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Elizabeth Bartman and C. Brian Rose catch up at the AIA's recent gala in New York.

No job is more important to me than safeguarding the past, and I'm honored to have served as president of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) for the last four years. In my last column in ARCHAEOLOGY, I have the distinct honor of introducing my successor, Elizabeth Bartman.

The last four years have been difficult for archaeologists, as the fiscal crisis and the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have forced the discipline—including the AIA—to be both flexible and vigilant. Despite these challenges, we at the AIA have strengthened our connections in other countries, especially Germany, Russia, and China, as part of an attempt to form a "United Nations" of archaeologists, and our new site preservation grants have been awarded to projects in eight countries. Elizabeth, or Liz, as you'll come to know her, will continue these initiatives, and I know her energy and wisdom will be boons to the AIA.

Some of you may already know Liz from her dynamic, wide-ranging AIA lectures, including "Egypt, Rome, and the Concept of Universal History," "The Industry of Sculptural Restoration in Eighteenth-Century Rome," and "Challenging the Masculinist Ideal: Sexy Boys in Roman Art." Others of you may have consulted her magisterial study of Livia, wife of the emperor Augustus (Portraits of Liva: Imaging the Imperial Woman in Augustan Rome), or her groundbreaking research on the archaeology of battle or ethnicity in Roman portraiture. She has served as an energetic president of the AIA's New York Society, an exhibition review editor for the American Journal of Archaeology, and a trustee of the Etruscan Foundation. I was fortunate to have had Liz as a colleague in graduate school at Columbia University, where we compared notes from our latest excavations—I at Aphrodisias, she at Carthage and the Athenian Agora. For the last four years, during which she served as AIA first vice-president, I relied heavily on her counsel and guidance.

Liz says she is "an archaeologist of the storeroom"—meaning she examines the familiar for greater insight. That instinct will serve her well as she leads the AIA. She will take a clear-eyed look at all we do and we will be better for it. I leave you with sadness but with the knowledge that the AIA is in excellent hands.

C. Brian Rose is the president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

« President's Letter N/D 2010