New Archaeological Institute Launched

October 11, 2010

A new research institute is drawing on GW’s expertise in archaeology. The GW Capitol Archaeological Institute, made possible through a gift by donors Deborah Lehr and John F.W. Rogers, officially launched last week with a goal of “preserving, facilitating and promoting cultural heritage.”

The institute will be housed in GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and is the first of its kind in the area.

Led by Eric Cline, chair of the department of classical and near eastern languages and civilizations, the institute will utilize Columbian College archaeologists and scholars specializing in the ancient and classical worlds and civilizations across the globe. GW archaeologists are currently involved in excavations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, North America, Central America and Europe.

“The GW Capitol Archaeological Institute is poised to take advantage of the deep expertise in our own backyard, especially resources available through foreign embassies, government and international agencies, cultural institutions and museums,” said Dr. Cline. “The confluence of resources here in Washington, D.C., is unparalleled. This is our opportunity to advance archaeological research initiatives and facilitate a global community of academics, politicians, diplomats and business leaders.”

On Oct. 7, the institute officially opened during an event at the City View Room at 1957 E St. and featured an address from Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities and Vice Minister of Culture of Egypt Zahi Hawass, a renowned archaeologist. Before the event, GW President Steven Knapp participated in a ceremonial signing of the institute’s charter with Dr. Cline and Dr. Hawass.

“Archaeology is very important, and that’s why I was so happy to find out this institute will open here at George Washington University,” said Dr. Hawass. “The institute will encourage people who love archaeology and will welcome young people who want to be archaeologists in the future.”

The institute plans to initiate a speaker series featuring internationally renowned archaeologists, organize tours to excavations that link ancient history to current issues, launch programs that examine the role of cultural heritage in sustainable development, and promote the practice of “green” archaeology with the use of new technology at digs. Research topics will range from the impact of urbanism and globalization on archaeology to the study of the slave trade.

“We are excited about the prospects and the partnerships that will be created as a result of this institute,” said Cline. “In the field of archaeology, this will place us at the forefront of dialogue and research.”

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