T. Leslie Shear Jr.

T. Leslie Shear Jr. (known as “Bucky”) has spent his life between Princeton and Athens, Greece, where he was born on May 1, 1938. He received his B.A. summa cum laude from Princeton’s Department of Classics and his Ph.D. from the Department of Art and Archaeology in 1966. He began his academic career as an instructor and then an assistant professor of Greek and Latin at Bryn Mawr College, returning to Princeton in 1967. In 1968, he became field director of the American excavations in the Agora of Athens under the aegis of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, a position he held until 1994. During his tenure, the excavations were greatly extended to the north, beyond the Piraeus railway line. These were rewarded with the discovery in 1981 of at least the corner of the famed Stoa Poikile, or Painted Stoa, built in the third quarter of the fifth century B.C. and painted by the greatest artists of the day.

Bucky’s dissertation was titled “Studies in the Early Projects of the Periklean Program.” Although never published, it is probably one of the most widely used documents by archaeologists and historians who seek to disentangle the complex history of the Athenian Acropolis under the great Athenian statesman.

Although much of his career has been spent on the excavation and the publication of the monuments of Athens, Bucky began his archaeological career at the Bronze Age site of Mycenae and then worked at Eleusis and Perati in Attica, at Corinth, and later at Morgantina in Sicily. His connection to Mycenae lasted many years and was cemented by his marriage to Ione Mylonas in 1959, the daughter of George Mylonas, who served for many years as director of the excavations. Bucky has regularly taught both undergraduate and graduate courses on various aspects of the Greek Bronze Age.

As a member of the Department of Art and Archaeology, Bucky served as associate chair from 1976 to 1978 and again from 1982 to 1983. But his main role was director of the Program in Classical Archaeology, in which capacity he supervised the complex requirements of students in Graeco-Roman philology, history, art, and architecture. He also has served on a variety of committees of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Archaeological Institute of America and lectured widely for both. Beyond his immediate professional responsibilities, he served on the nominating committee of the John D. and Catherine T. Proctor Foundation from 1982 to 1989.

Retirement will bring Bucky little rest. He is returning to his dissertation, which he intends to publish under the title Thousand-Talent Temples. His long association with the agora of Athens is to produce two monographs, one on the Stoa Basileios and the other on the great Hellenistic landmark of modern Athens, the Stoa of Attalos.

Annual Emeriti Booklet Excerpt: