Ioanna Kakoulli

kakoulli2 Professor Ioanna Kakoulli
Tel. (310) 794-4915 (UCLA); (310) 440-6900 ext.1987 (Getty Villa)
FAX (310) 206-4723
Email:  and

Professor of Archaeological Materials Science & Conservation; Materials Science and Engineering Department with joint appointment in the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program (Cotsen Institute of Archaeology)

Professor Kakoulli received her Master’s Degree in conservation science at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London and her Doctorate of Philosophy degree (D.Phil.) in archaeological sciences at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (RLAHA), University of Oxford, studying under the co-supervision of Prof. M. Tite and Prof. R.R.R. Smith. She has acquired further scientific experience through postdoctoral fellowships and scientific collaborations at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, the National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” in Greece, The Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London and the Museum Scientific Laboratory of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Through her academic endeavours and training, she has produced rewarding cross over research between materials science and archaeological sciences, art history and conservation. Professor Kakoulli is an expert in the application of technology for the study of material culture from the macro to the nano-length scale and in the research and development of portable non-invasive, non-destructive multispectral imaging and spectroscopic systems for field applications. Prior to her appointment at UCLA in 2005, professor Kakoulli held previous academic positions at the Courtauld Institute in London and the University of Malta and was also the Manager of Artwork Diagnostic Technologies at Forth Photonics a research spin-off company specializing in multispectral imaging systems based in Athens, Greece.

Since her appointment at UCLA, professor Kakoulli has created the Archaeomaterials Group aiming to establish a dedicated research group at UCLA to support research in archaeological and conservation science and forensic analyses of anthropological interest. Professor Kakoulli is co-director of the Tarapacá Valley Archaeological Project in northern Chile and the project ByzanTiuM in Cyprus (Byzantine Technique and Materials) and she is a research collaborator in European and international programs. She is the author of various scientific articles in archaeological sciences and conservation and a member of national and international professional and scientific committees.


Research Interests

Professor Kakoulli’s current research projects involve forensic trace evidence studies using optical and molecular biopsies (mainly engaging multispectral imaging spectroscopy; environmental scanning electron microscopy [VPSEM]  coupled with energy dispersive energy spectroscopy [EDS] and Raman spectroscopy) of archaeological human remains aiming to understand the detrimental role of the depositional burial environment and to explore the environmental factors associated with taphonomic processes; the study of ancient painting techniques and materials in the Greco-Roman period and identify patterns of trade and cultural interactions between East and West, with emphasis on technology transfer and the synthesis of artificially produced pigments and colorants; and the development and application of non-invasive diagnostic multispectral imaging and spectroscopic techniques for the study of artifacts or archaeological, cultural and artistic value.


Area of Thesis Guidance

Archaeological Sciences; forensic archaeology; archaeological chemistry; global climate change and cultural heritage preservation.


