Announced in 2006 with a $200 million gift from the Foundation, the Institute is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education, intended to cultivate cross-cultural study of the ancient world, from the western Mediterranean to China. It is headed by Dr. Roger Bagnall, a distinguished scholar educated at Yale University and the University of Toronto and a specialist in the social and economic history of Hellenistic, Roman and Late Antique Egypt.
ISAW, a discrete entity within NYU, is a center for advanced scholarly research and graduate education, to encourage particulary the study of the economic, religious, political and cultural connections between ancient civilizations. It offers both doctoral and postdoctoral programs, with the aim of training a new generation of scholars who will enter the global academic community and become intellectual leaders. The Institute focuses on the shared and overlapping periods in the development of cultures and civilizations around the Mediterranean basin, and across central Asia to the Pacific Ocean.
ISAW’s exhibitions, public lectures, publications, digital resources, and other programs expand upon its vision and reflect the Institute’s ideal of study that bridges disciplines and ancient peoples.
ISAW’s exhibitions are intended to shed light on central questions about the economic, religious, political, artistic and technological connections among ancient societies.
The current exhibition: Echoes of the Pastthe Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan provides an unprecented insight into a group of imposing sculptures from the cave temple complex at Xiangtangshan in northern China with a full scall digital reconstruction of one of the caves. The exhibition runs through January 6, 2013.
ISAW has developed an extensive library in its field of study. It has acquired several private libraries whose strengths lie in Greek and Roman art, history and archaeology, Egyptology, Assyriology and Late Antique and Byzantine history, and Asian art. ISAW continues to acquire books, especially in areas underrepresented in other New York libraries.
The Digital Projects team uses digital technology to advance scholarship worldwide. Among its undertakings are the Pleiades project, an online, open gazetteer for ancient Greek and Roman places, edited jointly with the Ancient World Mapping Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an online project to support research on Greek and Roman papyrology.