Dr. Despina Pilides studied Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, London. Her doctoral dissertation at University College, London was on the Handmade Burnished Wares of the Late Bronze Age in Cyprus. She subsequently continued her research and publication of utilitarian pottery of the Late Bronze Age.
She joined the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus in 1995 and is now Curator of Antiquities. She was Acting Director of the Department of Antiquities in 2012-13.
From 1996 to 2010 she excavated a multi-period site on the Hill of Agios Georgios Nicosia, an extensive settlement that provided documentation for various periods of the city’s history. She secured funding and created a site museum-educational centre at the Hill of Agios Georgios while the archaeological site is being landscaped so as to become accessible to visitors. She also conducted excavations at the Podocataro Bastion, on the Venetian Walls of Nicosia. As of 2012 she has undertaken a new project in the centre of the island which involves survey, using new technologies and problem-oriented excavations in the region of Agios Sozomenos, to investigate the socio-economic organization of the island in the Late Bronze Age and to promote the protection of these sites in a rapidly developing industrial region of the island.
She benefited from a number of fellowships for her research projects; she was external examiner for Ph.D. theses at La Trobe University and the University of Queensland, Australia and Vrije Universiteit, Brussels. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the archaeological journal Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology (SIMA). In 2010 she was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
She was President of ICOMOS Cyprus National Committee, amongst the founders and President of the National Committee for the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Objects and is participating as an expert in UNESCO Committees and the European Union on this matter. She was also President of the Association of Cypriot Archaeologists from 2009-2018. Currently she is President of the ICOM National Committee and participates on an international level on issues concerning the management of museums; she is also President of the Committee on the Export of Cultural Goods.
As Curator of Antiquities responsible for museums, she is promoting the renovation of museums, the creation of new ones and the organization of periodical exhibitions. A major part of her work involves the digitization of collections, sites and monuments through several EU or other co-funded projects. She is also responsible for the protection of Underwater Archaeology and is currently promoting the development of a specialised unit, with external and government funding.
She took part and organised many conferences and exhibitions and lectured in many universities abroad. She published 4 monographs and edited several others, including exhibition catalogues in several languages (2012) and conference proceedings. She also contributed numerous articles in archaeological journals or conference proceedings. She has and still is supervising research programmes funded by the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, European and other external funding.