Archaeological Archive to be Publicly Accessible for the First Time in 135 Years
August 14, 2013

Archaeological Archive to be Publicly Accessible for the First Time in 135 Years

PRESS RELEASE      August 14, 2013

Contact: Elizabeth Christian
Archaeological Institute of America  
656 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02215
Tel: 617.353.9361  
E-mail: echristian@aia.bu.edu

RE:  Archaeological Archive to be Publicly Accessible for First Time in 135 Years

The Archaeological Institute of America, North America’s largest and oldest non-profit organization devoted to archaeology, will make the extensive archival materials of its 135-year history available online, thanks to a grant from the Leon Levy Foundation.  The project will include the complete inventorying of the AIA Archive, digitization and translation of all documents, and deposition of the entire digital Archive at the AIA’s host institution Boston University, where it will be universally available via open access.

AIA President Elizabeth Bartman applauded the grant: “The Leon Levy Foundation’s generous support will facilitate not only an understanding of our institutional past but also of what was, at the time of the AIA’s founding in 1879, a new discipline of study.  At its heart, a study of the AIA is an exploration of intellectual history.”

The vast AIA Archive includes such materials as founding documents (including those related to the AIA’s Congressional charter); presidential correspondence; minutes of board meetings; formal and legal reports; AIA publications (the early Papers, the American Journal of Archaeology, and Art and Archaeology, later renamed Archaeology); as well as materials from annual meetings, lectures, and site preservation efforts. In addition, papers record the AIA’s early archaeological work in Assos (Turkey), Crete, Croton (Italy), Cyrene (Libya), and Tarsus (Turkey), and document the AIA’s role in the foundation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, the American School of Classical Studies in Rome (later the American Academy), and the School of American Archaeology.

Systematizing and digitizing the AIA Archive fulfills a long-desired goal of making it broadly available to archaeologists, scholars, and the general public.  Susan Heuck Allen, AIA member and author of several books that are based on primary research in the Archive, notes that the Leon Levy Foundation gift will offer scholars the opportunity “to dig into the Institute’s own stratigraphy to understand the development of our discipline and the context of the United States and its excavations.”

The Leon Levy Foundation is a leader in providing funding to catalogue and make accessible important cultural archives; it has long supported the excavation of the ancient seaport of Ashkelon and the publication of archaeological fieldwork. It recently granted lead support to a new collaboration between the British Museum and the Penn Museum that will produce a dynamic online resource to the archaeology of the ancient kingdom of Ur. Work on the Archive is expected to begin immediately and the entire collection will be available in the fall of 2016.

About AIA

The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) promotes archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity. The AIA supports archaeologists, their research and its dissemination, and the ethical practice of archaeology. The AIA educates people of all ages about the significance of archaeological discovery and advocates the preservation of the world's archaeological heritage. Learn more by visiting www.archaeological.org.

About the Leon Levy Foundation

The Leon Levy Foundation, founded in 2004, is a private, not-for-profit foundation created from the estate of Leon Levy, an investor with a longstanding commitment to philanthropy. The Foundation's overarching goal is to support scholarship at the highest level, ultimately advancing knowledge and improving the lives of individuals and society at large. www.leonlevyfoundation.org.

 

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