Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

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"ISAW" redirects here. For the food, see Isaw.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education that cultivates comparative and connective investigations of the ancient world from the western Mediterranean to China. It is a discrete entity within New York University, independent of any other school or department of the university, with its own endowment and its own board of trustees.

ISAW was founded in 2006 with funding from the Leon Levy Foundation,[1] and is housed in separate facilities on East 84th Street in Manhattan.[2] The Director of ISAW is Roger Bagnall.[3] ISAW faculty conduct historical, archaeological, socio-cultural and linguistics research and offer doctoral and postdoctoral programs.


ISAW organizes exhibitions. The first of these is "Wine, Worship, and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani", which was exhibited in New York in the spring of 2008, went on tour, and generated a book.[4][5] The second is The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000 – 3500 BC,[6] November 11, 2009 – April 25, 2010. “Before Pythagoras: The Culture of Old Babylonian Mathematics”, an exhibit of Babylonian mathematics through cuneiform tablets (including Plimpton 322) runs from November 12 – December 17, 2010 [7][8]


A key component of the mission of ISAW is to develop a working library covering the full range of relevant fields. As well as providing coverage across a wide range of subjects, the library aims to develop strengths in areas otherwise currently poorly represented in New York area libraries. ISAW also aims to play an active role in developing and providing access to electronic resources for the ancient world. As a central feature of this effort, the Ancient World Digital Library will formulate, fund, and sustain a digital collection of the most important research materials for the use of the general scholarly community. It will constitute a collection of digital material of the highest quality and usefulness to scholars working within the cross-boundary, interdisciplinary, synchronic, and diachronic fields of study within ISAW’s mandate. The AWDL will function in close cooperation with other ISAW initiatives such as Backstop (ISAW’s project to facilitate the preservation and long-term maintenance of born-digital scholarly works for ancient studies), a planned Ancient World Image Bank (AWIB), and an initiative to identify, curate and create high quality MARC records for a broad range of scholarly material digitized elsewhere.[citation needed]

Online resources[edit]

Ancient World Digital Library Book Viewer

Ancient World Image Bank

Ancient World Online


ISAW Papers: An open-content scholarly journal that publishes article-length works on any topic within the scope of ISAW's scholarly research.

Planet Atlantides


Social Media


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°46′48″N 73°57′37″W / 40.7799°N 73.9603°W / 40.7799; -73.9603