Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement

2019 Winner Curtis Runnels 

The AIA Gold Medal Award Committee invites nominations for the award to be presented at the 2021 Annual Meeting. This award is made annually in recognition of a scholar who has made distinguished contributions to archaeology through research and/or field work. The recipient of this award will be presented with the medal and a citation documenting their outstanding achievements and a symposium will be held in their honor at the Annual Meeting at which the award is presented.

Criteria for Selection
Candidates for the award should normally be members of the Archaeological Institute of America.  As this award is for contributions to archaeology on the basis of distinguished research and field work, the strongest (and generally the most appropriate) candidates are typically senior scholars who are at a relatively advanced stage in their careers.  Therefore, this award could be considered analogous to a lifetime achievement award – that is, distinguished achievement over a career (although not necessarily at the end of a career).  The candidate’s primary achievement should be in the category of research and/or field work, although other types of contributions, for example through teaching, service, or museum work may be considered as additional factors in support of the nomination. The committee is charged not only with considering nominations received from others, but with actively soliciting nominations for this award, and with selecting the best candidate.  Nominations remain active for three years.  In the event the committee members agree there are no deserving candidates among the nominees, the Gold Medal will not be awarded that year.

As per the AIA’s Conflict of Interest Policy, all current AIA trustees, employees, and officers (including ex officio) and their families are ineligible for nomination for this award.

Due Date for Nomination
Completed nominations should be received by Institute Headquarters at the below address no later than November 15, 2019. Electronic submission is preferred.

Materials to Be Submitted
Completed nominations should include: (a) a substantive letter of nomination setting out the grounds for the nomination and supported by three or more letters from scholars in North America or abroad discussing the nominee's qualifications for the award; (b) a CV or outline of the nominee's career and contributions to archaeology; (c) a list of the nominee's publications. All materials will be handled confidentially.

The Honorary Symposium
The Gold Medal Committee and the Program Committee for the Annual Meeting request that nomination packets include suggestions for potential organizers and/or participants for a symposium to be held at the Annual Meeting in honor of the successful nominee.

Please send all nomination materials to:

Gold Medal Committee
Attn: Awards Department
Archaeological Institute of America
44 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
(857) 305-9350


2019 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement: Curtis Runnels 

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is pleased to present the 2019 Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement to Dr. Curtis Runnels.

Curtis Runnels changed the way the world understands the prehistory of the Aegean area, thanks to his extensive fieldwork, his extraordinary number and range of publications, his teaching, and his unparalleled ability to communicate to broad and varied audiences. He has transformed archaeological field methods in the southern Balkans, and has made landmark discoveries that have changed the very textbooks we use.  

Runnels' archaeological interests are broad, ranging from early prehistory to Roman coins, ethnography to disciplinary history. One of the first to introduce systematic archaeological survey to Greece, his work has revolutionized our understanding of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, and the very way research in the Stone Ages is now conducted.  

Under his decade-long leadership of the Journal of Field Archaeology, the journal increased dramatically in visibility and impact, moving up to the rank of 13th of 239 international journals in the category of Archaeology. 

An exceptional scholar, teacher, and editor, Runnels has championed a multifaceted conceptual approach that integrates specialized studies and scientific analysis into understanding site histories and regional connections.  For all of these reasons, Curtis Runnels has richly earned the highest honor the AIA can bestow, the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.


Past Winners of the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement

2018 Ian Hodder
2017 John R. Clarke
2016 Malcolm (Mac) Bell III
2015 C. Brian Rose
2014 L. Hugh Sackett
2013 Jeremy B. Rutter
2012 Lawrence Richardson, jr
2011 Susan Irene Rotroff
2010 John Humphrey
2009 Henry Tutwiler Wright
2008 James Wiseman
2007 Larissa Bonfante
2006 Maria C. Shaw and Joseph W. Shaw
2005 Lionel Casson
2004 David B. Stronach
2003 Philip Betancourt
2002 Robert McCormick Adams
2001 Emmett L. Bennett, Jr.
1999 Patty Jo Watson
1998 Anna Marguerite McCann
1997 Clemency Chase Coggins
1996 Wilhelmina F. Jashemski
1995 R. Ross Holloway
1994 Emeline Richardson
1993 Charles Kaufman Williams, II
1992 Evelyn Byrd Harrison
1991 Machteld J. Mellink
1990 John W. Hayes
1989 Virginia R. Grace
1988 Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway and John Desmond Clark
1987 Dorothy Burr Thompson
1986 George F. Bass
1985 Saul S. Weinberg and Gladys Davidson Weinberg
1984 Margaret Thompson
1983 James Bennet Pritchard
1982 Peter H. von Blanckenhagen
1981 William Andrew McDonald
1980 John Langdon Caskey
1979 Dows Dunham
1978 George M.A. Hanfmann
1977 Edith Porada
1976 Lucy Shoe Meritt
1975 Eugene Vanderpool
1974 Margarete Bieber
1973 Gordon R. Willey
1972 Homer A. Thompson
1971 Robert John Braidwood
1970 George E. Mylonas
1969 Oscar Theodore Broneer, Rhys Carpenter, and William B. Dinsmoor, Sr.


Gisela Marie Augusta Richter
1967 William Foxwell Albright
1966 Hetty Goldman
1965 Carl W. Blegen

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