W. David Kingery— 1996 Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology

Award Citation:

The Archaeological Institute of America is proud to present the 16th Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology to W. David Kingery, Regents Professor of Anthropology and of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona The award is made in recognition of his pathbreaking studies in the history of ceramics and his notable contributions as a writer and an editor to our understanding of technological innovation and the social context of technology in the past.

Dr. Kingery received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949 and rapidly became the leading figure in the development of high-performance ceramics for modern technology. His interest in past technologies was kindled by his distinguished M.I.T. colleague Cyril Stanley Smith (the recipient of the 1982 Pomerance Award), and no one has done more to expand upon Smith's crucial insight that many major technological advances were initially developed to satisfy aesthetic desires rather than economic need. Dr. Kingery and the British archaeometrist Michael Tite, working independently, were largely responsible for applying electron microscopy to the study of ancient ceramics, plasters, refractories, glasses, and glazes. His work has transformed our understanding of the origins of pyrotechnology in the Neolithic period in the Near East, while his many articles and his book, Ceramic Masterpieces (1986; co-authored with his former student Pamela Vandiver), have enhanced our understanding of, and pleasure in, the fine ceramics of Classical Greece, China, and the European Renaissance.

Dr. Kingery has also shaped the study of ancient technology through his role as an organizer of many conferences and as an editor of numerous books. He has edited six volumes to date in the series Ceramics and Civilization, published by the American Ceramic Society. He has also brought together scholars from many fields to share their ideas on the social interpretation of material objects and landscapes. These conferences resulted in the volumes History from Things (1993; co-edited with Steven Lobar) and Learning from Things (1996).

Professor Kingery's accomplishments have enriched archaeology, art history, and the history of technology, and have profound implications for our understanding of the role of technology, technological innovation, and technology transfer in past societies. In recognition of his many contributions to archaeology, and in celebration of his 70th birthday, we take pleasure in bestowing upon W. David Kingery the 1996 Pomerance Award.

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