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In the Field

NEH at AIA-APA in Philadelphia

Program Officers Mary Downs and Charles Kolb attend meeting of archaeologists, historians, classicists, and students

February 1, 2012 | By Mary Downs

On January 5-8, Senior Program Officers from NEH’s Division of Preservation and Access Mary Downs and Charlie Kolb attended the Joint Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and the American Philological Association in Philadelphia.  The meeting attracted nearly 3,000 professional archaeologists, historians, and classicists, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as archaeology enthusiasts and focuses on the languages and material culture of Classical cultures of the Mediterranean. 

Alongside the traditional sessions on Aegean prehistory, Greek architecture, the topography and monuments of Athens and Rome, and specific sites that are a mainstay of the annual meeting, there were thematic sessions that explored topics such as comparative urbanism in the ancient Mediterranean, crafts and markets in Bronze Age Mycenae, and the material and historic evidence for peasants in the Mediterranean, and sessions that focused on the treatment and analysis of particular classes of material culture from painting to pottery. 

Mary attended sessions that explored the challenges curators face in making complex histories accessible to diverse audiences as well as issues in digital preservation and documentation.  Charlie attended some of the sessions and workshops on site preservation, which explored challenges of preservation in war zones, and areas experiencing humanitarian crises and revolutions, as well as the role of the media in site preservation and strategies, such as public outreach, community involvement, and innovative technology. 

Mary and fellow program officer from the Division of Research Stefanie Walker participated in a popular “Meet the Funders” panel, alongside program officers from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and the Archaeological Institute of America itself, which runs a number of grant programs.