UMSL archaeologist Michael Cosmopoulos has been awarded a $275,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue his summer excavations in Greece. (Photo by August Jennewein)

In the summer of 2010, University of Missouri–St. Louis archaeologist Michael Cosmopoulos and his team uncovered the oldest written record in Europe.

The rare artifact was unearthed at an excavation site in Iklaina, Greece, where for the past 15 years Cosmopoulos has led a team of students, staff and specialists.

Now, thanks to a generous $275,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Cosmopoulos, the Hellenic Government Karakas Family Endowed Professor of Greek Studies at UMSL, will continue his summer dig project in Greece. The project serves as a field school for UMSL and other students.

This is the third federal grant awarded to the project. Cosmopoulos received a $130,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a previous $200,000 grant also from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Cosmopoulos’ work has garnered extensive media attention from noteworthy publications like the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Times and National Geographic. In fact, he’s included in a new National Geographic Society website feature about “Explorers.” It features a Q-and-A with Cosmopoulos where he delves into his inspiration for archaeology, his hero and what his typical day looks like.

Visit to read the “Explorers” profile.

Click here or below to view a video of Cosmopoulos discussing the often bleak myths surrounding the ancient underworld of Greece.

Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez