Olivia James Traveling Fellowship

Archaeological Institute of America

Deadline: November 1, 2021

Amount: $24,000

Purpose: For travel and study to be conducted between July 1 of the award year and the following June 30. Preference will be given to projects of at least a half-year’s duration. The award is to be used for travel and study in Greece (the modern state), Cyprus, the Aegean Islands, Sicily, southern Italy (that is, the Italian provinces of Campania, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria), Asia Minor (Turkey) or Mesopotamia (that is, the territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, that is modern Iraq and parts of northern Syria and eastern Turkey). Although the proposal may require travel outside these areas, the majority of travel proposed must be within them. The award is not intended to support field excavation projects.  AIA fellowship funds may not be used for institutional overhead, institutional administrative recovery costs, or institutional indirect costs.

Requirements: Applicant must be a United States citizen. To be eligible, applicants must have been AIA members in good standing for at least two consecutive years (or one year for graduate students) by the application deadline. Preference will be given to individuals engaged in dissertation research or to those who received their Ph.D. within five years of the application deadline. Recipients may not hold other major fellowships during the requested tenure of the Olivia James award. Please note that all application materials (including references and transcripts) must be received at the AIA by the November 1 deadline.

At the conclusion of the fellowship tenure, the recipient is required to submit a report on the use of the stipend to the Chair of the AIA Fellowships Committee. After the tenure of their fellowship, recipient is expected to submit an abstract to the Program Committee within two years, in order be considered for participation in the AIA Annual Meeting.

Application Form


AIA Fellowship Coordinator




Brandon Todd Baker

Brandon Todd Baker, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the 2020 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His dissertation project, “The Roman Karystia,” involves revisiting Roman material collected from the Paximadhi, Kampos, and Bouros-Kastri surveys, and other relevant data from landscape studies and excavations, with the aim of writing a Roman settlement history of this region of southern ancient Euboea (modern Evia).  The Fellowship funds will support travel to conduct archival work and analysis of survey finds at the Archaeological Museum of Karystos, as well as site reconnaissance of the area.


Cassandra Donnelly

Cassandra Donnelly, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin, is the 2019 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. Her dissertation project, “Writing and Economy in the Late Bronze Age Mediterranean,” is a paleographic and diplomatics study of the interaction between local script traditions in the Late Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean; her hypothesis is that local script traditions such as Cypro-Minoan, unlike the international cuneiform and Linear B scripts, developed outside palatial administration. She will use the fellowship funds to analyze potmarks on excavated materials from sites in Cyprus, Israel, Turkey and Greece.


Tim Shea

Tim Shea, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University, is the 2018 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His dissertation project, “Trailblazers and Trendsetters: Immigrants and Their Tombstones in Classical Athens,” examines tombstones from the late 6th and 5th century BCE in Athens to discover how immigrants were incorporated into, or excluded from, the major cemeteries of Athens, with a focus on the Kerameikos, Syntagma Square, Kotzia Square, and Piraeus cemeteries.. The fellowship will support travel around the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean to document the different tombstone styles of these immigrants’ poleis, to see whether these styles are preserved in Athens, or if Athenian modes of marking burials are adopted instead.


Benjamin Crowther

Benjamin Crowther, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, is the 2017 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His project, entitled “Life on the Streets: Architecture and Community along the Colonnaded Avenues of the Roman Empire (1st-4th c. CE)”, repopulates the colonnaded avenues of the Roman world over the course of their existence to explore how city dwellers across the empire perceived and employed the public architecture of their cities. He will examine archaeology, architectural analysis, and epigraphy to consider these monumental avenues, examining not only their functional and aesthetic values, but also ancient perceptions of them and their role within the Roman cityscape. The fellowship will allow Mr. Crowther to survey a substantial number of sites throughout Turkey, Greece, and Morocco, as well as study excavation records from the Belgian mission to Syrian Apameia.


Kaitlyn Stiles

Kaitlyn Stiles, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee, is the recipient of the 2016 Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. Her doctoral project, “Biosocial Identities in Late Bronze Age Greece”, integrates theory and method from Bronze Age Aegean archaeology, classics, and biological anthropology to examine the biological and social expression of Mycenaean identities in the Late Helladic IIB-IIIB phases (15th-13th centuries BCE) of East Lokris (central Greece) in relation to the expansion of Mycenaean culture during this time. With the support of the fellowship, Ms. Stiles will conduct analysis of skeletal remains at the Wiener Laboratory of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, study library sources in the Blegen Library there, and travel to sites with chamber tomb cemeteries and other relevant sites.


Brian Martens

Brian Martens, Ph.D. candidate with the School of Archaeology at the University of Oxford, is the 2015 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His doctoral project, “Marble Divine Statuettes from the Excavations of the Athenian Agora,” examines a group of statuettes from the excavations of the Athenian Agora and seeks to understand what these sculptures ‚Äì in terms of their archaeological contexts and contexts of use ‚Äì reveal about the history of Athenian and Greek religion. Mr. Martens will use the Fellowship to support a nine-month residency in Athens at the American School for Classical Studies to conduct research at the Agora, as well as for travel to regional museums in Greece for the study of comparative materials.


Elizabeth Baltes

Elizabeth P. Baltes, Ph.D. candidate with the department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University, is the recipient of the 2014 Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. Her project “The Dedication and Display of Portrait Statues in Hellenistic Greece: Spatial Practices and Identity Politics”, examines the evolving statue landscapes throughout Greece to better understand the political, social, and spatial dynamics depicted in portraits of the Hellenistic period. With the support of the Fellowship, Ms. Baltes plans on conducting on-site examinations of foundations and statue bases. Her project activities will include travel to Greece where she will examine Hellenistic statues. She will also have the opportunity to visit the Blegen Library at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens as well as photographic archives held by the √âcole Fran√ßaise d’Ath√®nes and the Deutsche Arch√§ologische Institut.


