February 5, 2024
The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to announce that the Gold Medal Committee has selected Professor Andrea Berlin as the 2025 recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement. This award, presented each year at the AIA-SCS Annual Meeting, recognizes distinguished contributions to archaeology, primarily through research and/or fieldwork. The Gold Medal is the highest honor the Institute bestows.
Professor Andrea Berlin’s career has resulted in a plethora of distinguished contributions to archaeology in a breathtakingly wide range of fieldwork and research. She began her career as a specialist in Hellenistic and Early Roman pottery in Palestine which has remained one focus of her research, but her work has expanded far beyond that in subject and scope.
This is perhaps best exemplified by her creation of the Levantine Ceramic Project, or LCP. This extraordinary, open-access digital humanities website “crowd sources” the study of pottery from excavations throughout the eastern Mediterranean from the Neolithic through Medieval times. First conceived in 2011, the LCP brings together pottery from hundreds of excavations, with over 600 contributors and nearly 18,000 vessels documented by photos, drawings and petrotypes. This project has revolutionized the study of ancient pottery, bringing hundreds of excavators and ceramic scientists from around the world to the same digital table. Since 2012, Professor Berlin has convened and hosted more than 27 workshops in ten countries to transform this idea into reality. The project has also resulted in digital handbooks, or e-manuals, that will be of enormous use to excavators who seek to unlock the mechanics of Mediterranean shipping and commercial exchange in antiquity.
Professor Berlin’s publications include excavation reports on sites in Israel (Tel Anafa, Kedesh, Banias, Gamla Jerusalem), Egypt (Coptos, Naucratis), Turkey (Troy, Sardis, Gordion), Greece (Pylos), and Cyprus (Kyrenia). But what really distinguishes Professor Berlin’s scholarship is her ability to move beyond the creation of ceramic typologies and investigate larger issues, involving trade, the economy, and society as a whole. In other words, she sees past the sherds and into the lives of the people who used the vessels. This is particularly apparent in her forthcoming book Beyond the Temple: Jewish Households from the Maccabees to the Great Revolt against Rome, which stems from her lectures in Jewish Material Culture at the Bard Graduate Center in 2017 and traces the archaeological footprint of Jewish life at the household level.
Professor Berlin is above all a collaborator, working closely with her scientific colleagues and producing articles that unite science and history. That collaborative drive has resulted in two very successful co-edited books: the 2019 Spear-Won Land: Sardis, from the King’s Peace to the Peace of Apamea, and the 2021 The Middle Maccabees. Archaeology, History, and the Rise of the Hasmonean Kingdom. These talents have also made her a first-rate teacher, which was recognized by the AIA with the 2009 Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.
In sum, Professor Berlin’s publications have made her a scholar of international renown, with a lifelong record of service to the AIA. She served on a wide range of committees as an Academic Trustee and participated in most of the AIA’s outreach programs. She also has the distinction of having been selected for both the Norton and Joukowsky lectureships by the AIA, where her presentations have been characterized as both mesmerizing and energizing. Her entire professional career has upheld the standards of AIA service and the ethical responsibilities of archaeology. For all of these reasons, she has richly earned the highest honor the AIA can bestow, the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.
Professor Berlin will be honored at the Awards Ceremony at the 2025 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, PA. There will also be a Gold Medal colloquium in her honor.