Nemea Center




                                                           University of California, Berkeley -- Nemea, Greece 

The Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology is a research unit within the Department of Classics at U.C. Berkeley. Our research includes archaeological excavation in Greece, close-study of artifacts in the Nemea Archaeological Museum, digital archive work on campus, and various related research projects in Nemea and its surrounding areas. Learn more about us here!


Nemea Night is back for 2018! We hope you will join us on Tuesday, December 4th 2018 at 6:30pm for a reception in the East Pauley Ballroom (upstairs in the ASUC Student Union building) and a lecture at 7:30pm. Nemea Night is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the advances in Classical Archaeology being made by U.C. Berkeley faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. We share photos and news about recent excavation seasons, plans for upcoming seasons, and plenty of food and conversation with Nemea Center students and supporters. Looking for more details about Nemea Night? Click here! If you have any questions about the event or about the Nemea Center in general, please get in touch with our director, Dr. Kim Shelton, at We hope to see you on December 4th!

2019 Summer Field School: Applications currently being accepted
Have you ever considered spending a summer on an archaeological excavation? Well, now's your chance! We are currently accepting applications for this summer's archaeological field school at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea and the Late Bronze Age cemetery at Aidonia. The application deadline is Friday, February 1st 2019. Learn more by clicking here.

Nemea Center in the News:
The Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology's current excavations at Aidonia, under the direction of Dr. Kim Shelton, have recently been highlighted in Η ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ. The article stresses the importance of our project in light of the site's long history of looting and illicit activities. Current efforts aim not only to recover the site's history in a responsible way, but also to strengthen community involvement and awareness as well as build a culture of stewardship and local pride. Check out the full text here [in Greek].

Check out the latest edition of LionBytes! 


"Bringing the Past to the Present"

About The Nemea Center at UC Berkeley

The Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology, a research unit within the Department of Classics, founded in 2004, promotes teaching, research, and public service centered on the University of California excavations at Nemea, Greece and its surrounding region.

The Center fosters an environment of teaching and scholarly cooperation that is a model in the field of classical archaeology.  The Center is composed of the Nemea Excavation Archives, housed in 7125 Dwinelle Hall, University of California, Berkeley, and the Nemea Archaeological Center in Nemea, Greece, which is composed of the Bowker House complex (residences, common room/kitchen, storage areas and garden), the Thomas J. Long Study Room in the Nemea Archaeological Museum (office/drafting space, research library and archive of original excavation materials) and the Nemean land to which Berkeley holds scientific rights.

All the work and activities of the Nemea Center, including staff support, is financed solely through donations. If you are interested in making a donation please visit our “Donate” website for information.

Director of the Nemea Center:  Dr. Kim Shelton, Associate Professor of Classics and the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA)

The founding of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology-The Center was formed by the Department of Classics to recognize Professor Emeritus of Classical Archaeology Stephen G. Miller’s great contributions, to preserve his legacy of achievement and to develop new programs to further archaeology at Nemea and regionally through the Center’s work.  With its establishment, the Center will continue to “bring the past to the present” through teaching, research, and public education both here on the Berkeley campus and at Nemea.

Current Activities and Projects – The central activity of the Center is the excavation, study, conservation, and public presentation of the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, including the Hellenistic Stadium.

  • Research: archaeological research (includes excavation and study) of material and monuments from the ancient site.
  • Conservation and presentation of archaeological monuments: As a primary mission of the Center, members work diligently to preserve and make public presentation of the archaeological monuments which includes the Early Christian Basilica, the Xenon, water reservoirs, the entrance tunnel of the Stadium.  
  • Regional Studies: A mission of the Center is to create an environment of scholarly cooperation involving students and faculty both from UC Berkeley and from elsewhere that will serve as a model in the field of classical archaeology. The Center will continue to work with other scholars and institutions such as, Bryn Mawr College, University of Cincinnati, Brock University, the German Archaeological Institute and the Greek Archaeological Service, to create a regional center for classical archaeology that will encompass excavations, regional survey, and material study for the benefit of public education through the Museum.
  • Archaeological Field Schools: As part of both its educational and research mission, this expanded teaching program of the Center, provides undergraduate students the opportunity to experience first-hand archaeological excavation and museum study at the Nemea, Aidonia, and Mycenae sites.  This experience is accomplished by the students working on a variety of research projects including the ceramic and small-find deposits from both the Nemea and Mycenae sites, excavation and preservation of the Late Bronze Age cemetrey of Aidonia, and the conservation of the Early Christian Basilica and other monuments.  For the graduate student, the Field School experience provides research and teaching opportunities.
  • Public Presentation: Bringing public awareness to Nemea through educational initiatives and creative presentation of the site has always been of primary importance to UCB Nemea Excavations and the Center will continue and expand on this through undergraduate/graduate archaeological field schools, improvements to the site and museum set-up, academic led tours, seminars and conferences in Berkeley and in Greece, and through encouragement of local interests such as the Revival of the Nemean Games.
  • Excavation: Future excavation at Nemea will be an essential focus as we move ahead, hopefully for decades to come. This will happen over several multi-season campaigns interspersed with seasons of study and museum research and will encompass many different areas geographically within and around the site, as well as chronologically distinct periods. One interest is to discover more information and evidence of the early prehistory and history of the site, including the possibility of occupation and/or cult continuity down to the 6th century sanctuary and its development.  Other important areas of interest include the exploration of the area west of the Temple where the early stadium and hippodrome should be located, and the space between the two “sites” (sanctuary proper and stadium) to understand the circulation routes, access and structures associated with this part of the festival and to create a single unified archaeological park. The first of the campaigns was conducted 2010-2012. 
  • In addition to research at the Nemea site, the Center’s Director, Dr. Kim Shelton will continue her research in prehistoric Greek archaeology at Mycenae, the largest and wealthiest of the palatial citadels of the Late Bronze Age, and is collaborating with the Korinthian Ephoreia of Antiquities on the TAPHOS project (The Tombs of Aidonia Preservation, Heritage, and Exploration Synergasia).


