J. Lawrence Angel— 1983 Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology
Known as the "Bone Man" in forensic and archaeological circles alike, J. Lawrence Angel has single-handedly written the story of social biology in the Mediterranean area. After many years of study of human skeletal remains from such diverse areas as the U.S., Kenya, Iran, Slovenia, Poland, France, with special concentration on remains excavated at key sites in Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus, he has now pulled his observations together in masterly syntheses of the demography, health and pathology of the populations of the Eastern Mediterranean from the Palaeolithic to the present.
From careful study of bones and their deformations, J. Lawrence Angel has proceeded beyond the determination of age, sex and cause of death to a searching study of disease and occupational and nutritional stresses to recreate the living conditions of the society. His analysis of porotic hyperostosis, an overgrowth of the spongy marrow space of the skull, and its relation to the spread and extent of malaria has brilliantly enriched our knowledge of this crucial health factor in the Classical world. His compilations of statistics on longevity, fertility, juvenile death rate, stature and tooth-decay have enabled him to show significant trends in the fragile relationship of man with his environment. Through his study and publication of the physical remains of leaders and common men in ancient Mycenae, Troy, Lerna, Athens, Karatas and Khirokitia he has proved his own dictum of 1943: "Studies in Physical Anthropology cannot omit the historical and social background of the people or skeletons examined.”
J. Lawrence Angel's participation in any excavation is a great boon because of his curiosity, energy, willingness to share and explore ideas, his sense of humor, his singing and his many helpful contributions in all areas of biology. In all these endeavors his wife Margaret is a most significant co-worker. His devotion to his students, sincerity in all dealings with colleagues, enthusiasm for his field, enormous capacity for work and publication, all coupled with his courageous and original contributions to our knowledge of the ancient world, make J. Lawrence Angel a most fitting recipient of this award.