Marie-Francoise Billot

I am the Director for Research at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and member of the Institut de Recherche sur l’Architecture Antique (IRAA, UMR 6222 CNRS Université de Provence).
I was born in France in 1944, where I received my secondary education in Luxeuil (Haute-Saône) and in Paris. My university studies, in classical philology, history and archaeology, were also conducted in Paris, at the École Normal Supérieure (ENS), at Sorbonne University, where I presented an MA thesis on the topic of archaic Crete under the supervision of Prof. P. Demargne, and at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) where I studied ancient architecture with Prof. R Martin. In 1967, I received the Agrégation (the highest qualification of teachers in France, obtained through a prestigious examination) of classical philology. The following year, in 1968, I was elected member of the École Française d’Athènes (EfA). At this institution I embarked on a study of the architectural terracottas of ancient Argos, and in 1972 I presented a doctoral thesis on the topic, supervised by Prof. R. Martin. Architectural terracottas became my specialty after Prof. Martin had offered me the ones from Epidauros for publication. On the invitation of Mrs. E. Konsolaki-Giannopoulou of the 2nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, I have since 1994 been engaged in the study of the terracottas currently preserved in the collections of the Museum of Poros, but originating from several sites in the Saronic area: Kalaureia, Troizen and Methana. I also work with newly discovered finds from the area. Since the re-opening of the excavations in the Poseidon sanctuary on Kalaureia, Prof. B. Wells has continuously entrusted me with the material brought to light by the annual archaeological campaigns. At present I also work with architectural terracotta finds from Sinope (in co-operation with the University of Bilkent, Ankara), Thasos, Delos and Tinos (in collaboration with Prof. N. Kourou of Athens University). It is of great interest to compare the various regional styles, their diffusion and the spread of production. These questions are at the core of the majority of the c. 45 articles I have published on the topic. Currently I am also preparing the publication of the material from the above sites, starting with the Argolid, Sinope and Poros.

I joined the CNRS in 1971, and it has been my base throughout a career entirely carried out in the context of the Service d’Architecture Antique, SAA. (This institution later became the IRAA) I am presently responsible for the Paris branch of the IRAA. I have furthermore taught History of Ancient Art and Archaeology at the Universities of Paris I and X, as well as at the University of Sâo Paulo. Currently I contribute to a Masters’ seminar co-directed by the University of Paris IV and the IRAA.