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Each year at its annual winter meeting, the Archaeological Institute of America observes a moment of silence in honor of members who have died during the prior year. It stands as a moving tribute to individual achievement and as a reminder of our collective identity as an organization devoted to archaeology. I would like to remember just a few of these individuals here. As you will see, people come to archaeology from many quarters and contribute to it in many ways.

William Lawrence “Larry” Lehman III (1950–2011), a longtime member and president of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Society, exemplified the volunteer spirit that infuses our AIA societies. He taught history and logistics management at Richland College in Dallas, and in its Rome Study Abroad program. Lehman, who was also a business consultant, first became interested in archaeology when he enrolled in a summer course at the field school run by Greg Warden, at the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, near Florence. Thereafter, from 2002 to 2007, Lehman brought his considerable talents to the position of operations manager for the site.

Frederick A. Cooper (1936–2011), a member of the Minneapolis Society, taught at the University of Minnesota for most of his academic career. An inspiring professor beloved by his many students, he was awarded the AIA’s first Undergraduate Teaching Award in 1996. Although best known for his work on the Temple of Apollo at Bassae in Greece, a study to which he devoted more than 20 years, he also wrote on such decidedly non- Greek and nonarchitectural topics as Duccio’s iconic painting, the Maestà. In his many field projects in Greece—among them the Bronze-Age Palace of Nestor at Pylos, and the Heroon at Messene—Cooper combined a broad knowledge of antiquity with deep technical expertise in surveying.

The death of Lewis Binford (1931–2011) in April made national headlines. Father of the “new archaeology,” Binford moved the discipline beyond a narrow focus on collecting and cataloguing artifacts by applying the scientific method to the study of the human past. He is also known for using anthropological theory to solve archaeological problems. His pioneering study of caribou hunting among Alaskan Eskimos, and what it tells us about ancient hunters, constituted a new approach, which we now call ethnoarchaeology. In his later years, in order to understand how cultures might be shaped by factors such as climate change, Binford constructed a database using information from more than 300 traditional cultures.

Dedication, passion, and innovation defined the lives of these different individuals. For each of them, archaeology was a central concern, and each responded to the discipline in his own way. Together, their lives exemplify the breadth of archaeology and the many ways in which it touches people’s lives.

Elizabeth Bartman is the president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

« President's Letter J/F 2012

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