In 2018 Koç University – Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies (GABAM) and The Friends of Music Society in Athens launched the Byzantine Musical Instruments research project, under the scientific supervision of Prof. Nikos Maliaras.
As part of this research project, Dr. Botonakis examined a great number of visual representations found on artefacts such as bowls, caskets, wall paintings, pitchers, mosaics, wooden icons etc., dated between the 2nd and the 16th century, originating from the wider geographic area of the Byzantine Empire. During the second phase of the project, Greek manuscripts containing illustrated miniatures were systematically studied. These included 369 manuscripts located at the Library of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fener, along with 19 Greek manuscripts found at the Topkapı Palace Museum Library. This research revealed more than 400 visual representations of musical instruments, which are spread across 136 different cultural institutions such as museums, churches, libraries, monasteries and research institutes in 27 countries around the world.
23 libraries, museums and private institutions also assisted with this research by providing necessary documentation on several artefacts and photographic reproductions.