Boston University Professor Only U.S. Academic Awarded This Year’s Onassis Foundation Grant

in College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, News Releases, Science & Technology
October 3rd, 2002

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

Boston, MA — Boston University Professor James. R. Wiseman, College of Arts and Sciences professor of archaeology, art history, and classics, and director of the Center for Archaeological Studies, has been awarded a research grant by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. He will use the grant to continue work on the Nikopolis Project, a landmark study, conducted in Greece over the past decade, which has led to new insights into the underlying changes in human-land relations over time.

Professor Wiseman was the only U.S. academic among this year’s 12 winners of the category of Onassis grant which is given to selected full university professors and members of academies of science whose scientific work is widely known and related to Greek culture. It will allow him to spend a month in Greece in the spring of 2003 collaborating with Greek colleagues and delivering lectures as he works on the second volume of the final report on the Nikopolis Project, which he co-directed. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens will publish the first volume in early 2003.

The Nikopolis Project is an interdisciplinary study focused on the human societies that inhabited southern Epirus in northwestern Greece from earliest times to the medieval period. Intensive archaeological survey and geological investigations were undertaken from 1991 through 1996 to determine the patterns of human activity areas for each time period and how the landscape changed. This bi-national project is sponsored in the U.S. by Boston University’s Department of Archaeology, Center for Archaeological Studies, and Center for Remote Sensing, and in Greece by units of the Greek Archaeological Service: the 12th Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the 9th Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities.

Active in archaeological field work for some 40 years, Professor Wiseman has received numerous academic honors, fellowships, and grants, and has published extensively. He established the Department of Archaeology at Boston University, is founding editor of the “Journal of Field Archaeology” published at BU, and is a former president and now honorary president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

Greek shipping industrialist Aristotle Onassis, who died in 1975, provided in his handwritten will for the creation of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, named after his late son, to which he bequeathed half his fortune. The foundation’s scholarship programs, established in 1995, are aimed at disseminating the Hellenic language, culture and history abroad.

Boston University’s Department of Archaeology is one of the few programs in the country that offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in archaeology. With an enrollment of more than 29,000 students in its 17 schools and colleges, BU is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States. The University offers an exceptional grounding in the liberal arts, a broad range of programs in the arts, sciences, engineering, and professional areas, and state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and research.

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