William Flint Dibble

William Flint Dibble, Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati, is the recipient of the 2013 Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His project “From Village Lifestyle to Urban Lifestyle: Variability in Human-Animal Interaction in Ancient Greece (ca. 1200-400 B.C.E.)”, examines ancient human-animal interactions from the Late Bronze Age through the Early Classical period in Greece (1200-400 B.C.E.), a period of increasing urbanization. In particular he will undertake a zooarchaeological study of two large faunal assemblages (Nichoria and Athens) and two smaller assemblages (Azoria and Corinth), looking for evidence that reveals long-term changes in economy and society. Research will be conducted at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, in Corinth, and at the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, East Crete, and the award funds will be used towards travel, housing and various research expenses.


Rebecca Worsham

Rebecca Worsham, PhD. candidate with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the 2012 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. Her project and dissertation topic is “Houses, Settlements, and Social Complexity in Middle Helladic Greece”. The Middle Helladic (MH) of 2000-1600 BC is a culture that until recently has lacked a synthesized treatment, impeding our understanding of pre-Mycenaean culture and the emergence of Mycenaean states. With the support of the Fellowship, Ms. Worsham plans to undertake a comprehensive study of MH domestic architecture and settlement structures. She hopes to provide a formal analysis of house and settlement types, and a model of the households and social dynamics that created them. Her fellowship activities will include travel to Greece and time at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, as well as visiting sites in the Peloponnese and Central Greece.


Naomi Pitamber

Naomi Pitamber, a Ph.D. candidate with the University of California, Los Angeles, is the 2011 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. Her project and dissertation topic is “Re-Placing Byzantium: Laskarid Urban Environments and the Landscape of Loss (1204-1261)”. The Laskarid dynasty rose to power following the fall of Constantinople to crusading knights, and the dynasty remains the logical cultural link between the Komnenian dynasty that ruled before Constantinople’s fall (1081-1185) and the Palaiologan dynasty that flowered after its recovery (1261-1453). To date, no synthetic study has been undertaken on the corpus of Laskarid materials. Ms. Pitamber will use the $25,000 award to define and interpret the art, architecture and material culture of the Laskarid period. Her project activities will include travel to Turkey and Greece, where she will survey Laskarid architecture, examine archaeological finds in museums, and work in several special library collections. Part of her time will be spent at the American Research Institute in Turkey, Istanbul.

D. Alex Walthall
D. Alexander Walthall


Denton Alexander Walthall

Denton Alexander Walthall, a doctoral candidate with Princeton University, is the 2010 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship. His project, and dissertation topic, is “A Measured Harvest: Grain, Tithes, and Territories in Hellenistic and Roman Sicily (276-31 BC)”. During the 3rd through 1st centuries BC, the exploitation of Sicilian grain became instrumental to the expansion and consolidation of political and military power for the Syracusan monarch Hieron II and later for Rome and its growing empire While much of the evidence for this is textual, there is also a substantial body of archaeological evidence. Mr. Walthall will use the $25,000 fellowship award to further his work on the material elements of this agricultural administration–grain measures, monumental granaries, legal inscriptions, and patterns of rural land use. His project activities will include travel in Sicily, Italy and Greece, to examine excavation materials from a number of sites which are currently housed in museums, and to access the Blegen Library at the American School of Classical Studies on Athens.


Elizabeth Robinson

The 2009 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship is Elizabeth Robinson, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Elizabeth will use her fellowship award to support her dissertation research, “Larinum: A Case Study for the Romanization of Southern Italy.” Using Larinum (modern Larino) as a case study, Robinson aims to provide a comprehensive and coherent picture of cultural change from the fourth century B.C. to the first century A.D. Her work will examine archaeological remains and historical records, including unpublished votive deposits and tomb assemblages. The $25,000 award provides funding for her travel and research in Larino itself, as well as to the Soprintendenza’s Storerooms at Isernia and Campobasso to examine the unpublished materials.


Rebecca Benefiel

The 2008 recipient of the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship is Rebecca Benefiel, with the Department of Classics, Washington and Lee University. Her project is “Pompeii and her Neighbors: Civic Identity, Social Interaction, and Ancient Graffiti”. Noting that ancient Pompeii has often been studied in isolation, the goal of Dr. Benefiel’s project is to reintegrate the city into its surroundings. The project’s key to reconstructing Pompeii’s place in the regional network of cities and hinterlands is its graffiti: “Ancient graffiti, more than any other medium, reveal a dynamic system of economic and social networks tying together the communities of the region. These messages repopulate the city and indeed the whole region with vibrant activity, individual voices, and fascinating details of ancient life.” Dr. Benefiel will spend her fellowship tenure documenting and studying these unique documents and how they illustrate social interaction, the presence of visitors in the city, and steady exchange between Pompeians and its environs.


Suzan Yalman

Suzan Yalman, Harvard University, is undertaking the first comprehensive study of architectural patronage under the Anatolian Seljuk sultan Alaeddin Keykubad. She is exploring his choices and commissions in terms of religion, urban planning, and identity to shed light on this renowned medieval Islamic ruler’s own architectural legacy in Anatolia and on a period of “transformation” in the history of Islamic architecture. Outside of Turkey, few Western scholars have worked on the Seljuk period, so this research is the first study of its kind. The medieval town of Alaiyya (former Kalonoros, modern Alanya) was perhaps the greatest creation of the Anatolian Seljuk ruler Alaeddin Keykubad (r.1220-37).

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