Recent Publications



  1. Ma, X., Shi, Y., Khanjian, H., Schilling, M., Li, M., Fang, H., Cui, D., Kakoulli, I., Characterization Of Early Imperial Lacquerware From The Luozhuang Han Tomb, China, Archaeometry (2015). 10.1111/arcm.12226.
  2. Neiman, M., Balonis, M., Kakoulli, I., 2015. Cinnabar alteration in archaeological wall paintings: an experimental and theoretical approach, Applied Physics A 121, 915-938. 10.1007/s00339-015-9456-x
  3. S. V. Prikhodko, D. C. Rambaldi, A. King, E. Burr, V. Muros, and I. Kakoulli, “New advancements in SERS dye detection using interfaced SEM and Raman spectromicroscopy (uRS),” Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, (2015). DOI: 10.1002/jrs.4710
  4. Radpour R., Bajwa N., Garritano J., Sung S., Balonis-Sant M., Tewari P., Grundfest W., Kakoulli I., Taylor Z., “THz imaging studies of painted samples to guide cultural heritage investigations at the Enkleistra of St. Neophytos in Paphos, Cyprus,” in SPIE Optical Engineering+ Applications, (2014), pp. 91990Q-91990Q-9.
  5. Prikhodko S., Rambaldi D. C., Muros V., Burr E., Kakoulli I., ‘Interfaced SEM and micro-Raman Spectroscopy for the Analysis of Dye Chromophores in a Single Fiber’, Microscopy & Microanalysis 20. S03 (2014) 2008-2009. doi: 10.1017/S1431927614011775
  6. Kakoulli, I., Prikhodko, S.V., King, A., Fischer, C., ‘Earliest evidence for asbestos composites linked to Byzantine wall paintings production’, Journal of Archaeological Science 44, (2014) 148-153.
  7. Kakoulli, I., Prikhodko, S.V., Fischer, C., Cilluffo, M., Uribe, M., Bechtel, H.A., Fakra, S.C., Marcus, M.A., ‘Distribution and chemical speciation of arsenic in ancient human hair using synchrotron radiation’, Analytical Chemistry 86, (2013) 521-526.
  8. Kakoulli, I., Fischer C., and Michaelides, D., ‘Painted rock-cut tombs in Cyprus from the Greco-Roman period to Byzantium: material properties, degradation processes and sustainable preservation strategies’, Studies in Conservation 55. 2, (2010) 96-102.
  9. Prikhodko S.V., Fischer C., Boytner R., Lozada M. C., Uribe M., Kakoulli I., ‘Beyond death: forensic investigations of pre-Columbian mummies from the Tarapacá valley, Chile, using variable pressure SEM and Raman spectroscopy’ Microscopy Today 15, N6 (2007) 6-10.
  10. Prikhodko S.V., Fischer C., Boytner R., Lozada M. C., Uribe M., Kakoulli I., ‘Applications of variable pressure SEM and Raman spectroscopy for the non-destructive study of bio-specimens from pre-Columbian mummies in the Tarapacá Valley, Northern Chile’ Microscopy & Microanalysis 2007 Meeting, August 5-9, 2007.
  11. Mommsen H., Bonanno A., Chetcuti Bonavita K., Kakoulli I., Musumeci M., Sagona C., Schwedt A., Vella N. C. and Zacharias N.  (2006), ‘Characterization of Maltese Pottery of the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Punic Phases by Neutron Activation Analysis,’ in Geomaterials in Cultural Heritage 257 (2006) 81-89.
  12. Fischer C. and Kakoulli I., ‘Multispectral and hyperspectral imaging technologies in conservation: current research and potential applications’, Reviews in Conservation 7 (2006) 3-16.
  13. Kakoulli I., ‘Late Classical and Hellenistic Painting Techniques and Materials: A Review of the Technical Literature’, Reviews in Conservation 3, (2002) 56-67.



  • Kakoulli I., 2009. Greek Painting Techniques and Materials:  of Ancient Greek Paintings: From the Fourth to the First Century BC. Archetype Publications, London.


Book Chapters

  • Kakoulli I., ‘Scientific Investigations of three Graeco-Roman painted stone slabs’, in Book : Nécropolis 1, Édutes Alexandrines 5, Institute Français D’Archéologie Orientale, Cairo, (2001) 215-224.
  • Kakoulli I., ‘Egyptian blue in Greek painting between 2500 and 50 BC’. In book: From mine to microscope: studies in honour of Mike Tite, (Festschrift in celebration of his retirement), Shortland A., Freestone I. and Rehren Th. (eds), UCL Press. In Press, p.101-112.
  • Kakoulli, I., ‘Τεχνικές και υλικά ζωγραφικής διακόσμησης της ύστερης κλασικής και της ελληνιστικής περιόδου’, ΑρχαιοΥλικα (ArchaoMaterials) eds. I. Liritzis and N. Zacharias, Kapon Editions, Athens, 2010. [In Greek].
  • Kakoulli, I., and Fischer C., “Byzantine Paintings in the Making: A Preliminary Technical Study of the Twelfth Century Wall Paintings in the Enkleistra of St. Neophytos”, In Book: Enkleistriotika Analekta. History-Theology-Civilization, Archimandrite Alexios Enkleistriotis (Ed.), Paphos, Cyprus: Ieras Vasilikis kai Stavropigiakis monis Agiou Neophytou, (2011) 437-461.
  • Kakoulli I., Schilling M., Mazurek J.,  ‘Techniques and Materials of Byzantine Paintings in the church of Asinou, Cyprus’, in book The church of Asinou, eds. Annemarie Carr and Andreas Nicolaides, Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University Press. In Press.
  • Kakoulli I., Prikhodko S.V, Fischer C., Cilluffo M., Liu K., Boytner R., Lozada M. C., Uribe M., ‘Taphonomy, Diagenesis and Preservation of Bioarchaeological Materials in the Tarapacá Valley, Chile’, in Book: Identify and Ideology at the Frontier: Perspectives from the Tarapaca, Northern Chile, The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press. In Press.
  • Balonis-Sant, M., Ma, X., Kakoulli, I., ‘Preliminary Results on Biomimetic Methods Based on Soluble Ammonium Phosphate Precursors for the Consolidation of Archaeological Wall Paintings’, Archaeological Chemistry VIII, American Chemical Society, (2013) 419-447.
  • Cheung, K., A., Xie, N., Yao, Z., Houston, S., Newman, S., Román-Ramírez, E.R., Garrison, T.,Fischer, C., Muros, V., Prikhodko, S., Kakoulli, I. “Analysis of Samples Excavated from a Royal Tomb in El Zotz: Application of Materials Science Characterization Techniques in Archaeology”, In: Archaeological Chemistry VIII, Ruth Ann Armitage and James Burton (Eds.), American Chemical Society, (2013) 397-418.
  • Cheung, K. A., Xie, N., Yao, Z., Fischer, C., Muros, V., Prikhodko, S., Kakoulli, I., 2014.’Materials Analysis’, In book Temple of the Night Sun:  A Royal Tomb at El Diablo, Guatemala, eds. Houston, S., Newman, S., Román-Ramírez, E.R., Garrison, T., Precolumbia Mesoweb Press, 2015, San Francisco.


