President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Monday awarded Commander of the Order of the Phoenix medals to three distinguished U.S. archaeologists – Dr Jack L. Davis and Dr Sharon R. Stocker of Cincinnati University and the director emeritus of the excavation at Ancient Corinth run by American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Charles K. Williams.
The medals were presented to coincide with Philhellenism and International Solidarity Day, which is celebrated on April 19, the anniversary of Lord Byron’s death in Messolonghi, and were given for their contributions to the study and promotion of Greek culture and civilisation.
Sakellaropoulou noted that the medals were a way of honouring the value of philhellenism through the ages, in the framework of events celebrating the 200th anniversary since the Greek Revolution of 1821 that led to the foundation of the modern Greek state. She pointed out that Drs Stocker and Davis were archaeologists of international renown and noted for the breadth and importance of their archaeological discoveries.
“Under their joint direction of the excavation at Nestor’s Palace in the region of ancient Pylos, the discovery of the Tomb of the “Griffin Warrior” was crucial for a fuller understanding of Greek prehistory, enriching our knowledge about the interactions of the Mycenean civilisation and the other civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean in the bronze age. The sum of the excavation work and archaeological research in the regions of Nemea, Kea and Messenia, as well as their knowledge of the prehistory of the Aegean islands, is an active contribution to Greek archaeology and contribute to the international promotion and presentation of Greek civilisation worldwide,” she said.
Sakellaropoulou also highlighted the work done by Dr. Williams during his 31 years in Greece, working on the dig at Ancient Corinth, making him among the world’s top archaeologists on ancient Greece, while she praised his love of present-day Greek customs, people and rural life, as well as his extensive charitable work and contribution to creating facilities for the archaeological finds in Ancient Corinth and for students, scientists and researchers visiting Greece.
For all three, she added, “their sincere and real connection with Greece, ancient and modern, and their discourse with the Greek spirit over the ages, give a measure of modern philhellenism.”
The ceremony was attended by Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, the director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens Jenifer Weils and others of its staff, as well as the current director of the dig at Ancient Corinth, Chris Pfaff.
Other medals awarded as part of the bicentennial celebrations on Monday, presented by the Greek Ambassador in London Ioannis Raptakis, include a Grand Cross of the Order of the Phoenix medal presented to John Kittmer, chair of the Anglo-Hellenic League, a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix medal given to Cambridge University Professor Paul Cartledge and a Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix presented to London School of Economics Professor Kevin Featherstone.
On Monday afternoon, the Greek Ambassador in Moscow Katerina Nasika is scheduled to award a Grand Cross of the Order of Honour to the Russian president’s special advisor on issues of cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvidkoy and a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix medal to paleographer and codicologist Boris Fonkich.