He followed secondary education in Focșani, and university studies in Bucharest, and did the courses at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, Department of Classical Philology by 1926, took a degree in classical philology and secondary archeology. His interest in education facilitated his specialization in 1928–1932 in Berlin and Marburg (Lahn), while participating in the archaeological research that revealed the Neolithic culture of Goldberg (ordlingen). Because of his stay in Berlin he also got acquainted with some materials preserved kept at the Museum of Archeology, at the prehistoric section, coming from the Romanian territory, collected in the previous decades. When he got familiar with these materials it allowed him to make the records for those from the Cucuteni, Sărata Monteoru, Cernavodă and others cultures.
Ion Nestor was, together with Sorin Pavel and Petre Pandrea, author of the Manifestul "Crinului Alb" (White Lily Manifesto), published in the no. 8-9 editions (August–September) of 1928 of the magazine "Gândirea" (The Thinking). He became, according to critic Zigu Ornea, a follower of the racist ideology of the German philosopher Oswald Spengler.
In 1932 he submitted his PhD thesis at the "Philip" University of Marburg a relevant analysis of the state of research in the field of Romania prehistory. The examination commission, has highly appreciated the researcher's contribution, recommended him to undertake further research to allow the writing of an extensive paper that would provide a wide range of data on the evolution of human life in the Carpatho-Danubian-Pontic territory in ancient times. This work, which through the completions made became a laborious synthesis, was published in 1933 in German (Der Stand der Vorgerschichtsforschung in Rumänien) and was awarded by the Romanian Academy with the "Vasile Pârvan" Award.
The passionate researcher considered that of his duty to deepen the problems by corroborating the information already acquired, hoarded in museum collections. Thus, on February 13, 1934, Dr. Ion Nestor, assistant at the National Museum of Antiquities, informed the leadership of the Ministry of Instruction, Cults and Arts that he published in Berlin, under the auspices of the German Archaeological Institute, a synthesis of Romanian prehistory. Considering that it is necessary to complete the documentation based on visits to museums and taking photographs, he requested material support from the ministry. The Minister's resolution of February 13, 1934 requested the academician Prof. Ioan Andrieșescu, director of the National Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest, to report on this issue. Prompt answer was received on February 18, 1934, from Ioan Andrieșescu, who gave an warm recommendation to Ion Nestor.
The PhD in History, archaeologist, with an intense activity within the National Museum of Antiquities and the Institute of Archeology in Bucharest, he coordinated during the years of activity the researches on the archeological sites from Glina, Sărata Monteoru, Zimnicea, Glăvăneștii Vechi, Corlăteni, Suceava, Dridu, Bratei, Păcuiul lui Soare.
Since 1945 he carried out at the same time a prestigious didactic career as a professor at the University of Bucharest, contributing to the formation of disciples which, through what they did, proved that they properly received what was invested by their mentor Ion Nestor. Through the studies undertaken, Ion Nestor contributed to the substantiation of the formation process of the Romanian people, constituting at the same time a valuable methodological guide for the younger collaborators through the way of analysis, synthesis, support of the stated theses.
Ion Nestor had major contributions in the field of periodization of Neo and Eneolithic cultures of the transition period that led to the metal age. His contributions were integrated in the treatise Istoria României, vol. I, 1960 and in Istoria poporului român, 1970.
A pedantic publicist, those entrusted to the press constitute a permanent methodological guide. The appreciation from foreign researchers was also materialized by entrusting the mission of being editor for Romania of the contributions integrated in the Archaeological Inventory and Prähistorirische Bronzefunde, as well as by his election as a member of the German Archaeological Institute, the Yugoslav Archaeological Society, the Permanent Council of International Union of Pre and Protohistoric Sciences, International Union of Slavic Archeology. On July 2, 1955, he was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy.
As a trainer for future researchers, Ion Nestor has paid a lot of attention to the way of stating the findings by each of participant on the site, intervening, when he considered it necessary, with connections that allowed a clarification of the problem in question. Pedantic to detail, he asked the collaborators to pay attention to every detail encountered during the excavation, the immediate recording of what was observed, then allowing an analysis whose purpose was to understand the evolution of the way of life of the creators of material and spiritual culture.
- "Ion Nestor (1905-1974) - Author - Resources from the BnF", data.bnf.fr, retrieved May 8, 2020
- Z. Ornea, Tradiționalism și modernitate în deceniul al treilea, 1980, pp. 135, 174, 288, 290, 456.
- Adrian Popescu, Lancea frântă: lirica lui Radu Gyr, Editura Didactică și Pedagogică, București, 1995, p. 22.
- Z. Ornea, Tradiționalism și modernitate în deceniul al treilea, 1980, p. 246.
- "Hotărârea nr. 281/1963 privind acordarea Premiului de Stat al Republicii Populare Romane pe anul 1962", Lege5, retrieved May 8, 2020