Marie Farnsworth— 1980 Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology

Award Citation:

Marie Farnsworth is a pioneer who applied her training in the physical sciences to archaeological problems long before science and archaeology were as well married as they are today. By the range of her interests, by the exactitude of her work, and by close collaboration with field archaeologists, she has helped to define archaeological science and is an exemplar for younger practitioners of the craft.

Her first direct association with archaeology was her appointment as research chemist at the Fogg Art Museum, followed by two years as chemist for the Agora Excavations. Although she spent the next twenty-one years in industry, her commitment to archaeology continued and grew, and after retirement, she has carried on her archaeological work at Columbia University and at the University of Missouri.

Marie Farnsworth's first archaeological publication appeared forty-two years ago and dealt with the spectroscopic study of glass, with special reference to cobalt content. Since then she has given us the results of her work on such diverse subjects as the cleaning of bronze, the metallographic examination of ancient zinc from Athens, the analysis of Corinthian pigments, including the first identification of Hellenistic pink as rose madder, and the composition of an Athenian cement of beeswax and lime.

Her central achievement, which represents her greatest love, lies in the continuing study of Greek pottery. Two pinnacles of this long and fruitful labor are her studies of the techniques of black Attic glaze (1941) and of fifth-century intentional red glaze (1958). Both are models of methodological rigor.

Her most recent study, published in 1977 with Perlman and Asaro, deals with the clay sources of Corinthian ware and establishes, for the first time, that some of the ware found in the Corinthian colony on Corfu, in spite of its close stylistic resemblance to the pottery of Corinth, was in fact manufactured on the island.

Those who have worked with Marie Farnsworth know of her generosity in putting her vast knowledge and her valuable time at the disposal of all who seek her help. Her kindness and her modesty, her devotion and her energy, all exemplify unassuming strength of mind and character.

To Marie Farnsworth, one of the founders and one of the most distinguished practitioners of archaeological chemistry, the Archaeological Institute of America gratefully presents the first Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology.

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