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Chercheuse qualifiée FNRS

CReA-PATRIMOINE - Centre de Recherches en Archéologie et Patrimoine
Université libre de Bruxelles • CP 133/01, avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 50, B-1050 Bruxelles
+32 (0)2 650 43 55


I performed my studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (BA in History and Archaeology, MA and PhD in Classical Archaeology) and the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (MA in Classics). Since 2013, I have been based at the CReA-Patrimoine, at ULB, where I have held several positions (Fondation Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral fellow; Chargée de recherches FNRS; Scientific collaborator; FNRS Scientific collaborator). In 2020 I was appointed Research Associate (Chercheuse qualifiée) FNRS and, since 2022, I am also Lecturer (Maître d’enseignement) at the Department of History, Arts and Archaeology.

My research is focused on the archeology and the history of the northern Aegean in the 1st millennium BC, with a particular interest in the Macedonian kingdom under its first dynasty, the Temenids (or, as they were also called from the Hellenistic period onward, the Argeads). I further work on Aegean pottery from the Early Iron Age to the Classical period, on funerary archaeology, on questions of gender, social complexity and cross-cultural interactions, as well as on the political instrumentalization of archaeology.

I have participated in several excavation projects (in Pella, Corfu, Dymokastro in Thesprotia, Dodona, Itanos on Crete) and I worked as contract archaeologist at the Archaeological Museum of Corfu (Greek Archaeological Service, former 8th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities). Since 2001, I have been a member of the research team excavating the ancient settlement at Karabournaki, in Thessaloniki (project of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, directed by Prof. M. Tiverios and, since 2014, by Prof. E. Manakidou and Dr D. Tsiafakis). In the frame of the archaeological field school that is being held every July at this site, from 2002 to 2013 I trained systematically students in the typological and contextual analysis of pottery. At ULB, I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Greek pottery and cross-cultural interactions. Since 2022 I am teaching an MA course on theoretical and methodological approaches to the social analysis of funerary evidence.

I have participated in many conferences (organized, for instance, by the Perspectives on Balkan Archaeology research network, the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, the University of Stockholm, the University of Edinburgh, the European Association of Archaeologists and the Archaeological Institute of America) and I have given several invited lectures (for example, at the University of Ioannina, the University of Oxford, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Athens).


Northern Aegean

Regarding the northern Aegean, I have been interested in the history and the interactions of the various populations that inhabited the region particularly in the Archaic period (7th to early 5th c. BC). During this period, the north was marked by two major developments, namely, the foundation of several Greek colonies and the emergence of the Macedonian kingdom. Given that the archaic northern Aegean is little documented by textual evidence, I have been relying on the archaeological record and especially on the finds from the numerous cemeteries that have come to light in the broader region. So far, the results of my research have been challenging culture-historical views that essentialize the various indigenous populations by assuming that they all shared the same material and immaterial culture, and the same sociopolitical structures. I have also been arguing against hellenocentric approaches that evaluate the development of the indigenous societies on the basis of the degree to which they appropriated Greek forms of material culture, Greek practices and Greek institutions.

My research on the funerary evidence from the archaic northern Aegean has led to the development of my current main research project, which is entitled Dawn of Macedon: The Formation of the Temenid Kingdom and its Sociopolitical Organization before the Reign of Philip II. Although the foundation of the kingdom is traditionally dated to the 7th c. BC, the Macedonians do not appear in written sources before the late 6th c. BC. Moreover, the surviving literary and epigraphic record offers barely any information on the internal organization of the kingdom before the reign of Philip II. Thus, combining a multiscalar contextual analysis of the funerary evidence with theoretical approaches of social complexity, I have been investigating the sociopolitical structures of the Macedonian communities from the Early Iron Age down to the middle of the 4th c. BC. The aim of this project is to elucidate the process of foundation of the kingdom, the practices that allowed for the production of power within it (such as craft production, supra-regional exchange, feasting or dressing) and eventually the networks among which power was diffused over time, as the kingdom emerged and expanded. In my work, these power networks are conceptualized as having extended beyond the Macedonian male elite that dominates the written record on the years of Philip II and Alexander III. In fact, the diachronic analysis of the funerary evidence suggests that, within the kingdom, the degree of political centralization fluctuated over time and so did the relationship between status and gender. The study of the earlier period may, therefore, also allow for a better understanding of the power structures that were operative during the Late Classical period, as these are documented by written sources.
My research on the Temenid kingdom initially relied on published evidence from a couple of dozens of cemeteries. Although the analysis of this evidence revealed a clear regional pattern, intra-site patterns require further investigation because the cemeteries that were available for study were either not extensive enough or not fully published. For this reason, in 2022 I launched, in collaboration with the Archaeological Service of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, The West Necropolis of Archontiko near Pella Project.

Pottery studies

My research in the field of pottery studies addresses the production of various regions of the ancient Greek world and its fringes, especially from the first half of the 1st millennium BC. I have published the Corinthian, East Greek, Attic, Boeotian, Euboean and local pottery from the archaic and classical cemetery of ancient Sindos, near Thessaloniki, as well as the vase collection of the Cast Museum of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The latter collection, which is presented in a fascicule of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum series, includes pieces that originate from various centers of the Aegean and date from the Late Bronze Age to Early Hellenistic period. My work includes extensive typological and iconographic studies of some of the most common shapes and groups that are known from the ancient Greek world and well beyond (such as the Corinthian exaleiptron or the ubiquitous vases from the Workshop of the Haimon Painter). In parallel, I specialize in the pottery that was produced in the northern Aegean, systematic research on which has only begun in the past few decades. I am currently studying for publication part of the local pottery from the ancient settlement at Karabournaki, in Thessaloniki, as well as the local and part of the imported pottery from the West Necropolis of Archontiko, near Pella. Both assemblages span the period from the Early Iron Age to the Classical period. While I am firmly convinced about the necessity of typological studies, my research is equally oriented toward the investigation of the social practices that were associated with the production, the diffusion and the consumption of clay vases.

Selected publications

  • V. Saripanidi, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Greece 13, Thessaloniki, Aristotle University, Cast Museum, Athens: Academy of Athens 2012, 89 pp. with 27 figs. and 51 pls.
  • V. Saripanidi, “Πήλινα, γυάλινα και φαγεντιανά αγγεία, πήλινοι λύχνοι”, in A. Despoini et al., Σίνδος, το νεκροταφείο: ανασκαφικές έρευνες 1980-1982, τ. ΙΙ, Βιβλιοθήκη της εν Αθήναις Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας 308, Athens: Archaeological Society at Athens 2016, 31-243.
  • V. Saripanidi, “Constructing Continuities with a ‘Heroic’ Past. Death, Feasting and Political Ideology in the Archaic Macedonian Kingdom”, in A. Tsingarida & I.S. Lemos (eds.), Constructing Social Identities in Early Iron Age and Archaic Greece, Études d’Archéologie 12, Brussels: CReA-Patrimoine 2017, 73-135.
  • V. Saripanidi, “Pottery, Funerary Practices, and Political Power in the Macedonian Kingdom During the Classical Period Before the Rise of Philip II”, American Journal of Archaeology 123.3 (2019) 381-410.
  • V. Saripanidi, “Genre, statut social et pouvoir dans la Macédoine archaïque”, in I. Algrain (ed.), Archéologie du genre. Construction sociale des identités et culture matérielle (Brussels: Université des Femmes, 2020) 73-109.