Whether discussed over coffee in an office overburdened with books and offprints or communicated to colleagues and scholars across the world through the pages of his publications”, Ross Holloway shared “his insights and inspirations, pointing out directions unanticipated and pathways of knowledge hitherto concealed. Whether as a mentor, or a scholar, an excavator or a writer, few careers have touched so many or borne witness to so much.” These are the words of two students that opened one of the chapters in the 1990 Festschrift titled Koinê, that they also edited, in honor of their mentor Ross Holloway who was a Professor at Brown University from 1964 to 2007.
Robert (he never used his first name) Ross Holloway was born in Newton, MA (August 15, 1934). His academic interest in antiquity was cultivated at Roxbury Latin School and then at Amherst College where he graduated in 1956 (A.B. summa cum laude), was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and won a Fulbright Fellowship. He took an M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania (1957) and an M.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton where he focused on numismatics (1960). Afterward he stayed in Rome as a Fellow of the American Academy (1960-1962). Brief spells teaching at Princeton and the University of North Carolina preceded Holloway’s arrival at Brown in 1964 where he rose from Assistant to Associate (1967) and full Professor (1970) before being awarded a named chair as the Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor (1990). By the end of his career, Holloway had produced 33 books, 151 articles, and 50 book reviews that illuminated many areas of ancient Greek coinage, Greek art and Greek archaeology. He is best known for his work on the archaeology and history of early Italy, notably the prehistoric period. He also pioneered the recognition of the contributions made by the native populations of Italy and Sicily to the cultures and histories of those regions.
At Brown, Holloway was a member of the Classics Department. He later met and collaborated with Rolf Winkes, an art historian, and together they co-founded the Center for Classical Archaeology and Art which Holloway directed from 1978 to 1987 and 1994 to 2000. When Martha Sharp Joukowsky later joined Brown, the Center became the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art. Later still, in 2006, it became the Artemis A. W. and Martha Sharp Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. In Providence Holloway enjoyed a close collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design where he was an Associate Curator of the Museum of Art and an editor of volumes on the Classical Collections.
Holloway’s rich international career gained recognition from many learned societies and institutions in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the USA. In 1995 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement by the American Archaeological Institute of America. Holloway married Nancy in 1960 and they had two children. Holloway’s wife died in 2010. Ross Holloway passed on June 30, 2022 at his home in New Jersey, near Princeton. He is survived by his two daughters, Anne and Susannah, and five grandchildren.
Written by Graham Oliver, with the help of Susan Allen, November 2022.
"Ross Holloway at the Morgantina Excavations, 1961. Photograph courtesy of Julia Gearhart, Curator, Image and Historic Collections, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University."