Mission Statement

                                                                          Our Mission


  • Support students and supplement their work with material from Nemea and surrounding areas
  • Maintain a strong and constantly-evolving teaching/mentoring program in classical archaeology


  • Publish discoveries and recent work in a timely manner
  • Encourage scholars at every level to study the architecture and materials at Nemea and its surrounds
  • Maintain the Nemean Archive in Berkeley and Greece and make it accessible to scholars and students
  • Plan for future excavation and study seasons at the site and its neighboring archaeological sites


  • Conserve and display finds at the Nemea Museum and present them in a publicly-engaging format
  • Preserve and enhance Nemea as a public educational asset for visitors and locals
  • Create a regional center for classical archaeology at Nemea

Long-term plans for the Nemea Center

The archaeological site of Nemea has provided a rich suite of resources for students, scholars, and visitors for more than thirty years.  This site will continue to offer opportunities to learn about and do research in classical archaeology in a remarkably well-preserved site.  The site itself is one of the most beautifully displayed in Greece with a museum that brings the ancient site to life for thousands of visitors each year.  The Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology will make the site an ever more effective place where this strong tradition of teaching, research, and public service can flourish.  During future seasons, the Nemea Center will:

  • Actively and imaginatively support undergraduate and graduate student work with material from the site
  • Maintain and enhance a teaching program in classical archaeology for students from Berkeley and other institutions; this will include field-school sessions at Nemea and nearby Mycenae and Aidonia under the auspices of the U.C. Berkeley Summer Sessions
  • Coordinate and encourage the publication of material from the site
  • Assess prospects and plan for future excavation at the site and surrounding areas
  • Conserve finds at the museum in preparation for publication and display (as well as providing training in conservation and curation for graduate students)
  • Work with the Greek Archaeological Service to preserve the site and enhance it as a public educational asset
  • Maintain the Nemean Archive in Berkeley and make it available for scholarly use
  • Work with other institutions and scholars to create a regional center for classical archaeology, which encompasses excavations, regional survey, public education through the Museum, and historical studies.


History of the Nemea Excavation

Prior to the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) excavation of Nemea in 1973,  exploration of this site goes back to at least 1766, with limited excavations in the 1800s and in 1912.  During the period of 1924 – 1927 the University of Cincinnati took on a more in depth and aggressive excavation of Nemea.  It was during that period, that Carl W. Blegen and Bert Hodge Hill, of the University of Cincinnati, excavated the Basilica and Xenon, the Bath, some of the prehistoric settlement on Tsoungiza, and determined the location of the Stadium.  Additional excavations by other researchers took place in the 1930s and in the 1960s by Charles Williams.   UCB’s excavation of Nemea came about when in the late 1960s Sanford Elberg, Dean of the UCB Graduate Division conducted a review of the Classics Department's Classical Archaeology Program. One of the recommendations that resulted from this review was the need for the program to become actively engaged in excavation.  After extensive analysis of potential archaeological sites, Nemea, specifically, the Sanctuary of Zeus, was recommended as the site that would best strengthen not only the graduate program in Classical Archaeology but also that of the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology, by providing students a guaranteed opportunity for hands-on excavation experience and the possibility of new material for theses and dissertations.

To make excavation of the Nemea site a reality, UCB faced various challenges.  Two of these challenges included permission to excavate the site and acquisition of relevant archaeological land.  Under Greek law, the only American entity authorized to conduct archaeology in Greece is the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA).  UCB therefore submitted a proposal to ASCSA, which was approved with the caveat that a Field Director be hired.  In 1973 with the hiring of the Assistant Professor Stephen G. Miller as the Nemea Field Director, UCB had its permission to excavate in Nemea.

The next challenge was that in order to ensure that UCB would eventually be able to excavate the entire sanctuary, UCB needed to acquire privately held land, in accordance with Greek law. It was under Professor Miller’s leadership, that UCB was able to raise the funds, mostly through donations, to acquire the necessary land, which it gave to the Greek State, with the stipulation that UCB retained scientific research rights including excavation.  As a result of Professor Miller’s and UCB efforts, students and faculty from Berkeley and other institutions have been excavating in Nemea for over 35 years.

For more detail information on the history of excavations in Nemea, please refer to:

For information on the Nemea Center’s current research and future excavation please refer to:

Archived website

Nemea.Org is a static website embedded from http://Nemea.Org