From the Director

This article first appeared in ISAW Newsletter 17, Winter 2017.

Alexander Jones
Interim Director and Professor of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity

As I write these words, ISAW is in the midst of the January three-week interval between our Fall and Spring classes. Far from being a holiday, this is a very busy time. For our faculty, among other activities, it is when we do much of the sifting through the numerous applications we have received for next year’s doctoral program admissions and visiting research scholarships. In my first few years at ISAW, we took turns poring through thick batches of paper files; now everything comes electronically, so we can all read through the applications simultaneously. But it remains a big job—and a hugely rewarding one! Through it we become acquainted with some of the most exciting scholars at work today on the world of antiquity, as well as some of the most promising future scholars, and our selection is an important part of shaping ISAW’s own future and furthering its mission.

Our students come to us each with a unique set of interests and goals, and so our program is unlike typical disciplinary doctoral programs in its flexibility and the variety of kinds of classes that we offer. In coming issues of the newsletter, leaders and participants in a selection of recently held ISAW courses will be contributing articles describing what they have been up to. To start this series off, this issue features a new team-taught seminar, “Introduction to Digital Humanities for the Ancient World,” which clearly was an exciting and stimulating experience for all involved.

It is especially gratifying and appropriate that this article shares a page with the announcement that the Archaeological Institute of America’s prestigious 2017 Award for Outstanding Work in Digital Archaeology has gone to the Pleiades project, based since 2008 at ISAW. ISAW people and projects were conspicuous throughout this year’s joint annual meetings of the AIA and the Society for Classical Studies, attended by about 2,500 archaeologists, classicists, art historians, epigraphers, anthropologists, and scientists, reinforcing our growing reputation for forward-looking research and pedagogy.