Machteld Johanna Mellink received her Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht in 1943 and joined the faculty of Bryn Mawr College's Department of Archaeology in 1949, a department she eventually chaired for 28 years. She participated in fieldwork in Turkey at the sites of Tarsus (1947-1949) and Gordion (1950-1965) and lead excavations at the prehistoric site of Elmali (1963-1970). Professor Mellink was the President of the AIA between 1980 and 1984, and in 1991 was the recipient of the AIA Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
The Mellink Lectureship was established in 2001. The Mellink Lecturer, who is chosen by the AIA Lecture Program Committee, speaks on a Near Eastern topic and visits one local society annually.