Dows Dunham— 1979 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
Dows Dunham has dedicated his life· to archaeology as an excavator, curator and scholarly author, a dedication made with exceptional modesty as well as quiet distinction. Born in 1890, he has engaged in archaeological field work in Egypt and the Sudan since 1914, and served as vice-president of the Archaeological Institute of America.
There is perhaps no other archaeologist in this country who has labored so long, so patiently, and with such lucid and impressive results, to put the records of past excavations before the public, and to prevent the scientific and scholarly work of expeditions long finished from disappearing into oblivion in museum basements. From the moment he joined Professor George Reisner and the Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Expedition at Giza in 1914, through the preparation of the last volume of the monumental Kerma publication, now in the press, Mr. Dunham has devoted all his skills, his gift of clarity, his precision of method and his experience to the premier responsibility of the field archaeologist, that of explaining and interpreting what he has found. This discipline and sense of responsibility make him an exemplum for younger archaeologists everywhere.
Mr. Dunham was present at the discovery of the statue of King Djoser; excavated and helped restore the gold-covered furniture from the tomb of Queen Hetep-heres; and was in charge of field operations and recording at Quft, Naga-ed-Der, Giza, and—for the Egyptian Antiquities Service—Sakkarah and Dahshur. In the Sudan, he uncovered Gammai, Gebel Barkaland Meroe, established the first chronology of the Meroitic kings, and published the Royal Cemeteries of Kush and the forts of the Second Cataract, the Barkal Temples and the Giza Mastabas. Placed in charge of the Egyptian Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1928, he was responsible for cataloguing, installing and explaining that extraordinary range of beautiful art and, during more than fifty years of association, displayed the consistent and absolute probity of a distinguished museum curator.
Dows Dunham has, all his life, also been a splendid, lively and picturesque teacher, and his sense of responsibility toward his students and toward the public has been shown in hundreds of ways, from his working model at the Science Museum of how a pyramid is built to the informative labels in the Museum of Fine Arts. His lifetime example' of dedication, discipline, unselfish labor, patience, good judgment, skill and lucidity, his stance on principles as well as his humor, his constant help to younger Egyptologists, to which many in this room can bear witness, the warmth and modesty which have endeared him to so many for so long, make Dows Dunham on this centennial occasion the fitting embodiment of a grand tradition in archaeology.