American School of Classical Studies at Athens
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Greek: Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα
The ASCSA main building as seen from Mount Lykavittos
The American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) (Greek: Αμερικανική Σχολή Κλασικών Σπουδών στην Αθήνα) is one of 17 foreign archaeological institutes in Athens, Greece. The center is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers.
Founded in 1892, the ASCSA is the most significant resource in Greece for American scholars in the fields of ancient and post-classical studies in Greek language, literature, history, archaeology, philosophy, and art. The mission of the School is to advance knowledge of Greece in all periods, as well as other areas of the classical world, by training young scholars, sponsoring and promoting archaeological fieldwork, providing resources for scholarly work, and disseminating research. The ASCSA is also charged by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism with primary responsibility for all American archaeological research, and seeks to support the investigation, preservation, and presentation of Greece’s cultural heritage.
The School offers two major research libraries: the Blegen Library, with 94,000 volumes dedicated to the ancient Mediterranean world; and the Gennadius Library, with over 120,000 volumes and archives devoted to post-classical Hellenic civilization and, more broadly, the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean. The School also sponsors excavations and provides centers for advanced research in archaeological and related topics at its excavations in the Athenian Agora and Ancient Corinth, and it houses an archaeological laboratory (the Wiener Laboratory) at the main building complex in Athens.
Resources and Services
The ASCSA offers graduate students enrolled in member universities an unparalleled immersion into the sites and monuments of Greek civilization. Although there are many activities and programs at the School, its core programs are:
The Academic Year or ‘Regular’ Program, which runs from early September to early June, offers advanced graduate students from a variety of fields an intensive survey of the art, archaeology, history, and topography of Greece, from antiquity to the present. The program for Regular Members is an integrated participatory program over nine months. Regular Members are expected to be in attendance for the full nine-month program. Students receive comprehensive training through visits to the principal archaeological sites and museums of Greece as well as in seminars led by resident and visiting scholars. They also take part in the training program at the Corinth excavations. The School accepts 15 to 20 students in this program.
The Summer Sessions, which run for two six-week periods each, are open to North American graduate and advanced undergraduate students and to high school and college instructors of classics and related fields. In these sessions, the School condenses its academic year program into an intensive introduction to the sites, museums, and monuments of Greece. The Summer programs are open to 20 participants each session.
The School welcomes scholars to its libraries year-round for research. In addition, the School is a recognized leader in digital resources, providing an ever-expanding collection of books, journals, photographs, excavation notebooks, personal papers, maps, and scientific data sets online.
Throughout its existence, the ASCSA has been involved in a large number of archaeological projects, as well as a major programme of primary archaeological publications. It is responsible for two of the most important archaeological sites in Greece, the Athenian Agora and Ancient Corinth. The Corinth Excavations commenced in 1896 and have continued to present day with little interruption, and the Athenian Agora excavations first broke ground in 1932. At both sites, the ASCSA operates important museums and extensive facilities for the study of the archaeological record. Excavation records and artifacts are made available to wider audiences via ASCSA.net
ASCSA Affiliated Projects
Other archaeological projects with ASCSA involvement, past and present, include surveys in the Southern Argolid, in Messenia and at Vrokastro (Crete) and excavations at Olynthus (Greek Macedonia), Samothrace (North Aegean), the islet of Mitrou (Central Greece), Halai (Phthiotis), Isthmia, Kenchreai, Nemea, Sicyon (all in Corinthia), Lerna, Argos, Franchthi cave and Halieis (Argolid), Mt. Lykaion (Acadia), Nichoria and the Palace of Nestor at Pylos (Messenia), Haghia Irini (Keos), as well as Azoria, Mochlos, Gournia, Kavousi and Kommos on Crete.
ASCSA publishes the peer-reviewed journal Hesperia quarterly as well as monographs for final reports of archaeological fieldwork conducted under School auspices, supplements to Hesperia, Gennadeion monographs; and miscellaneous volumes relating to the work of the School. These books range in format from large hardbacks to slim paperback guides.
List of Directors
- William W. Goodwin (1882 to 1883); first director
- Lewis R. Packard
- Frank B. Tarbell (1888 to 1889)
- Henry S. Robonson (1959 to 1969)
- Henry R. Immerwahr (1977 to 1982)
- William D. E. Coulson
- James D. Muhly (1997 to 2002)
- Stephen V. Tracy (2002 to 2007)
- Jack L. Davis (2007 to 2012)
- James C. Wright (2012 to 2017)
- Jenifer Neils (2017 to present)
- E. Korka et al. (eds.): Foreign Archaeological Schools in Greece, 160 Years, Athens, Hellenic Ministry of Culture, 2006, p. 18-29.
- L. Lord: A History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens: An Intercollegiate Experiment, 1882-1942.
- L. Shoe Meritt: A History of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens: 1939-1980.
- ASCSA website
- AMBROSIA The Union Catalogue of the Blegen and Gennadius Libraries of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Libraries of the British School at Athens
- ASCSA.net Online database of the ASCSA
- ASCSA Publications
- The Archivist's Notebook
- Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, digital reproduction Heidelberg University Library