Machteld J. Mellink— 1991 Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement
Machteld Johanna Mellink, archaeologist, educator, administrator, author, editor, "Dean" of American excavators in Turkey, preeminent scholar of Anatolian cultures, tireless defender of "the Record of the Past" and of ethics in archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America is proud to confer upon you its highest award.
Born in the Netherlands, where she received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Utrecht in 1943, and long associated with the United States, which she first visited in 1946 as Marion Reilly Fellow of the International Federation of University Women at Bryn Mawr College, Machteld Mellink transcends national classifications for her wide-ranging activity and reputation in international circles. Her primary sphere of fieldwork has been in Turkey, for which she has an abiding love—from her earliest experiences at Tarsus, under the direction of the Archaeological Institute of America's first Gold-Medalist Hetty Goldman (1947-1949); through participation in the excavation of the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania at Gordion (1950-1965, continuing to the present as publication advisor); through her own campaigns at a prehistoric site near Elmali for Bryn Mawr College (1963-1970 with study, restoration, and publication continuing to the present); and currently as advisor to the reopened excavations at Troy conducted jointly by the University of Cincinnati and the University of Tübingen, Germany. Yet Machteld Mellink is equally at home in Greece, and her archaeological travels have taken her not only throughout the Mediterranean basin, but also to the Soviet Union and China, as distinguished guest and as representative of the Archaeological Institute of America. A polyglot fluent in a remarkable number of languages, she is also a Classicist who reads Homer for personal pleasure and has a deep understanding of Classical culture.
Machteld Mellink’s achievements as an archaeologist have been recognized by many institutions of higher learning, in this country and abroad. She has been elected a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the German Archaeological Institute. She is also a Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Archaeological Institute, as well as a Life Member of the Archaeological Institute of America. She has received two honorary degrees: an LL.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania on the occasion of the University Museum Centennial Celebration (1987), and an Honorary Doctorate of History from the University of Eskisehir, Turkey (1990). Machteld Mellink has been a regular participant at the Annual Symposium of Excavations in Turkey, and her contribution to Turkish archaeology was acknowledged, in 1984, through the award of a plaque from the Turkish Ministry of Culture as the Senior American Excavator, and, in 1985, by another as the Senior Foreign Archaeologist in Turkey. Although the Elmali excavation is of primary importance for Anatolian prehistory, mention should also be made of the two remarkable painted tombs near Elmali of the late sixth and early fifth centuries B.C. that Machteld Mellink has painstakingly excavated, studied, and restored.
As an educator, Machteld Mellink is primarily associated with Bryn Mawr College, where in 1949 she began teaching in the Archaeology Department, which she chaired for an unprecedented 28 years (1955-1983), through the repeated vote of her colleagues. Thanks to her initiative, the archaeology program at Bryn Mawr was expanded in 1959-60 to include the Near Eastern sphere, and she has since trained many scholars, both American and foreign, in the cultures of Anatolia and other Near Eastern countries. In 1972 Machteld Mellink received the Leslie Clark Chair in the Humanities, which she relinquished on the occasion of her retirement in May 1988, to become, however, Professor Emerita of Bryn Mawr College; yet her instruction has not been confined to one institution but has extended across this country and abroad. Throughout her years of teaching, she has made generations of devoted students, both graduates and undergraduates, rise to ever greater challenges with her uncanny ability to obtain the best from anyone, including her colleagues. Her inspiration has informed the research of many, and her aptly phrased questions have always been able to open new avenues of approach and new vistas in investigation of old problems. She continues in this role for former students, colleagues and other scholars alike.
Machteld Mellink is the author of several books and numerous papers articles and book reviews in America and foreign publications. She is, however, perhaps best known for her yearly reports on "Archaeology in Anatolia,” written for the American Journal of Archaeology since 1955, not simply as a distillation of field reports contributed by the various excavation directors but as a masterly overview of archaeological developments and theoretical studies on the cultures of ancient Anatolia. Equally significant is her contribution to Chronologies in Old World Archaeology, updated through several editions but containing from the first, judicious, if personal, assessment of dates now confirmed by further excavation. A bibliography of her writings up to 1984 has appeared in the volume of essays in her honor, Ancient Anatolia (Madison 1986), but many more contributions have been published since. She has been the organizer of major symposia, several of which have resulted in important monographs, and has been often invited to speak in distinguished series such as the Carl Newell Jack Lectures for Harvard University (1984).
Finally, Machteld Mellink is an administrator of great skill and consummate diplomacy. She served for two terms (1980-84), with distinction, as President of the Archaeological Institute of America, having previously been its Vice-President. She has for several years occupied a similar position with the American Research Institute in Turkey, first as Vice-President and now as President. In both these roles, she has given unstintingly of her time and wisdom, and her tenures have been informed throughout by her love of archaeology and her high standards of scholarship and professional integrity.
Machteld Mellink— in recognition of your leadership, your stance on the ethics of the field your service to the profession and to the scholarly world, the Archaeological Institute of America confers upon you its Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.