Randolph-Macon president Robert R. Lindgren recently announced that Professor John
Camp II, Ph.D., (classics) has been named the Niarchos Professor of Classics at
“Given Dr. Camp’s worldwide reputation and expertise in the field of archaeology
and Classical Studies, along with the prominence and reputation of the Stavros S.
Niarchos Foundation, this professorship is one of high esteem,” said Lindgren.
The Stavros S. Niarchos Foundation is an international philanthropic organization
that supports charitable activities in four primary areas: arts and culture, education,
health and medicine, and social welfare. Within each program category, the Foundation
supports initiatives that feature strong leadership and sound management and can
demonstrate a tangible impact over time. The Foundation fosters the exchange and
collaboration among recipient institutions by supporting a broad range of organizations
across its target program areas in locations around the world.
The project offers students the opportunity to participate in excavations in Athens,
Greece. Each year, Camp travels with five of his students to the Agora, which once
served as the center of economic, social and intellectual life. Since 1931, the
American School of Classical Studies at Athens has directed the excavation of this
Camp and his students—along with undergraduate and graduate students from around
the world—work for eight weeks at the site, sifting through history and honing their
archaeological skills. Students who participate in the excavation are known as Niarchos
Summer Fellows, a distinguished honor among their peers.
Camp started working at the Agora in 1966, while a student at Harvard University,
and he has returned there every year for the past 42 years. He began as an excavator,
later became an assistant director and has served as director since 1994. “I became
interested in archaeology and antiquity in the 4th grade, when I was ten,” says
Camp. “It's a great field for people who like puzzles, and it has the attraction
of allowing you to work outside and in interesting places while still requiring
you to use your mind.”
Excavators are housed in apartments in Kolonaki on the slopes of Mount Lykavettos
and they spend their weekdays excavating from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The opportunity
to be involved in a “dig” is something that Molly Field ’04 will never forget. “Helping
to excavate the Agora—the ancient equivalent to The Mall in Washington D.C.—was
a once in a lifetime experience,” says Field. “Digging up traces of democracy gave
me a whole new appreciation for the classical history I learned at Randolph-Macon.”
Camp was the Mellon Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens
from 1985-1996 and continues to teach there. He earned his B.A. from Harvard University
and his M.A. and Ph.D. in classical archaeology from Princeton University and in
1996 he joined the faculty of Randolph-Macon.