Invited Book Reviews

  • Kakoulli I., (Invited book review) Review of  the book ‘La Peinture Funeraire de Macedoine: Emplois et Fonctions de la Couleur  IVe – IIe s. av. J.-C. (Meletemata 48)’, by Brecoulaki Hariclia (in French). 2 vols. Vol. 1, Text. Pp. 482. Vol. 2, Plates & Tables, Pp. 183, color pls. 131, tables 33, CD-ROM 1. De Boccard, Athens 2006. ISBN 978-960-7905-31-4 (paper). American Journal of Archaeology 112.2 (2008) 365-366.


Conference Proceedings

  • Kakoulli, I., Fischer C., Prikhodko S., ‘At the interface between materials science, art and archaeology: a multi-scale and multi-analytical approach for the metrology of material culture’, in Works of Art & Conservation Science Today, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (2010) 1-16. 
  • Kakoulli, I., Prikhodko S., Fischer C., Bechtel H., Fakra S., Marcus M., ‘Micromorphology and Microchemical Analysis of Ancient Human Skin and Hair’. IMC17, International Microscopy Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 – 24 September 2010. Rio de Janeiro, (2010).
  • Kaufman B., Kakoulli, I., Prikhodko S., ‘Microstructural and Compositional Analysis of Ancient Metal Alloys as a Tool for Monitoring Human Adaptation to Environmental Change’. Extended Abstract: IMC17, International Microscopy Congress, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 19 – 24 September 2010. Rio de Janeiro, (2010).
  • Kakoulli I., ‘Intercultural links and trade of painting materials in the Greco-Roman period’, in book: Mural Paintings of the Silk Road: Cultural Exchange of the East and West. Proceedings of the 29th International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, 24-26 January 2006, Tokyo, Japan. London (2007) 81-88.
  • De Angelis R., Cassar J. and Kakoulli I., ‘Degrado e problematiche conservative di un dipinto ad olio su pietra a Malta’. In book: Scienza e Beni Culturali XXI. Sulle Pitture Murali Riflessioni, Conoscenze, Interventi. Atti del Convegno di Studi Bressanone 12- 15 luglio 2005, (2005) 135-145.
  • De Angelis, R., Cassar J., Kakoulli, I., Colombini M. P,‘Oil Painting on Stone: a case study on original technique and deterioration of an early 20th century painting by Giuseppe Cali in Malta’, in book: Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on Deterioration and Conservation of Stone, Stockholm (2004), 793-800.
  • Taniguchi Y., Shimadzu Y., Kakoulli I. and Giovannoni S., “Conservation of Globigerina limestone monument in Malta (II): surface protective treatment with ammonium oxalate”. In book: Proceedings of the 25th annual conference of Japan Society of Conservation for Cultural Property, Kyoto Zokei University (2003).
  • Kakoulli I., Kottaridou A., and Minos N., ‘Materials and technologies of Ancient Monumental Paintings: methodology and analysis of the painted throne from the ‘Tomb of Eurydice’, Vergina, in Proceedings from the III Archaeometry Symposium, Athens 6-9 November 1996, (2001) 261-274.
  • Kakoulli I. and Michaelides D., ‘Technological Investigation of Monumental Graeco-Roman Tomb Paintings in Cyprus’, Proceedings of the 32nd International Symposium of Archaeometry, Mexico City 15-19 May 2000.
  • Kakoulli I., ‘Technological Investigation of Hellenistic and Roman Egyptian Blue’, Proceedings of the 32nd International Symposium of Archaeometry, Mexico City 15-19 May 2000. (Electronic Publication). 
  • Kakoulli I., 1997, ‘Roman wall paintings: a scientific investigation of their technology’, in Book: Roman Wall Paintings: Materials, Techniques, Analysis and Conservation. Proceedings of the International Workshop on Fribourg 7-9 March 1996. Université de Frigourg. Institut de minéralogie et pétrographie (1997) 131-141.


