Ancient World

The Foundation fosters scholarship and research that leads to an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural understanding of the civilizations of the ancient world.


Anthony Quinton Fellowship in Classical Philosophy

 The Leon Levy Foundation has awarded a grant to New College, Oxford University, to endow a Tutorial Fellowship in Classical Philosophy in honor of the late Lord (Anthony) Quinton, Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at New College from 1955 to 1978 and President of Trinity College from 1978 to 1987.  Shelby White, Founding Trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation said, “Tony Quinton was a unique and important thinker in the realm of moral philosophy. We are delighted to honor his memory with this fellowship at a university that meant so much to him.”


Leon Levy Gallery 1

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford

 The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University has had a a conservation archive from its founding in 1683. The Restoring the Past Gallery illustrates the history of conservation from repair in ancient times to the introduction of conservation as we know it. Using objects from the Ashmolean’s collections, the gallery illustrates how the same simple repair techniques were used across cultures and millennia, from the importance of recycling in the ancient world to the development of restoration and conservation in the modern world. The Leon Levy Foundation has awarded a grant in support of the Restoring the Past Gallery, a new gallery is to be named the Leon Levy Gallery.


Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

Founded with a gift from the Foundation, the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at NYU encourages advanced scholarship on the ancient world, particularly the study of economic, religious, political and cultural connections among civilizations across vast stretches of time and place. ISAW includes a PhD program, visiting scholars, exhibitions and public programs.

The Ashkelon Expedition, Harvard Semitic Museum

Since 1985, Leon Levy and now the Foundation have financed the excavation of the ancient seaport of Ashkelon, capital of Canaanite kings, harbor of the Philistines, and home of the biblical hero Samson. Led by Harvard Semitic Museum Director and Archeology Professor Lawrence E. Stager, the dig has brought to light hundreds of artifacts – and the knowledge they reveal – including an exquisite 4-inch-tall Bronze Age calf, encased in a shrine, that is today on view at the Israel Museum.


Harvard University

In 2006, the Foundation endowed the Philip J. King Professorship at Harvard as part of its efforts to encourage interdisciplinary academic work on civilizations of the ancient world, especially the ancient Near East and Mediterranean. The professorship is named for the retired professor of biblical studies who for years has directed the Shelby White-Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications.

From the Cambodian Exhibition

From the Cambodian Exhibition, Courtesy Freer-Sackler

Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Foundation inaugurated the “Intercultural Relations of the Ancient World” program in partnership with the Freer-Sackler. It includes support for a curator for Ancient Near East art, research and conservation, and made possible the complete cataloguing and digitization of the records of two excavation campaigns of Samarra in Iraq.

The grant also underwrites exhibitions, such as “Gods of Angkor: Bronzes from the National Museum of Cambodia,” which is on view at the Sackler Gallery until Jan. 23, 2011, and will travel to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as well as symposia to exchange research.

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Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur, India

For several years, in collaboration with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London has been involved in the conservation of Nagaur, one of the largest intact architectural sites in India. Built in the 16th century, Nagaur encompasses Rajput and Mughal gardens as well as sandstone palaces decorated with delicate wall paintings. It is a full conservation program which includes Courtauld MA students and Indian professionals.  Since 2012, the Leon Levy Foundation has funded a Conservation Centre at Nagaur and a pilot training project for South Asian conservators beginning 2014.



Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications

The Shelby White and Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications at Harvard University provides grants to support publication of long-terminated archaeological fieldwork at significant sites in the Aegean, Anatolia, Balkans, Iran, Levant, and Mesopotamia that has never been published. The program has enabled nearly two hundred field archaeologists to circulate knowledge gleaned from their digs.


Israel Antiquities Authority

The new National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel will include the Leon Levy and Shelby White Center for the State Treasures, a permanent home for more than one million objects. The Center, part of a building designed by Moshe Safdie, will house the research, study, conservation, restoration and curatorial activities for this huge collection of ancient glass, coins, pottery, stone and metal works, jewelry, textiles and basketry and architectural fragments. Visitors will be able to view the objects in storage and observe archaeological work being done in the conservation and restoration laboratories.

In a second project, the Foundation has provided funds to excavate and restore the 1,700-year-old Lod mosaic and to build the Shelby White and Leon Levy Lod Mosaic Gallery Complex to house the work on its original site. This extraordinary archeological find, made in 1996 but re-covered until plans for its conservation and a permanent home were developed, occupies 2,000 square-feet and depicts birds, fish, exotic animals, flora and merchant ships.


© Israel Antiquities Authority

Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

At the Conservation Center, a graduate program within NYU for the study of the technology and conservation of works of art and historic artifacts, the Foundation supports three Leon Levy Fellows and one Leon Levy Visiting Fellow (for a student from overseas). The awards go to exceptional students enrolled in the Conservation Center’s four-year program who are specializing in archaeological conservation.


Courtesy IFA