Emeline Richardson— 1994 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
Emeline Hill Richardson has made a mark on the history of archaeology as a pioneer, in the United States, in the study of Etruscan culture. She was the first important American scholar in this field; her work The Etruscans: Their Art and Civilization (Chicago 1964) was the first comprehensive introduction to the Etruscans in this country, and as such was adopted as a textbook in many courses. Its influence has been strong, and in spite of the enormous increase in data on the Etruscans over the past 30 years; some chapters remain the best introductory statement on certain aspects of Etruscan archaeology.
Emeline Richardson was drawn to archaeology by the thought of all that remained to be discovered and all that remained to be accomplished in the study of ancient civilization. A bent for chronological analysis was manifest early in her study of geology (in which she received her A.B. from Radcliffe College in 1932), but she soon turned to the more humanistic science of Classical Archaeology (she received her Ph.D. from Radcliffe in 1939) and specifically to the Etruscans. Her specialty within the discipline is Etruscan sculpture, and she has published a number of significant studies in this area. She contributed to archaeological fieldwork with her prompt publication of architectural terracottas from the temples at Cosa (MAAR 2 7, 1960). Her Etruscan Votive Bronzes: Geometric, Orientalizing and Archaic (Mainz 1983), the fruit of studies she began in the 1930s at the suggestion of Bernard Ashmole ("This needs doing," he had told her), is the definitive corpus of this material. At present she is nearing completion of the second major installment of her life's work, on the Classical votive bronzes of the Etruscans.
In her teaching career, spanning 40 years, Emeline Richardson taught at Wheaton College, Yale University, the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, Stanford University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also served the profession as Trustee (1978-79) and Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer ( 1976-77) for the Archaeological Institute of America, and as Director of a seminar for college teachers held by the National Endowment for the Humanities at the American Academy in Rome in 1979. She was Classicist in Residence at the American Academy (1977), jointly with her husband Lawrence Richardson, jr, with whom she collaborated in many ways to the enrichment of scholarship in both Etruscan and Roman studies.
This generous scholar has done much for others. She performed a major service to Etruscan scholarship when she prepared for publication the manuscript left by Otto Brendel at his death on Etruscan Art (Harmondsworth 1978). Professor Richardson edited the text, wrote most of the final section on the Hellenistic period, wrote all the footnotes for the book, and selected its more than 300 illustrations. Her name does not appear as author on the title page, but it is unlikely that we would have this book without her important collaboration. Another significant example of her dedication to working for others lies in her work on Greek and Roman dress. In 1966, when the Archaeological Institute of America was holding a fundraising drive, Professor Richardson raised money by staging a grand fashion show at Duke University called "The Descent of the Toga." For many years the slides of the costumes continued to be sold by the AlA for use in classrooms around the country.
Emeline Hill Richardson has published on a wide range of topics in Etruscan studies, including Etruscan mirrors, language, small bronzes, dress, iconography, and religion. Her publications, old and new, continue to be influential, and it is fair to say that she is the dean Of Etruscan studies in America today. For her pioneering achievements in this discipline, her admirer George Hanfmann once characterized her as a "heroine;" her selection for the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement serves to confirm this status.