Founded in 1881, The American School of Classical Studies (ASCSA) provides graduate students and scholars from affiliated North American college and universities a base for the advanced study of all aspects of Greek culture, from antiquity to the present day. It also contributes considerably to the dissemination of information about Greek history and archaeology to the Greek public, as well as to the international and Greek scholarly communities.
First and foremost, the School is a teaching institution, introducing graduate students in an academic-year program, as well as undergraduates and secondary school teachers in summer sessions, to the sites and monuments of Greek civilization.
Thanks to its superb libraries — the Blegen, dedicated to classical studies, and the Gennadeion, concentrating on post-antique Greece — the School attracts an international array of scholars who consider these combined libraries one of the world's great resources for the study of Hellenism. Global access to the union catalog of the holdings of the Blegen and Gennadius libraries and the library of the British School at Athens is possible through AMBROSIA. Substantial investment has recently been made in digitizing information resources.
The Wiener Laboratory, founded at the School in 1992, is an internationally recognized research facility devoted to the application of scientific techniques to the study of archaeological materials in Greece. Opened in 2005, Cotsen Hall is a 352-seat auditorium providing a venue for meetings and scholarly interchange.
Since its earliest years, the School has sponsored archaeological exploration. In 1896, it began digging at Ancient Corinth and, in 1931, opened a second site in the heart of Athens: the Agora, the ancient city's political and economic center. Excavations at both sites continue today, providing a training ground for new generations of North American archaeologists and constant flow of information about Greece's past. Many other American excavation and survey projects are carried out under the auspices of the School, in cooperation with the Greek Ministry of Culture.
The American School's Publications Office produces books related to the mission of the School. One of its most important roles is publishing the final reports of excavations at Corinth and the Athenian Agora. The journal, Hesperia, has been published quarterly since 1932 and is one of the world's leading venues for scholarship on Greek studies. A newsletter is distributed twice a year to all alumni and friends of the School.
The American School is a private institution, and to support its teaching programs, libraries, excavations, research centers, and publications, the School relies on income from its own endowment, grants from foundations, and private philanthropy. These sources facilitate the work of one of North America's foremost institutions dedicated to study and research in the humanities.
ASCSA is a member of the Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Founded in 1981, CAORC is a private not-for-profit federation of 22 independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies.