Philhellene archaeologist Stephen Miller who devoted most of his life to researching and promoting the archeological site of Ancient Nemea, along with the ideals and culture of classical Greece, has died, aged 79.
The American professor’s work had a massive impact on Greece, helping to shine a light on Nemea’s significance to Ancient Greece.
Born in Indiana in 1942 Miller went on to become a professor of archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he worked from 1973 until his retirement in 2004. He also served as director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens from 1982 until 1987.
As director of excavations at Nemea in the early 1970’s Miller’s team uncovered the Sanctuary of Zeus, which he then helped restore. They also discovered an ancient stadium, believed to be constructed around 330 BC.
Miller then founded the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games in 1994, before helping to launch the first contemporary games two years later, with international footraces open to all, held every four years in Nemea.
He published several books about Nemea and his impressive archeological discoveries.
Miller, who spoke fluent Greek, was made an honorary Greek citizen in 2005, while he was also awarded the Order of Honor.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis paid tribute to Miller, claiming the American professor loved Greece and felt a deep affection for the people and culture of modern Greece.
“We admire his devotion to the ecumenical values of classical Greece and his sincere love for our country. We say goodbye to him as one of our own people, as one of our fellow citizens,” Mitsotakis said, adding that He became ‘Stefanos’ from Steven long before he was honorably granted Greek citizenship in 2005. We bid farewell to one of our own.”
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey R. Pyatt also praised Miller in his tribute to the archaeologist on the U.S. Embassy’s website.
“Stephen was an American philhellene in the truest sense of the word, and we hope that his memory will live eternally through his important contributions to the field of archaeology and in the hearts of the many people whose lives he touched,” Pyatt said.
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