Nathan Arrington  Associate Professor


Nathan Arrington

Associate ProfessorUndergraduate Representative


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2010

Nathan Arrington specializes in classical archaeology and focuses on the material culture of ancient Greece, from the Early Archaic through the Late Roman periods. His monograph Ashes, Images, and Memories: The Presence of the War Dead in Fifth-Century Athens (Oxford University Press, 2015) examines how monuments, objects, and images, in their ritual and spatial contexts, changed the way that people viewed and remembered military casualties. A second monograph (Greece and the East: Art, Style, and the Poor in Early Athens), under contract with Princeton University Press, will address connections between the Aegean and the East in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, with a focus on Protoattic pottery and style as practice.

Arrington’s work explores the intersections of art history and archaeology, addressing such issues as the production and consumption of objects, transcultural communication and exchange, memory and materiality, non-elite representation and display, public versus private art, epigraphy as monument, the status of the image in Greece, and stylistic change. His research has been supported by grants from the Gates Cambridge Trust and the Fulbright Foundation.

Arrington is co-director and USA director of the Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project (MTAP), a co-operation with the Rhodope Ephorate of Antiquities under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The interdisciplinary project investigates a trading port on the Thracian Sea in its changing environmental, economic, and cultural contexts, and within evolving regional trade and power networks. Arrington also has excavated at Corinth, Nemea, Mycenae, Polis (Cyprus), and Tel Dor (Israel).

At Princeton, Arrington is the founding Director of the Program in Archaeology. He also serves as an undergraduate adviser and faculty fellow at Mathey College. He is affiliated with the Department of Classics and the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, and he holds the Class of 1931 Preceptorship. Since 2015, he has been the President of the Archaeological Institute of America, Princeton Society. 

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Teaching Interests

Professor Arrington teaches courses in art history, archaeology, and archaeological methods and theory. His classes are organized around specific problems and current research questions, and make frequent use of museum collections as well as rare books. They are designed to engage students with artifacts, sites, and other archaeological data, and to teach them how to critically assess primary and secondary evidence. Each summer, Arrington teaches Art 304, “Archaeology in the Field,” in Greece.

Current Research

Arrington is currently working on three research projects. The first examines the contexts, motivations, and implications of Greek relations with the Near East in the Iron Age, with a particular interest in the role of the non-elite. The second, based on his excavation and survey work, examines settlement and trade networks in Thrace, and investigates the changing form and function of trading ports (emporia) in the ancient Mediterranean. The third is a study of ornament in early Greek art.  

Selected Publications

"Connoisseurship, Vases, and Greek Art and Archaeology," in The Berlin Painter and His World: Athenian Vase-Painting in the Early Fifth Century B.C., ed. J. Michael Padgett (2017).

 “Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project: 2013 Preliminary Report,” Hesperia 85 (2016).

“Talismanic Practice at Lefkandi: Trinkets, Burials, and Belief in the Early Iron Age," The Cambridge Classical Journal 61 (December 2015).

Ashes, Images, and Memories: The Presence of the War Dead in Fifth-Century Athens (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Fallen Vessels and Risen Spirits: Conveying the Presence of the Dead on White-Ground Lekythoi,” in Athenian Potters and Painters, vol. 3, ed. John H. Oakley (2014).

“The Form(s) and Date(s) of a Classical War Monument: Re-evaluating IG I3 1163 and the Case for Delion,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 181 (2012).

“Inscribing Defeat: The Commemorative Dynamics of the Athenian Casualty Lists,” Classical Antiquity 31 (2011).

“Topographic Semantics: The Location of the Athenian Public Cemetery and Its Significance for the Nascent Democracy,” Hesperia 79 (2010).