February 13, 2023
The Archaeological Institute of America is proud to award the 2024 Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement to John McK. Camp II.
Professor Camp has had an extraordinary impact on the field of Greek archaeology. His nine books on the Athenian Agora, Athens, and Greek archaeology more broadly, as well as the five Agora Picture Books he has authored or co-authored, have seen multiple editions and been translated into seven different languages. As his nominator comments, “He has made Agora material, and Athens generally, accessible to scholars, students and the general public with his now-classics The Athenian Agora and The Archaeology of Athens which in fact are deeply scholarly books in disguise as reader-friendly syntheses.” Indeed, these works remain essential on the shelves of the interested public, faculty, and students alike. His clear and concise writing, always presenting complex material and lucid interpretations with compelling explanation and support, stands as a model for students even as it provides detailed understanding of archaeological developments in Athens. In his capacity as Director of the Agora Excavations he has made an enormous contribution, including not only running this enormous excavation and curating its finds but also engaging experts in an enormous variety of fields to study the material, moving its publication through in a timely manner. Of a different nature, and demonstrating the breadth of his own scholarly work, are his research articles: fully 54 of them, on topics ranging from waterworks in Athens — indeed he spearheaded the study of such subjects as drought, famine, and climate change — through particular artifacts such as a water clock from the Agora or a Lesbian spear butt, individual structures like the Agora mint (and Athenian coinage) as well as massive architectural monuments including the fortifications of Boeotia, to inscriptions and erudite investigations of knotty historical issues such as the relations between Alcmaeonidae and Peisistratidae in the Archaic period. And he has contributed time and expertise to numerous museum exhibits as well, including an exhibition of Edward Dodwell’s watercolors that traveled to the British Museum and the Getty. As one of his co-authors on the exhibition catalogue comments, “John is a collaborative scholar, encouraging and leading others, and this volume highlights that role.”
Professor Camp’s contribution to the field includes an unparalleled teaching record. As one letter-writer comments, “Even though he does not teach graduate students at Randolph Macon College, Prof. Camp can claim credit for a legion of official and unofficial advisees.” He has taught many undergraduates in his own classroom, but his teaching in the field has reached thousands of students of all ages. As Mellon Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens he trained hundreds of graduate students in the skills they would need for their research and future teaching, as well as sharing with them his remarkable knowledge of and delight in Greece both ancient and modern. During his time as Director of Excavations at the Athenian Agora he continued involving students intensively in fieldwork and archaeological study and interpretation, and he devoted himself to increasing the diversity of those students. One letter-writer sums up: “He has helped shape the present and future state of the discipline through his extraordinary contributions to the management of archaeological data, teaching, mentoring, and outreach.” His teaching and outreach continue now through a very active schedule of lecturing and collaborative work around the world.
For all of these reasons, he has richly earned the highest honor the AIA can bestow, the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.
Professor Camp will be honored at the Awards Ceremony at the 2024 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL. There will also be a Gold Medal colloquium in his honor.