Virginia Grace

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Virginia Grace
Virginia Grace in Turkey during World War II.jpg
Grace in Turkey during World War II
Born Virginia Randolph Grace
New York City
Died May 22, 1994(1994-05-22)
Athens, Greece
Nationality American
Fields Archaeology

Virginia Grace (1901 – 1994) was an American archaeologist, known for her lifelong work into amphoras and their stamped handles.[1]

As a result of this work, amphoras and their stamped handles are now useful as a tool for closely dating archaeological contexts and serve as a primary indicator for tracing and understanding ancient trade in the Mediterranean.[2]

Her research files are the foundation of a unique archive of stamped handles (totaling some 150,000 records) from across the ancient world and to which scholars continue to add.[1]

Personal life and education[edit]

Virginia Grace was born in 1901 in New York City to Lee Ashley and Virginia Fitz-Randolph, a comfortably-off family with her father involved in importing cotton.[2][3] She attended Brearley School.[4]

She attended Bryn Mawr College, graduating in 1922, after which she taught English and mathematics to secondary-school students for several years.[5] In 1927 she re- turned to Bryn Mawr interpolating her studies with a year at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and earning her PhD in 1934, working with stamped amphora handles.[3][5]

Whilst at Bryn Mawr she became engaged to a fellow student, although they did not marry before his death (a few years before 1940).[5] She died in Athens on 22 May 1994.[2][6]

Archaeological work[edit]

Her work has included excavating Pergamon and Halai and tombs at Lapithos in Cyprus, and a lifelong affiliation with the Agora Excavations, beginning in 1932. In 1935 she worked on the Bryn Mawr Tarsus excavations. She was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and twice received Guggenheim Fellowships to advance her research, the first in 1938. She worked with the U.S. State Department, the O.S.S. Greek Affairs offices in Istanbul, İzmir and Cairo, and at Athens National Museum.[3]

In 1989, she was awarded the Gold Medal of the Archaeological Institute of America.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Virginia R. Grace— 1989 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement". Archaeological Institute of America. 
  2. ^ a b c
  3. ^ a b c Immerwahr, Sara A. (2004). "Virginia Grace". Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c
  6. ^ Medwid, L. M. (2000) 'Virginia R(andolph) Grace', in The makers of classical archaeology, Prometheus Books, New York. pp. 127-128

External links[edit]