AIA News

May 20, 2024

2024 Graduate Student Paper Award Winners Announced

The Graduate Student Paper Award winners from the 2024 Annual Meeting have been chosen. This year, there are two First Prize winners— Abigail Bradford (University of Virginia) and John Sigmier (University of Pennsylvania). They will be honored at the Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the 2025 Annual Meeting.

First Prize: Abigail Bradford

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to bestow one of the two First Prizes for the 2024 Graduate Student Paper Award to Ms. Abigail Bradford (University of Virginia) for her paper, “Musical Instruments from the South Stoa at Corinth: Type, Function, and Chronology” presented at last year’s Annual Meeting.

This paper showed the fruitful and innovative results of a fresh look at archaeological material from old excavations. Using a body of material from the South Stoa at Corinth, the author revealed a number of previously unknown fragments of musical instruments that add a great deal to our understanding of such objects from antiquity. Not only were the results fascinating, they also opened new windows onto our understanding of the soundscapes of antiquity. This paper is commended for its meticulous study of archaeological fragments to produce new results and the engaging presentation of this material, as well as the author’s deft handling of questions from the audience

We are delighted to honor Ms. Bradford with one of the 2024 Graduate Student Paper Awards.

About Abigail:
Abigail Bradford is a PhD candidate in the Program in Mediterranean Art and Archaeology at the University of Virginia, whose research focuses on the archaeology of ancient Greek music. She is writing a dissertation on the representation of musicians in 6th and 5th c. BCE Athenian vase-painting in order to trace the effects of “New Music” on musical and political ideologies in the ancient city. In addition to vase-painting, Abigail studies fragments of ancient musical instruments from archaeological excavations and has recently launched the 3D Ancient Instruments Project, a project dedicated to creating open-access, printable, and playable models of ancient Greek instruments. She has participated in the Molyvoti, Thrace Archaeological Project and will be joining the Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project this summer. 

Fun Fact about Abigail:
Abigail is a practitioner of both ancient and modern folk music — she plays the aulos, banjo, mandolin, and mountain dulcimer.

First Prize: John Sigmier

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to bestow one of the two First Prizes for the 2024 Graduate Student Paper Award to Dr. John Sigmier (University of Pennsylvania) for his paper, “Local Expertise and Architectural Innovation in the Earth-Built Theaters of Roman Gaul” presented at last year’s Annual Meeting.  

This paper displayed excellent command of a range of archaeological contexts, from Roman Gaul to ancient North America. The author presented results from a study of the theaters of Roman Gaul focusing on the construction techniques used to support such large and complex buildings, drawing on technical knowledge from similar engineering projects in North American contexts. The author’s conclusions upend previous biases that assumed inferior technical skills by the builders in the Roman provinces by revealing the challenging and complex constructions used to support theaters in Gaul. He showed the local expertise at play in these structures by comparison to the technical features and innovative design of other structures in pre-Roman Gaul. This paper is commended for its original results, excellent organization, and clear argumentation. 

We are delighted to honor Dr. Sigmier with one the 2024 Graduate Student Paper Awards.  

About John Sigmier 
John is from Cleveland, Ohio, and has an AB in Classics and Archaeology from Harvard, an MSt in Classical Archaeology from Oxford. He also just defended his PhD dissertation (“Architectural Knowledge Transmission in the Theater Buildings of the Roman Northwest”) in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World program at Penn! His research deals with Roman architecture and knowledge networks, especially in provincial contexts. In addition to his dissertation research, he also does fieldwork in Turkey as a member of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis.

Fun Fact about John:
He bakes pies every year for the Fourth of July when he is digging abroad!

The Graduate Student Paper Award

The Graduate Student Paper Award (GSPA) was established to recognize graduate students for their substantial contributions to the success of the Annual Meeting. If you are a graduate student planning to submit a paper for next year’s Annual Meeting, we encourage you to apply. The award is by self-nomination and submissions remain anonymous throughout the award selection process. In order to be eligible, you must check the box labeled “Graduate student paper award” on the Open Session Submission Form that reads, “I am a graduate student and sole author of this paper and wish to be considered for the Graduate Student Paper Award.” If you are presenting as part of a session, you need to remind your session chair to check this box for you when they submit all of the session materials. Only graduate students who have a paper accepted by the Program for the Annual Meeting Committee and have checked the box on the Open Submission Form will be eligible for the award. Click here formore information on how to apply for the Graduate Student Paper Award. 

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