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Stephen Miller, archaeologist known for work at Nemea, dies


American professor and archaeologist Stephen G. Miller, who devoted over three decades of his life to the excavation and promotion of the archaeological site of Ancient Nemea in the northeastern Peloponnese, has died. He was 79.

Born in Goshen, Indiana, in 1942, Miller became Professor of Archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley between 1973 and 2004, while serving as Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens from 1982 until 1987. 

In 1971, Miller was appointed Director of Excavations at Nemea and began work at the site two years later. His team uncovered the Sanctuary of Zeus and the ancient stadium, constructed around 330 BC.

In 1994, Miller founded The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games. The first contemporary games were held two years later.


He published several books and scholarly articles documenting his archaeological discoveries, including “Nemea II: The Early Hellenistic Stadium” (University of California Press 2001).

Miller was bestowed the Greek title of Grand Commander of the Order of Honor in 2005, while Greece’s president at the time signed an honorary naturalization order.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Wednesday expressed her grief over Miller’s death. “With the loss of Stephen Miller, archaeological research has lost a great, dedicated scientist, while Greece has lost a great friend,” Mendoni said in a message, while praising the late archaeologist’s “scientific brilliance, humanity and progressive thinking.”

“Very sad news about an American scholar who contributed greatly to the cultural ties between our countries (and California),” US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt tweeted.