Director Jim Wright presents a trowel to Malcolm Wiener at the inauguration
New Wiener Lab Opens
On June 4, 2016, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) inaugurated the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science, which will propel the School into a new era of research opportunities and solidify its standing as the preeminent center for high level archaeological science in the Mediterranean and Southeastern Europe.
Approximately 400 people were in attendance for this historic event including the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopios Pavlopoulos, US Ambassador to Greece David Pearce, a number of directors for the foreign archaeological schools, and other distinguished guests.
The state-of-the-art building is a product of the vision and philanthropy of Malcolm H. Wiener, Aegean prehistorian and Chairman of the School’s Board of Trustees.
Former School director Jack Davis noted, “No one has made such a contribution to the growth and development of the prehistory of Greece since the 1920s.” Mr. Wiener’s love of Greece runs deep. In 2015 his philhellenism was recognized by the President of Greece who awarded him with the Gold Cross of the Order of Honor of the Hellenic Republic.
Left to right: School Director James Wright, Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener,
Lab Director Panagiotis Karkanas, US Ambassador to Greece David Pearce
Left: Mr. Wiener and family members Elizabeth and Thomas proceed into the Lab for a private tour.
Right: Mr. Wiener receives congratulations from President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos,
while Ambassador Pearce looks on
In dedicating the Laboratory, the School recognizes the continuing potential for the natural sciences to enlighten aspects of human history. According to the Lab’s director Panagiotis Karkanas, “One of the most fascinating endeavors in archaeology is the reconstruction of the everyday life of people in the past. Here is where science comes in. The scientific enquiry into the past is a microscope through which we can inspect the diverse activities of ancient people — we see how they processed their food, how they maintained their working spaces and homes, how they exploited the landscape . . . how they coped with climate and environmental changes, how they were buried, and what sicknesses they suffered from. . . . This is how the remote past reaches out to us.” Adds School director James Wright: “We are actually entering a world of Scientific Humanism, where laboratories such as ours serve the fundamental interest of human enquiry, asking the questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? How do we understand our place on the world?”
Before the formal inauguration, the Lab held an open house in the afternoon and Mr. Wiener, his wife Carolyn and their children toured the building with the Lab’s coordinator Dimitris Michailidis. The previous evening Dr. Melinda Zeder (member of the National Academy of Sciences and a senior researcher at the Smithsonian Institution), presented an engaging lecture entitled “Tales from the Wiener Lab: Contributions of the Archaeological Sciences to Classical Studies”
The new building replaces the former lab that Mr. Wiener founded in 1992 and adds cutting edge equipment like a scanning electron microscope, a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer. In his presentation of a key and spade to Mr. Wiener, Prof. Wright remarked that “today, with the inauguration of this splendid fully furnished laboratory, Dr. Wiener makes it possible for the American School of Classical Studies to raise the excellence and the scope of humanistic research in Greece to the highest level.”
Takis Karkanas leads President Pavlopoulos on a private tour of the Wiener Laboratory
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