Effie Sapouna – Sakellaraki is an important woman of Archaeology which has shared many important excavation successes with her husband, the acclaimed Archaeologist Yiannis Sakellarakis, who has been honored with the Gold Medal of the University of Crete and the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor of the Greek Republic in 2004, for his invaluable excavation work in Crete.
Archanes, Phourni, Idaean Cave and Zominthos…Minoan Crete is still for her a point of reference and exploration and despite her husband’s death, she continues her passionate participation in excavations taking place at the holy Mountain of Psiloritis. In 2017 her excavation brought to light important findings. Ms Sakellaraki and her team discovered new impressive entrances to the Minoan Palace of Zomintho on Psiloritis (Anogeia), as well as new findings regarding its interior and architecture (stairs, decoration). Among the numerous findings in its interior and rooms, is an especially rare Marcus Aurelius coin (161-180 AD). These findings signify the importance of this huge labyrinth-like building, found on an altitude of 1,200m.
In 2014 she founded in Anogeia the Centre of Archaeological Information ‘Yiannis Sakellarakis and Effie Sapouna – Sakellaraki’ which includes a detailed description of the history of their excavations in Crete, copies of the findings at the Idaean Cave and models of items found created by ceramic artists sponsored by the Psycha Foundation, as well as an exhibition of photographs from their personal collection. The Anogeia City Council unanimously selected Ms Sakellaraki as an Honorary Citizen of Anogeia in order to honor her contribution and her scientific work.
Dr. Effie Sapouna-Sakellarakis was born in Piraeus and grew up in Athens. She graduated from the faculty of Philosophy at the University of Athens and she read for her PhD in the same department. She continued her studies with postgraduate degrees in London and Heidelberg. She has worked at the Museum of Acropolis, Olympia, Nafplion, Heraklion and Corfu as well as in excavations around these areas. For many years she was an executive of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens for the excavations in the ancient Agora and specifically the Stoa of Attalos. She has also worked in the archives department of the Ministry of Culture and for the Ephorate of Underwater Archaeology. Her published work is notable and includes more than 150 titles of scientific articles and books. Her two monographs in the German language concern ancient brooches of the island and bronze statuettes of the Aegean, while her doctoral thesis with Spyros Marinatos was a research on the Minoan ‘Zoma’ which is a fabric that the Minoans wrapped tightly around their waists. Ms Sakellaraki is a member of the Archeological Society at Athens, the Institute of Underwater Archaeological Research and the Archaeological Institutes of Berlin and the United States. Since 2010 she is the president of the Foundation ‘Psycha’ which funds Greek excavations.
As an antiquities curator in Euboea she performed numerous important excavations on the island, as well as in Skyros and east Boeotia. Foreign archeologists such as Catling and Kopcke among others wrote her letters following the death of her husband, including him among the most important archaeologists of the second half of the 20th century in Crete. They had both been awarded from the Academy of Athens for their work on the excavation of Archanes.
Recently a new book by Effie Sapouna – Sakellaraki has been published by Ikaros Publishing House entitled “When the Time Spoke”, which is a special chronicle of her life with her husband Yiannis Sakellarakis. Through a fictionalized narration, she describes their common path and how they felt, acted and reacted based on a particular philosophy, aesthetic and integrity, during their lives inside and outside the world of archaeology. This is a book about two people who connected their lives with their science and left their own imprint on Archaeology. The description of the scientific path of Yiannis and Effie Sakellaraki, which includes excavations, writing and publications, travelling to international conferences, successes and disappointments, brings a whole era to life, which includes many important events of the cultural and social life of Greece during the second half of the 20th century.