Accordia's First Director
Dr John B. Wilkins, FSA
Director of Accordia, 1988-2017
Dr Wilkins was Accordia’s director from its foundation in 1988 until his death in 2017. He founded Accordia, together with Ruth Whitehouse, Michael Edwards and Edward Herring, while he was Head of the Department of Mediterranean Studies at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. It was very much his own vision and he is also to be credited with / blamed for the original acronymic title (‘Academic Centre for the Coordination of Research into the Development of Italy from Antiquity’).
Originally a blue-blooded classical scholar from Kings College, Cambridge, he worked with John Chadwick on Mycenaean. He went to Rome as Rome Scholar at the British School at Rome, originally to work with Massimo Pallottino on Etruscan, where however John Ward-Perkins, the then Director of BSR, 'introduced' him to archaeology by enlisting him, in the military sense, on the School's excavation at Veii. This 'forced labour' was the original cause of his migration into archaeology, and his work was inter-disciplinary from that time. His principal research interest was the development of pre-Roman Italy.
He was an expert in the pre-roman languages of Italy and was particularly interested in the sociolinguistic landscape of early Italy. He was co-Director (with Ruth Whitehouse) of the Botromagno excavation, and (with Armando de Guio and Ruth Whitehouse) of the Alto-Medio Polesine – Basso Veronese field project. He was also co-Director (with Ruth Whitehouse) of two successive AHRC-funded research projects, both based at the UCL Institute of Archaeology UCL, which were subsumed into a larger project on Literacy in Early Italy.
An appreciation of his life and work, by Edward Herring, can be found in Accordia Research Papers 15.