Monday, October 27, 2014

The Death of Ancient Studies, Part 2

This message came across my desk last week:
Yesterday the Swedish Government announced that they will end all state funding for the Swedish Institutes at Athens, Rome and Istanbul from 2017. Our research Institutes have no private funding and will therefore have to close down and terminate their work within two years.

The decision has been made without any prior consultation or investigation of the consequences: the Institutes will not be able to fulfill their responsibilities of taking care of archaeological material or sites in the Mediterranean and providing education with the fields of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, Classics, Art History, Architecture, Turkish studies and Social sciences, nor to conduct and publish research, give conferences, host cultural activities, take part in heritage management or run our research libraries in the Mediterranean countries.
Apparently, the Swedish government either does not think the ancient world is relevant, or does not want it to be relevant. At least in this case, he who pays the piper actually calls the tune.