International Academic Community Celebrates AUA Professor Dr. Gregory Areshian’s Lifetime Achievements
Oxford Archaeopress published a festschrift volume honoring AUA professor Dr. Gregory Areshian, Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday. A historian, archaeologist, and anthropologist whose scientific career spans over four and a half decades, Professor Areshian became internationally renowned for his studies in history of technology, comparative mythology, archaeology and history of the Near East and Armenia, explorations of the Silk Road, and his role in the discovery on the 5000 year-old temple at Mokhrablur near Echmiadzin and of the 6,100 year-old wine-press in the Areni-1 cave in Vayots Dzor where the world’s oldest leather shoe was also discovered. The festschrift titled Bridging Times and Spaces: Papers in Ancient Near Eastern, Mediterranean and Armenian Studies consists of 29 chapters authored by Professor Areshian’s colleagues and former graduate students currently working in different areas of social sciences and the humanities in many countries of Asia, Europe, North America, and, obviously, Armenia. Edited by professors Pavel S. Avetisyan and Yervand H. Grekyan, the book reflects the unique breadth and depth of Dr. Areshian’s scholarly interests and achievements.
In the book’s introduction, the editors write, “Some of his colleagues from the USA qualified him as an anthropological historian who has been conducting archaeological fieldwork throughout most of his life. Such a characterization captures the essence of Gregory Areshian’s academic activities, which consistently demonstrate successful efforts to counterbalance the overspecialization of knowledge by a development of interdisciplinary studies.”
The book opens with an interview with Dr. Areshian where he gives a brief sketch of his life analytically interpreting his scholarly pathways and reflecting on his experience as an educator and institution builder. He recalls how in his childhood he found an Urartian basalt bowl in the basement of his grandfather’s house and fell in love with Ancient Near Eastern civilizations, archaeology, and Armenian history, stressing the intrinsic and explicit theoretical interconnectedness between the research questions that he explored in different areas of knowledge in the course of his life.
Dr. Areshian also details his interdisciplinary approach to archaeology saying, “…fieldwork oftentimes made me seek answers to historical and anthropological questions.” He goes on to describe his important and ongoing theoretical work on the periodization of ancient, medieval, and modern Armenian history.
In a nod to his new academic home that he acquired after a life-long teaching and researching career at world’s seven top universities, the editors note that “currently Professor Areshian shares his knowledge and experience with the students of the American University of Armenia, enthusiastically engaging them, together with his colleagues from different countries, into new visionary research projects.” We are proud to have Dr. Areshian as a part of the AUA family and congratulate him on receiving this honor!
For those interested in reading the book AUA’s AGBU Papazian Library just received a copy that currently is available to its patrons. Since his move from UCLA to AUA Dr. Areshian has been teaching eight courses ranging from Archaeology to Modern History, the most popular of which are The History of Historical Thought (The Study of History) and Armenian History visualized through trips to cultural and historical sites that he also will teach during AUA’s 2018 summer program and has invited AUA Pillars on an archeological excursion in 2018.