Friends and Colleagues Remember Greenie – Nicholas Cahill

Crawford Greenewalt is one of the world’s authorities on the archaeology of Asia Minor, and particularly of Lydian and East Greek pottery. He is the author of 100 articles and essays, whose extraordinary erudition reveal his curiosity about all things ancient. His particular love is Orientalizing pottery. His pioneering work on “Ephesian Ware” revealed the interaction between Greek and Anatolian traditions that produced some of the most refined ceramics ever made.

He particularly loves the odd tidbits of antiquity that pique his curiosity, and his most inspired work results from his almost obsessive fascination with peculiar, offbeat artifacts. These range from the “Exhibitionist” from Sardis, to a unique iron and bronze helmet, to the ritual “puppy dinners,” consisting of a knife, plate, cup, jug, cooking pot, and the bones of a tiny puppy.

Many archaeologists study artifacts, but Greenie is one of the rare scholars who recognizes and explores gaps in the archaeological record: textiles, perfumes, horsemanship, and other vanished aspects of antiquity.

Although his real love is such jewel-like objects and curiosities, he brings a remarkable breadth of vision to all his research. With his excavations at Sardis Greenie revolutionized our concept of the ancient city, its urban history and cultural affinities, from the earliest times through the modern era.

Of equal importance to his scholarly achievements is the way he inspires students and colleagues. He takes everyone seriously, from the undergraduate with the overconfidence of youth to the peasant farmer with the experience of a lifetime spent among ruins. He is a consummate listener, and his generosity is legendary. He is also the most modest person alive, and were he at tonight’s gala, he would feel real discomfort at the praise lavished on him by his friends. Greenie is a great lover of animals, and animals of him — more than we jaded academics, they recognize his gentle spirit, and his deep love and understanding for all living things. We are all honored to recognize the unique role he has played in Classical archaeology, and in the lives of his friends.


Dr. Nicholas D. Cahill, Professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin – Madison; and the Director of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis

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