Institute of Archaeology


Myrto Georgakopoulou (1976-2022)

20 December 2022

UCL Institute of Archaeology staff, students, friends and colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Myrto Georgakopoulou on 15 December.

Five people standing outside a building in graduation gowns and hats

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of our friend and UCL Institute of Archaeology alumna Myrto Georgakopoulou. 

Myrto gained her (then AHRB-funded) PhD with us in 2005 on the technology and organisation of Early Cycladic Metallurgy, supervised by Cyprian Broodbank and Thilo Rehren. Following her time at the Institute, she spent a number of years at the BSA’s Fitch Laboratory as well as UCL Qatar and latterly was a researcher affiliated with the Cyprus Institute. 

It is abundantly clear from the messages we have received so far that Myrto was an exceptional scientist, researcher, friend, colleague, wife and mother - indeed a matchless person as one of her friends has said - and she will be sorely missed.

Your memories of Myrto are welcomed to add to our remembrance of her. Please send these to Jo Dullaghan.

Six people standing together with luggage in an outside area beside palm trees/foliage

In Memoriam: Myrto Georgakopoulou

Athena Chatzi, Michael Charlton, Helen Dawson, Marcos Martinon-Torres, Miljana Radivojevic, Thilo Rehren

We worked together in Kythera. It was a pleasure to work with Myrto. A kind, intuitive woman and a brilliant scientist." 

Myrto was one of the first students I met when I started my PhD at UCL so long ago and became one of my most enduring friends.  She was a brilliant chemist with a tough persona and sharp wit who never failed to brighten the labs with her presence.  Myrto was intensely curious and would surprise you with her depth of knowledge about archaeology and metallurgy.  Through these she inspired the people she worked and studied with and later her own students.  Myrto was also amongst the kindest people I have ever met, making everyone she knew feel like family.  I am privileged to have known her and words cannot express how much she will be missed by me and so many others."

I first met Myrto on the Kythera island survey in 2000, around the start of our PhDs at the IoA. The following years saw us becoming part of a close-knit group of friends as we all supported each other while writing our theses. After we finished, Myrto and I met again on the Cambridge Keros excavations in 2007, where she was responsible for the archaeometallurgical analyses, and at conferences over the years. Memorable moments include braving a very choppy sea crossing with her from Anafi to Santorini, and a wedding in Belgrade between mutual friends from the Keros project, which is where she also met Tom. It all seems like yesterday and it is heartbreaking that she is no longer with us." 

Exceptionally sharp and perceptive, generous with her time and knowledge, and a master of balancing excellence with slight self-deprecation, Myrto was a true role model. But above all, she was a loyal and selfless friend, a supportive listener and, without trying, always the funniest person in the room. Her charisma, sense of justice, and personal warmth will remain an inspiration. A whole generation of archaeological scientists now working around the world started their careers and early networks by bonding and working together in B53, the PhD student room at the basement of the UCL Institute of Archaeology. All of them, and the many more who crossed paths with Myrto in Britain, Qatar, Greece, Cyprus and beyond, will remember her ingenuity, academic rigour and work ethic, as much as her incomparable spontaneity and charm." 

This is truly heartbreaking, Myrto was cherished as a colleague and as a friend, she lightened up every room she was in. Her laughter was contagious, and her easy going approach to life something that we all wanted to have a little of. Her vast knowledge, expertise and scholarship made a profound impact on the studies of Aegean metallurgy, but also beyond, as her research networks were worldwide. She will be greatly missed in this life, and I remain grateful that we had the chance to cross paths and spend joyful time together. May she rest in peace."

It is a devastating loss indeed, for so many people....an amazing woman, now gone." 

Our thoughts are with Myrto’s family and all her friends, both here at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and elsewhere, at this difficult time.