The American School of Classical Studies in Athens began its excavation of the ancient Greek Agora in 1931. Since 3000 B.C.E., this ancient marketplace served as the confluence of Athenian economic, political, and social practices, and emerged as the physical manifestation of the famous democracy of Athens around the fifth century B.C.E.
By 1957, the first archeological park in Europe was developed to showcase the work of the Agora excavation from the previous decades. The landscaping for this presentation proved to be a challenging and novel undertaking, and the school began talks with Ralph E. Griswold in 1950 to act as supervisor of the new park. His work included not only making the park serviceable by adding benches, creating entrances, and clearing ruin, but aesthetically pleasing by adorning the surrounding hillside and park with historically and culturally relevant foliage and trees. He was responsible not only for the logistic constraints of an operation in the dry environment of Attica, but charged with conforming to stringent academic standards of recreating the ancient marketplace. The project was completed between 1950 to 1955 and the park dedicated in 1956. Additional files relating to this project may be found in Series V.