AIA News

April 23, 2024

2024 AIA Fellowship Spotlight: Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship

To celebrate our 2024-2025 Fellowship recipients, we reached out to our winners to learn about their projects and their experiences in archaeology. We’re excited for you to meet Anna Belza, this year’s Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship winner.

Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship: Anna Belza; University of Cincinnati

Anna Belza is a PhD candidate in the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, and the 2024 recipient of the AIA Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship. Her dissertation project, “The Cyclades in the Mycenaean Period: A View from Ayia Irini, Kea,” examines three-thousand-year-old pottery, small finds, and architecture dated to Late Bronze Age IIB–IIIC from the port town of Ayia Irini, on the island of Kea, Greece. She will provide the first site-wide presentation of Mycenaean period activity in the port town, providing an up-to-date understanding of the efficacy and reach of maritime distribution systems in the Late Bronze Age. Better understanding Ayia Irini will help shed light on the role of the Cycladic Islands in the Mycenaean Aegean. Belza’s research will include cataloguing and classifying finds that remain unaddressed by previous work on Ayia Irini, and recording production techniques, forms, and decoration of the ceramics. While the Cyclades have previously been dismissed as “marginal” to the Greek Mainland in the Mycenean period, this work will reexamine the importance of the Cyclades and argue against their perceived status as less important than other parts of Greece at the time. 

How did you get your start in archaeology? 

I have always had a deep love and interest in the ancient world which expanded when I participated in field school in Sozopol, Bulgaria and then the Athenian Agora excavations. Those initial experiences in excavation, recording, and the study of ancient material solidified my interest in the field of archaeology.

Where in the world has archaeology brought you (fieldwork, research, conference travel, etc.)? 

I have been able to participate in excavations in Bulgaria and Greece. Within recent years my fieldwork has been carried out in numerous areas of Greece including Athens, Pylos, and in all of the Cycladic islands.

What is one of the most memorable things that has happened to you in the field? 

I was lucky enough to participate in the Palace of Nestor Excavations at Pylos during the 2015 season when the Grave of the Griffin Warrior was found. I was an excavator in the tomb before conservators and other specialists were brought in to carefully preserve the finds as they were being excavated.

How has the AIA contributed to your success/professional goals? 

The AIA annual meeting has always provided a venue for professional networking and feedback on ongoing work. The AIA Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship will provide me with the opportunity to complete my doctoral research, which will lead to the output of articles and a monograph that form a core part of my professional academic goals.

Anna’s research on the pottery, small finds, and architecture of the Late Bronze Age site of Ayia Irini recontextualizes the importance of the Cycladic Islands, which have previously been classified as “marginal” to the Greek Mainland in the Mycenaean period. Your contribution can help fund groundbreaking research like Anna’s and help send archaeologists into the field.

Learn more about what Fellowship opportunities are available through the AIA or reach out to our Programs and Professional Services Coordinator, Kati Albert at 

support Us

The AIA is North America's largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to archaeology. The Institute advances awareness, education, fieldwork, preservation, publication, and research of archaeological sites and cultural heritage throughout the world. Your contribution makes a difference.