Professional Activities

Membership in professional societies and scientific committees

  • Member of the SAS (Society of Archaeological Sciences)
  • Member of the Italian Vacuum Association –AIV (member of the International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique, and Applications (IUVSTA)
  • Member of the SAA (Society of American Archaeology)
  • Member of the IIC (International Institute for Conservation)
  • Member of the Hellenic Archaeometry Group
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the Hellenic Archaeometry Group responsible  for the 5th International Archaeometry Conference (to be held in Athens in October 2008)
  • Member of the ICCM (International Committee for the Conservation of Mosaics)
  • Member of ICOM (International Council of Museums) and ICOM-CC (Scientific Research)
  • Official Representative of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at ICCROM (a UNESCO founded training Center in Conservation based in Rome)

Research Affiliations

  • Co-Director (together with Dr. Ran Boytner, UCLA, Dr. Maria Cecilia Lozada, University of Chicago and Dr. Mauricio Uribe, Universidad de Chile) of the Tarapaca Valley Archaeological Project in Chile
  • Co-Director (together with Dr. Christian Fischer) of the project ByzanTiuM (Byzantine Techniques and Materials) Project, Cyprus
  • Co-PI (together with Dr. Paola Dematte and Dr. Christian Fischer) of the Project: Issues in the preservation and management of the Xumishan Grottoes, China
  • Director of the Archaeomaterials Group, Materials Science and Engineering Department, UCLA

Editorial Services

  • Reviewer, Studies in Conservation (journal)
  • Reviewer, Archaeometry (journal)
  • Reviewer, CMAS (journal)
  • Reviewer, Journal of Cultural Heritage
  • Reviewer, Journal of Archaeological Sciences
  • Reviewer, Research Proposals, University of Cyprus


Courses Taught

CAEM M215 / M204A
Diagnostic Imaging and Photo-Documentation in Conservation, Archaeology and Art History
CAEM M210 / MAT SCI M212 / MAT SCI M112 Introduction to Archaeological Materials Science
M 216
Science of Conservation Materials and Methods I
M 215
Techniques and Materials of Archaeological and Cultural Materials: In situ and ex situ architectural decorative surfaces
CAEM 596 Independent Study
CAEM M236 / MAT SCI M213 Deterioration and Conservation of Archaeological and Cultural Materials: In situ and ex situ architectural decorative surfaces
CAEM 224 Issues in the Preservation and Management of Archaeological & Cultural Sites
MSE 19 Fiat Lux Ancient Technologies and nanostructured materials
ARC 119/ARC 259 Principles and Methods of Archaeological Conservation
UCLA/ICCROM Diagnostic Imaging and Photodocumentation of Archaeological and Cultural Materials, taught at ICCROM, Rome, Italy



Research Group/Lab:

Archaeogroup Materials Group
The UCLA/Getty Conservation Program


Mailing Address

  • The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
    A410 Fowler Building
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-1510
  • The Getty Villa Malibu
    UCLA/Getty Conservation Laboratories
    17985 Pacific Coast Highway
    Pacific Palisades, California 90272