ST. LOUIS, MO – University of Missouri-St. Louis Professor Michael Cosmopoulos has been elected a Regular Member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences of Greece.
Founded in 1926 with its roots in the historical Academy of Plato, the Athens Academy is the premier research institution in Greece. Because there is only one Chair per scientific field, each one of the 40 members of the Academy is considered the top leader in his/her area. Election to the Academy is the highest honor that a scholar can achieve; the members of the Academy are known as “Immortals”.
Cosmopoulos was elected to the Chair of Prehistoric Archaeology, in recognition of his contributions to the development of archaeological research, especially his excavation at Iklaina. His predecessors in this Chair include famed archaeologists George Mylonas, Spyridon Iakovidis, and Spyridon Marinatos.
He is especially known for his work with the Iklaina Archaeological Project, which he directs. The project is conducted under the auspices of the Archaeological Society at Athens and funded through UMSL’s Greek professorship as well as through major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society.
The Iklaina site is a Bronze Age capital, that dates to the time of the Trojan War, between 1500 B.C. and 1200 B.C. It’s believed to be one of the sites mentioned in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad, as one of the capitals of the Greek kings who fought in the war.
At Iklaina, Cosmopoulos has uncovered evidence of the early development of a two-tiered system of government, not unlike what exists in the United States today.
Cosmopoulos holds the Endowed Professorship in Greek Studies at UMSL. He is the first U.S.-based Greek archaeologist to be elected as a regular member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since his mentor, famed Washington University Professor of Archaeology George Mylonas in 1961. He is also an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
In 2023 the President of Greece awarded him the Presidential Medal of the Gold Cross of the Order of Phoenix.