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14456Re: [ANE-2] Prof. James Mellaart- In Memoriam

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  • Joe Zias
    Aug 29, 2012
      Without  a shadow of doubt Mellaart  deserves praise for his work at Catal Huyuk which is why I felt that his passing which seems to have gone unnoticed by
      many, should be noticed. He was well on his way to becoming one of the most important archaeologists of the 20Th century. However for those who followed his post 1962 career there were problems which made it difficult for Westerners to gain access to working in Turkey for a while. Along with Mellaarts deeds there was also a very well known American professor from one of the leading Theological Seminaries also held for smuggling antiquities who was held by local authorities until the East Coast university quietly bailed him out and tried to hush things up. There will be more on this  incident in the near future as it made difficult for westerners to work there.
      I, in fact, had been asked to serve as an anthropologist for a 30 day survey on horseback  in the Lake Van area, an area seldom visited by outsiders and it suddenly was cancelled for unclear reasons which may have been directly related to their activities. 

       There are many parallels here today between the demise of Mellaart and  biblical scholars, from a handful of American universities posing as archaeologists, connected one way or another with dealers, collectors, including  'deals' with the haredim which have been the nemesis of archaeology for over 4 decades. When the haredim are now working closely together with film crews, giving  them 'cover'  one has to ask

      what has changed in the last 30 years which convinced the haredim to suddenly  provide  'cover'  with 'wanna be archaeologists'?  Was it the Jesus Family story, did the haredim now wish to prove Christianity, or is there more behind the change of heart which in time will emerge.
      For us directly involved there is a sense of deja vu here, Mellaart in Turkey and a handful of Westerners in Talpiot. It will end bad for all, however in today's 'biblical archaeology', time moves more slowly. 
       Joe Zias www.joezias.com

      Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
      Jerusalem, Israel

      --- On Mon, 8/27/12, David Hall <dqhall59@...> wrote:

      From: David Hall <dqhall59@...>
      Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Prof. James Mellaart- In Memoriam
      To: "ANE-2@yahoogroups.com" <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      Date: Monday, August 27, 2012, 8:51 PM


      I respect your contributions to the science of archaeology, your work in the Rockefeller Museum, and numerous posts to ANE-2.  I think Melaart deserves some praise. 
      He studied proto-urban Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in Asia Minor.  I have read some of his publications in a research library and can remember his documentation of the transition between gathering wild species of wheat to the domestication of wheat during Neolithic times.  He was a scientist accused of being involved with antiquity looters.  Most of his publication was from his own diggings and in depth research.  The publications I read did not rely on faked or stolen antiquities.
      David Q. Hall

      From: Joe Zias <joezias@...>
      To: ANE II list <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, August 26, 2012 3:41 PM
      Subject: [ANE-2] Prof. James Mellaart- In Memoriam


      One of the most important archaeologists in the 60's,  Prof. James Mellaart, who excavated Catal Huyuk in Turkey, passed on without much notice almost a month ago. His excavations beginning in 1958, running four years changed the way in which urbanization was viewed. Unfortunately, like a handful of archaeologists, biblical scholars, 'arkologists' today, he became enamored with fame and fortune, scandals, highly questionable stories and  when challenged by his colleagues soon fell into scholarly oblivion . 
       Today those events
      which marked his  career  have overtaken
      what he had accomplished in those four years of excavating in
      Turkey.  What I find interesting here is  that the Turks eventually decided he was persona non gratis for his questionable academic behavior whereas here in Israel similar individuals excavated on and off for years by having colleagues secure them licenses.  At least he was a trained archaeologist. There's a lesson here. May he rest in peace.
      Joe Zias

      Joe Zias http://www.joezias.com/

      Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
      Jerusalem, Israel

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