AIA News

January 25, 2022

In Memoriam: Martha Sharp Joukowsky

Martha Sharp Joukowsky presiding over a Brown University Commencement, 2015. Courtesy: The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University.

It is with great sadness that we share the news of Martha Sharp Joukowsky’s passing and offer our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. Martha passed away on January 7, 2022 at the age of 85.

Martha was born in Montague, Massachusetts, in 1936. She received her BA in 1958 from Brown University, where she also met her husband, Artemis Joukowsky. The two were married in 1956 and together raised three children. In 1972, Martha received her MA in archaeology from the American University of Beirut, and in 1982 she received her PhD from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. For her dissertation, Martha wrote about the prehistory of Western Anatolia. Her work was published in 1996 as the two-volume Prehistoric Aphrodisias.  

From 1982 until her retirement in 2002, Martha was a Professor of Old World Archaeology and Art and of Anthropology at Brown University. In 1985, Brown University awarded her an honorary doctorate. During this time, Martha conducted fieldwork in Turkey, Italy, Greece, and Jordan. As part of her work in Jordan, she discovered and excavated the Great Temple at Petra. Martha trained generations of students in the field of archaeology, both as a member of the Petra Project and as a professor at Brown.

Martha served as President of the AIA from 1989 to 1993. She had a vivacious personality and was an active and engaged leader who was highly respected and devoted a huge amount of time to the AIA. Martha had great foresight and believed strongly in the broad mission of the AIA. She founded the Near East Archaeology Committee (now the Near East Interest Group) several years before she became president. She also served as the committee’s first chair. Martha maintained a very active fieldwork program, notably at Petra, throughout her presidency, a major achievement considering her work on behalf of the AIA. She and her late husband Artemis, who passed in 2020 were extremely generous and steadfast benefactors of the AIA.

In 1993, the AIA’s President’s Lectureship was renamed the Martha Sharp Joukowsky Lectureship, and in 1998 the lectureship was subsequently increased to support two Joukowsky lecturers each year. In 1997, the AIA’s Distinguished Service Award was renamed the Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service award in their honor; this award recognizes AIA members who have furthered the work of the Institute. The next year, Martha and Artemis helped lead the National Lecture Endowment Campaign to raise funds to support endowments for AIA Local Societies that did not have endowed lecture campaigns at the time. Martha was also awarded the Bandelier Award at the AIA’s 2nd Annual Gala in 2010.

The field of archaeology and the AIA are indebted to Martha Sharp Joukowsky. She will be deeply missed.

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