Alexander Cambitoglou, First Greek University Professor in Australia, Dies at 97

Professor Alexander Cambitoglou, who became the first person of Greek background to be named a university professor in Australia in 1963, passed away at the age of 97 last week.

The Greek-born archaeologist was the founder of the Australian Archaeological Institute in Athens and served as its long-term Director.

As archaeology.wiki reports, his dedicated efforts have established Classical Archaeology, and Greek studies as a whole, on a very firm footing in Australia. His vision has inspired generations of students, and will continue to do so, while his dedication to his field has set a benchmark for many of his colleagues.

Cambitoglou, born in Thessaloniki in 1922, was a world-renowned classical archaeologist. He joined the faculty of the University of Sydney in 1961 and in 1963 he was appointed Professor of Classical Archaeology, thus becoming the first Greek university professor in Australia.

The Greek archaeologist was also appointed Curator of the Nicholson Museum.

Cambitoglu spent more than five decades tirelessly championing Australian research in Greece. Apart from his lifelong passion for classical archaeology and Attic vase painting, he was a global authority on the subject of the red-figure vase painting of the Greek colonies of southern Italy.

Since first arriving in Australia, Professor Cambitoglou worked to promote Australian research in Greece, beginning in 1967 with the establishment of the Australian excavations at the Geometric settlement of Zagora on Andros. This project was a collaboration between the Athens Archaeological Society and the University of Sydney.

He became the Arthur and Renee George Professor of Classical Archaeology in 1978 and only retired from this position, becoming a Professor Emeritus, in 1989.

Perhaps the greatest legacy Professor Cambitoglou has bestowed on Australian scholars working in Greece was the establishment of the Australian Archaeological Institute of Athens, founded in 1980.

The archaeologist continued to serve as the Curator of the Nicholson Museum until December 2000 and only retired from the position of AAIA Director in 2016.