Friday, July 20, 2018

The Future Looks Bright for the CIG

As I begin this one-year term as Interim Academic Director of the Canadian Institute in Greece, I am grateful to the Board of Directors for approving my application. The CIG has done so much for so many that I am happy to contribute in any way I can to leading it during this exciting and transitional time.

I am currently in Athens but will be returning to Canada in mid-August for teaching during the Fall semester at the University of Victoria. This will also be my final semester as Chair of the Department of Greek and Roman Studies at UVic, a position I first took on in 2012.

Beginning in 2007, I started working with the CIG to bring students from UVic to Greece for a month of travel and study. In 2011 and 2012 we also included a ten day trip to Turkey. Building on these programs, I directed in winter 2017 the UVic Semester in Greece program, in which 10 undergraduates gained a full semester of UVic credit, taking courses and traveling to sites and museums throughout Greece over three months. In early 2019 I will return to Athens full-time, and I am looking forward to again directing the University of Victoria Semester in Greece program. Students from other universities are very welcome to participate - just contact me at for further details.

In terms of my background, I received my Ph.D. from UCLA in 1998 with a dissertation focused on the economics of cloth production in the Minoan, Mycenaean and Phrygian worlds. For a number of years I excavated at the Phrygian site of Gordion, in Turkey, home to the legendary King Midas. I have done fieldwork in other parts of the world too – including work in California, Ireland, as well as at the Palace of Nestor, Pylos, Agios Konstantinos, Methana, ancient Corinth, and surveys of Leukas and Dorati here in Greece.

Since 2007 I have been co-directing the Eastern Boeotia Archaeological Project (EBAP) with Bryan Burns (Wellesley College) and Greek colleagues, Vasilis Aravantinos (until 2012), and presently, with Alexandra Charami. With funding gratefully acknowledged from the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council of Canada and from INSTAP, we are excavating the site of ancient Eleon, located about 75 km north of Athens on a fertile plain connecting the major center of Thebes to the important waterway of the Euboean Gulf. The site, in the village of Arma, preserves material from the Prehistoric (Mycenaean), Archaic-Classical, and Medieval periods.

In the coming year I very much look forward to working with Jonathan Tomlinson who is taking on a more expansive role as Assistant Director of the CIG. The Canadian Institute in Greece is in the midst of some dramatic changes with the new building that has been purchased and a reassessment of its governance structure. My goal as Academic Director is to make sure that the teaching and research programs of the CIG continue to flourish and to make connections between Greek and Canadian students and scholars during this exciting time.

Brendan Burke
Interim Director, CIG

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