In early October, I was proud to deliver welcoming remarks at an event marking the opening of the new GW Capitol Archaeological Institute. The institute was made possible through a generous donation by alumni Deborah Lehr, MA ‘89, and John F.W. Rogers, BA ’78. Headed by Eric Cline, chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, the new institute will provide a focus for our archaeology work in the Middle East (including both Israel and Jordan), Greece, Italy, Egypt, China, Africa, and Mexico.
We were honored by to have renowned archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass speak at the opening celebration. In 2002, Dr. Hawass was appointed Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, a government council in Egypt that oversees the cultural heritage of that country. Earlier this year, he was named Vice Minister of Culture of Egypt. His work earned him recognition as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine in 2005. During the event, he spoke about excavations in the valley of the tombs and showed us pictures of a stairway that leads literally hundreds of feet into the earth.
We were also joined by Columbian College National Council member Bill Warren, who has his own strong interests in archaeology, anthropology, and stratigraphy; and Andrew Oliver, who recently donated more than 8,000 volumes on subjects pertaining to Ancient Greece, Rome and the Near East to Gelman Library.
I am excited about the prospect for new scholarship and discovery that the institute will enable. It is our hope that the Capitol Archaeological Institute will place GW at the forefront of research in this field.