May 13, 2022
This month, we’re excited to spotlight Nancy de Grummond of the Tallahassee Society. Nancy is the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics and a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. In addition to her university post, she’s also the Director of Archaeological Research at Cetamura del Chianti in Italy. Nancy has been a faithful and devoted friend to the AIA for decades; she’s served on the Governing Board, chaired and served on multiple committees, is a Lifetime Member, and current President of the Tallahassee Society. We were thrilled to honor her with the 2022 Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding work on behalf of the Institute. We asked Nancy some questions about her interest in archaeology and how she got involved with the AIA and we’re excited for you to read her words!
What interests you about archaeology?
Probably the thing I care the most about is seeing something from the past that died and was forgotten come back to life. It makes me sad when buildings, objects, customs, languages are abandoned, discarded, and forgotten and it seems to me very important to bring back memory and understanding of those past human activities.
How did you find out about the AIA?
I first attended an AIA lecture when I was a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I soon joined, and received my first issue of the AJA in April 1966. I remember one of the activities of the local Society that year was a fundraiser for the AIA, a grand fashion show presented by Emeline Hill Richardson called “Descent of the Toga.” I was hooked by this wonderful recreation of ancient social customs, and although I was not a model in the show, I became heir to those costumes, and as recently as April 2022, my students wore some of Richardson’s costumes for a performance of Euripides’ Medea!
What made you decide to get more involved with the Tallahassee Society?
When I moved to Florida State University in 1968 I switched my membership to the Tallahassee Society. I found that the Society, which had been founded in 1956, was so small it was actually “on probation.” No one seemed to mind if I became the point person for the young Society. I believe at that time I was officially Secretary, which included performing most of the duties of coordinating visiting lectures, balancing the tiny budget, and communicating with AIA HQ. I decided to hold a membership drive, which happened to include signing up members from all over the state of Florida because the Tallahassee Society was the only Society in Florida at the time. We reached a membership of some 200 people before the numbers were redistributed to new Societies in Gainesville and eventually four more Societies around the state. Through the years, I have continued to work for the Tallahassee Society, because I am completely convinced that the AIA, through its local Societies and National Lecture Program, is unique among professional organizations and makes a wonderful contribution to education and the communication of new discoveries at the cutting edge of archaeology.