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UC Classics Professors to Receive International Award in Rome

UC Classics researchers Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker will receive the International Guiseppe Sciacca Award at Vatican City on Nov. 12. The award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.

Date: 11/2/2016
By: Katie Taft
Phone: (513) 556-4355
Other Contact: M.B. Reilly
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided
Shari Stocker, a senior research associate in the University of Cincinnati McMicken College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Classics, and Jack Davis, the university's Carl W. Blegen chair in Greek archaeology, will be presented with the International Guiseppe Sciacca Award at the Pontifical Urban University in Vatican City on Nov. 12. The Guiseppe Sciacca Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions in their field, and who have embraced the principles of friendship and collaboration among all peoples and nations.

UC Interim Provost Peter Landgren will be in attendance at the award ceremony. “It is an honor to be present as two dedicated University of Cincinnati archaeologists and researchers receive recognition not only for their efforts to discover new information about ancient cultures, but also for their focus on collaboration with others in our global community,” he says.
UC archaeologists at the dig site
UC's Sharon Stockerand Jack Davis have worked in the Pylos region of Greece for 25 years.



“The Warrior's Tomb”
In the spring of 2015, Davis and Stocker co-led a team of international researchers who discovered “The Warrior’s Tomb” in southwestern Greece. This tomb of a wealthy Bronze Age warrior was named the “most important to have been discovered [in continental Greece] in 65 years,” by the Greek Culture Ministry. The tomb revealed more than 2,000 objects arrayed on and around the warrior’s body, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs and an intricately built sword, and other weapons.

Latest revelations from the tomb artifacts
At the time of the initial discovery of the tomb in 2015, the researchers stated that more discoveries based on the investigation of the artifacts were likely. They were right. Just in the last month, more information about the early Greek society was revealed, specifically from the gold signet rings that were originally found in the tomb in 2015. These rings held detailed Minoan iconography, providing archaeologists with one of the best examples found of Mycenean-Minoan cultural transfer. Davis and Stocker presented the findings on Oct. 6 at The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece.  

“The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated,” says Ken Petren, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The contributions Jack and Sharon have made to our understanding of ancient Greek Culture have been substantial, and their research, past and present, will continue to inform future exploration and discoveries.”

University of Cincinnati Researchers made Mycenaean discoveries as early as 1939

While the discovery of the warrior’s tomb was hailed as “the find of a lifetime,” archaeological discoveries around Pylos by the University of Cincinnati Classics department are not new. In 1939, Carl W. Blegen discovered the best-preserved palace of the Mycenaean civilization, an extensive complex destroyed circa 1200 that he called the Palace of Nestor. In the ruins were about 1,000 accidently basked clay tablets with the incised texts written in a script called "Linear B." Blegen’s finds made possible the decipherment of that script, which represented an early form of the Greek language.
signet ring
The recent excavation yielded the discovery of the second largest gold signet ring known in the Aegean world, which shows five elaborately dressed female figures gathered by a seaside shrine.



Discoveries by Davis and Stocker are not new either. The married couple have been working together in Pylos for over 25 years. In 2011, Davis was made an honorary citizen of the Municipality of Nestor, which includes the modern city of Pylos, as well as the town of Hora, nearer to which the Palace of Nestor is located. At the time, Davis said, “My work is highly collaborative and involves many colleagues who are based at dozens of universities. I accept the honor on their behalf, as well as myself. But also very important is the critical role that my wife, Sharon Stocker, has played.”

Davis and Stocker’s other contributions from the last 25 years:

  • Documented the history of the landscape around the Palace of Nestor, within which other settlements were located.
  • Published finds excavated by Blegen, but not published by him. This work has resulted in the discovery of evidence for animal sacrifice like that described by Homer in the "Iliad" and "Odyssey," as well as new wall-paintings, including the first representations of a fleet of Mycenaean ships.
  • Collaborated with the Greek Archaeological Service to improve the presentation to tourists of the archaeological sites.                
  • Published extensively about the history and economic geography of Pylos in the 17th and 18th century A.D., when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.
Global Impact
The impact of the latest discoveries has been noted by global media coverage, including news written in Greek, Russian, and Arabic. A few of the more prominent mentions include:
  • The New York Times - Grave of ‘Griffin Warrior’ at Pylos Could Be a Gateway to Civilizations
For a more complete list of publications, please visit griffinwarrior.org/griffinwarrior-publicity.html


About Classics at the University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences:
For three-quarters of a century the Department of Classics of the University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences has organized and supported archaeological research projects in the Mediterranean. This commitment to sustained archaeological research is paralleled by few other academic institutions in the United States. A consistent program of excavations and surveys has built the department's well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s preeminent centers of graduate education in pre-Classical and Classical archaeology