancient materials. A major part of the studies was focused on archaeological ceramics from different periods and areas. The ceramic provenance studies are based mainly on chemical analysis of the bulk composition and petrographic examination. For this reason the laboratory established a large database of relevant reference data of ceramics and raw materials. The studies commonly include technological questions, such as raw material selection, clay paste preparation, firing temperature and material properties of the end product

  • Self-healing and service life optimization of traditional lime-based mortars

Historic mortars exhibit in many cases remarkable durability over time, which has been attributed to their ability of “self-healing”. This phenomenon is expressed by the filling of micro-cracks with secondary formed products, thus restoring internal cohesion and enhancing the material’s performance. This mechanism is autogenously initiated after localized damage has occurred and involves chemical degradation of the intrinstic constituents, leaching of Ca-ions, deposition of secondary formed calcite and formation of a variety of hydraulic phases.The research conducted in this field aims to the parametric modification of both chemical composition and microstructure of modern repair mortars, in order to create optimum conditions for the initiation of the self healing mechanism in the field and thus, lead to an enhanced service-life and sustainability of conservation materials. To this end, mechanisms such as leaching, chemical degradation, ions diffusion and transportation of aqueous solutions are also studied.

  • Mortars and grouts for the conservation of architectural monuments

One of the main activities of the Group is dedicated to the laboratory analysis and characterisation of archaeological and traditional mortars from different architectural structures and monuments, with respect to their effective conservation. The activity focuses on the design and development of sustainable, energy-efficient conservation composites, by incorporating traditional, low-cost earthen-based materials and modern, nano-materials. It is aimed at those who work on the conservation historic buildings: architects, surveyors, engineers, conservators, contractors and conservation officers, but also owners, curators, students and researchers. Beyond conservation studies and consulting for field projects, the main research activities in the field focus on:

– Enhancement of reactivity in natural and artificial, low-cost pozzolanic admixtures.

– Optimization of mortars properties in terms of strength, durability and performance towards the reduction of the production cost.

– Development of material- and methodology- related solutions for existing conservation problems, directives for new products, along with optimisation of existing products for application in Cultural Heritage.

  • ceraDAT – Database for Aegean ceramics

ceraDAT is the prototype of a relational database for archaeological ceramics. At this stage the ceraDAT database contains the elemental compositions of several thousand ceramic artifacts from the Eastern Mediterranean analysed by neutron activation (NAA) at different laboratories. The data have been calibrated on the basis of the analytical routine and can be accessed via a web application. Apart from the elemental compositions, the database contains reference patterns of specific sites, metadata concerning archaeological information, geographical distribution, literature references and former statistical evaluations. Due to the database design, the structure can be extended in future towards petrographical and mineralogical information.

Research Projects

NanoBioDomYl Το πρόγραμμα ΝΑΝΟΒΙΟΔΟΜΥΛ ασχολήθηκε με την ανάπτυξη προηγμένων νανο-υλικών με στόχο τη στερέωση των παραδοσιακών και σύγχρονων δομικών υλικών και την προστασία τους από περιβαλλοντικούς και ανθρωπογενείς παράγοντες φθοράς. Περιλαμβάνει τη σύνθεση και αποτίμηση τροποποιημένων νανο-σωματιδιακών σύνθετων (Si-Ox) από τετρααιθοξυσιλάνιο (TEOS) και νανο-οξαλικό ασβέστιο στη μορφή του αλκοολούχο και υδατικού αιώρημα νανοσωματιδίων καθώς και ξηρή πούδρα νανοσωματιδίων.

NARNIA – Marie Curie Training Network NARNIA was an interdisciplinary project, the main objective of which was to provide young researchers with the means to conduct research on ancient Eastern Mediterranean material culture and to develop their analytical skills through a series of research and training activities.

Featured Publications

The featured publications include a selection of significant research papers, book chapters and conference papers published by our group.

Verganelaki,A., Kilikoglou,V., Karatasios,I., Maravelaki-Kalaitzaki, P. (2014) A biomimetic approach to strengthen and protect construction materials with a novel calcium-oxalate–silica nanocomposite’, Construction and Building Materials 62, 8-17.

Kalagri, I. Karatasios, V.Kilikoglou, (2014) The effect of aggregate size and type of binder on microstructure and mechanical properties of NHL mortars, Constructions and Building Materials 53, 467-474.

Hein, A., Karatasios, I., Müller, N.S., Kilikoglou, V. (2013) Heat transfer properties of pyrotechnical ceramics used in ancient metallurgy, Thermochimica Acta 537, 87-94.

Karatasios, I., Hein, A., Müller, N.S., Triantafyllides, P., Kilikoglou, V. (2013) Technological Insights on the Ancient Ceramic Beehive’s Production of Agathonisi Island, Greece, Applied Clay Science 82, 37-43.

Hein, A., Kilikoglou, V. (2012) ceraDAT – Prototype of a web-based relational database for archaeological ceramics, Archaeometry 54, 2, 230-243.

Tziotziou M., Karakosta E., Karatasios I., Diamantopoulos G. ,Sapalidis A., Fardis M., Maravelaki-Kalaitzaki P., Papavassiliou G., Kilikoglou V. (2011) Application of 1H NMR to hydration and porosity studies of lime-pozzolan mixtures, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials 139, 16-24.

Karatasios, I., Katsiotis, M. S., Likodimos, V., Kontos, A. I., Papavassiliou, G., Falaras, P., Kilikoglou, V. (2010) Photo-induced self-cleaning and carbonation of lime-TiO2 mortars, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental 95, 78-86.

Karatasios, I., Theoulakis, P., Kalagri, A., Sapalidis, A., Kilikoglou, V. (2009) Evaluation of consolidation treatments of marly limestones used in archaeological monuments , Construction and Building Materials 23, 2803-2812.


Research Collaborator

Dr. Maniatis Ioannis