James Bennett Pritchard— 1983 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
For forty years, James Bennett Pritchard has illuminated Near Eastern archaeology for his colleagues and students with erudition and charm. His excavations, classrooms and lecture halls have been lively fora, where he has shared his knowledge and insight with friends of many nationalities. In all his professional activities, he has been a model of unfailing generosity, stimulation and grace-a proud record for a scholar of broad achievement.
James Pritchard's teaching career took him from the Crozer Theological Seminary and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific to the University of Pennsylvania as Professor of Religious Thought and Curator of Biblical Archaeology at the University Museum. He has served as Annual Professor and twice as Visiting Professor at the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, and as the Fulbright-Hays Professor of Archaeology at the American University of Beirut. His accomplishments in the classroom have been matched by his many other contributions to archaeology—as editor of the Journal of the American Oriental Society, Secretary to the Board of Trustees of ASOR, Associate Director and Director of the University Museum, Trustee of the American University of Beirut, and an editor of publications for the American Philosophical Society. This impressive enumeration of activities includes, to our own good fortune, the presidency of the Archaeological Institute of America in 1972 and 1973. James Pritchard continues to serve the AIA in many ways, most recently as chairman of the Publications Committee. His fieldwork has been a pioneering effort, devoted to exploring little known aspects of biblical lands. James Pritchard began digging at Dhiban and Herodian Jericho, and later directed excavations at ancient Gibeon, Tell es-Sa'idiyeh, and at Sarafand, ancient Sarepta. His work has given us a rare direct look at the Phoenicians in their homeland and has made us think about Phoenician-Punic relationships in a new light.
These excavations have been and continue to be made accessible to the scholarly world, while James Pritchard has also undertaken the task of bringing archaeology to public notice, through general works on his own excavations— Gibeon, Where the Sun Stood Still (1962) and Recovering Sarepta, A Phoenician City (1978). One of his greatest contributions to the study of the Near East has been Ancient Near Eastern Texts (ANET). Pritchard in ANET succeeded in bringing together the world's leading Near Eastern scholars to offer the fruits of their philological research in intelligible translations and comments, structured by the master hand and guided by the diplomacy of the editor. Now in its third edition, ANET has become a mainstay in all relevant curricula, along with the companion volume, The Ancient Near East in Pictures.
Throughout his distinguished career, James Pritchard has been a kind and considerate advisor, a warm friend and a man of philosophical humor. In gratitude for all his achievements in teaching scholarly research, editing, digging, and bringing archaeology to the public, as well as his wisdom and statesmanship, the Archaeological Institute of America is proud to award James Bennett Pritchard its gold medal for distinguished archaeological achievement.