Aris Politopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Archaeology and Cultural Politics at the Faculty of Archaeology.
Leiden Archaeology Blog
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Aris Politopoulos is an Assistant Professor in Archaeology and Cultural Politics at the Faculty of Archaeology. His research focuses on archaeology and video games, the archaeology of play, ancient board games, the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean, and radical archaeology.
Aris has conducted extensive research on the archaeology of play, both through the study of ancient play (e.g. ancient board games), as well as through the study of contemporary video games that deal with the past. As a founding member of the VALUE Foundation, Aris has organized multiple events, conferences, workshops, and the Culture Arcade exhibition, utilizing video games for heritage and archaeological outreach. He has also published a number of papers and edited volumes on the topic of archaeology and video games.
Over the last years he ran the Past-at-Play Lab project together with prof. dr. Sybille Lammes and dr. Angus Mol, an experimental project that focused on the study of the past in and as play. During that project, they investigated how past civilizations culturally expressed themselves through play, but also how contemporary play can help us understand the past. Together, they also conducted the Streaming the Past science communication project, a project focused on streaming video games that deal with the past through the popular platform Twitch.
Aris has also done extensive research on the archaeology of West Asia. His PhD research focused on the creation of the Assyrian imperial capital cities from the 14th century BCE until the fall of Assyria in 612 BCE. Currently he is engaged with the topic of representation of the cultures of West Asia in popular media such as video games, and orientalism in popular culture.
Aris' teaching focuses on the archaeology of early cities and states, the archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age, archaeology and games, and science communication. He is also particularly interested in the development of new educational methods for teaching archaeology, and has been nominated for a number of teaching prizes.
Currently he is part of the Education Committee of the Faculty of Archaeology, as well as a member of the Leiden Teachers' Academy of Leiden University.
Aris studied archaeology at the University of Athens, specializing in the Late Bronze Age Aegean archaeology. He then pursued an MA in the Archaeology of the Near East in Leiden, where he studied the transitional period from the Mitanni to Middle Assyrian empire, focusing on changes in settlement patterns and agriculture. In September 2013 he began his PhD research on the creation of Assyrian Capital cities.
In 2015, together with other archaeologists from Leiden University he founded the VALUE project, now VALUE Foundation, a foundation that works on the crossroads of gaming and academia. Since 2018 he worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Archaeology. In 2019, together with prof. dr. Sybille Lammes and dr. Angus Mol they were awarded the Snouck Hurgronje grant by the Leiden University Fund to run the Past-at-Play Lab project. Since 2022 he was appointed assistant professor in Archaeology and Cultural Politics.
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