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2015 Numismatics and Sigillography Summer Program

Summer Program in Coins and Seals, 6–31 July 2015

In July 2015, Dumbarton Oaks will again offer its unique summer program on Byzantine numismatics and sigillography, drawing upon its extensive holdings of coins and seals. Through access to the collections participants will be trained how to read, identify and interpret coins and seals. Further seminars will place coins and seals in their historical context and instruct the participants on how to incorporate these valuable historical sources into their own research. The program will be under the direction of Dr. Eric McGeer, Consultant for Byzantine Sigillography, and Professor Vasiliki (Vasso) Penna (University of the Peloponnese). A limited number of places will be available for students of any nationality.


Admission Requirements

Applicants must be a doctoral student in some area of Byzantine Studies or a junior faculty member teaching at least one course in Byzantine Studies at a college or university, or a junior curator with responsibility for Byzantine objects.

Candidates will be expected to have a reading knowledge of French and German and to have completed two years of college-level Classical Greek (or its equivalent).

Course Offerings

The seminars are intended as an introduction to the study and uses of the disciplines of numismatics and sigillography. The course will include morning seminar meetings, and afternoon work on research reports, when it will be possible to make appointments to view items from the Dumbarton Oaks collections. The evenings will be available for research since the excellent Dumbarton Oaks Library is open until 10 pm. Among topics to be discussed in class will be bibliography, the basics of the disciplines of numismatics and sigillography, and the use of coins and seals as evidence for Byzantine political, economic, and art history. Students will be instructed how to read and date Byzantine coins and seals and write a catalogue entry. As part of regular course-work a variety of special topics will be examined, such as photography of seals and coins, digital imagery, epigraphic fonts, construction of maps, construction of databases, use of Photoshop, and electronic programs for statistical treatment.

At the end of the program students will present a research report, on a pre-determined and agreed topic, to the course and to other members of the Dumbarton Oaks community. Students will coordinate their research papers with the program faculty, and must produce an original piece of research which may be based on numismatic and/or sigillographic material from any source but will take account of material from Dumbarton Oaks.

Accommodation and Expenses

Successful candidates will receive free housing (except for anyone living in the greater Washington area), in addition to lunch on weekdays in the Refectory. They will also be entitled to a library badge for the duration of the course. They are, however, responsible for their own transportation costs.

Application Procedure

Applicants must send a letter by January 31, 2015, to Margaret Mullett, Director of Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (1703 32nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20007), describing their academic background and listing specific reasons for wishing to be included in the summer program, particularly listing why seals and coins are important for their research and outlining any potential topics that the candidate thinks would make a suitable research report. All applicants should include a curriculum vitae; doctoral candidates with taught elements in any postgraduate degree should arrange for the sending of a transcript of their graduate school record. Two letters of recommendation should be sent separately, at least one of them from a faculty member who has instructed the candidate in an area of Byzantine Studies. Selection criteria will include (but not be limited to) a demonstrated need for the seminar and the candidates’ present and future research projects. For further information, write to:


Sergio Basso (University of California, Berkeley)

Stefanos Dimitriadis (Koc University)

Polina Ivanova (Harvard University)

Rózsa Márton (Eötvös Loránd University)

Nikolaos Mastrochristos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

Brian Salas (University of Chicago)

Panagiotis Theodoropoulos (King’s College)

Rossana Valente (University of Edinburgh)