John Humphrey— 2010 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
It is hard to imagine what the field of classical archaeology, and archaeology in general, would look like without the Journal of Roman Archaeology, which was founded by John H. Humphrey in 1988. Within a few years, JRA had become the global interdisciplinary forum in which to publish work on the archaeology of the Roman world. Not only did it bring visibility to the field, but it also fostered a sense of intellectual coherence to research that spanned a geographically and chronologically diverse empire. JRA’s ever-growing size, as well as its many supplements—now 76 in number—are testimony to the authorial respect that Humphrey engenders.
Yet Humphrey’s distinguished career extends well beyond editing. His 1986 book Roman Circuses: Arenas for Chariot Racing (London) remains the standard work on the subject. As field director of the University of Michigan excavations at Carthage, Humphrey edited and published seven volumes on the excavations from 1975 through 1982. This was followed in 1986 by the publication of The Circus and a Byzantine Cemetery at Carthage (Ann Arbor), which he edited and co-authored. He was also the principal investigator from 1990 to 1995 of the Tuniso-American excavations at Leptiminus, Tunisia, and editor and coauthor of two volumes on the results of the excavations.
No less remarkably in terms of its contribution to the cultural heritage of Tunisia and to the public dissemination of archaeological knowledge, Humphrey has directed and completed the construction of the Musée Romain et Paléochrétien at Carthage in 1983–1984 and a gallery in the archaeological museum at Lamta, Tunisia, in 1993–1994. In the same vein, he has contributed significantly to the advancement of classical archaeology through his many years of superb teaching and service as director of many dissertations in Roman archaeology and history at the University of Michigan.
Perhaps no other single individual has played a greater role over the past two decades in shaping the discipline of Roman archaeology. The AIA is proud to award its 2010 Gold Medal to this worthy archaeologist.