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From the President: And the Winner is... Volume 56 Number 2, March/April 2003
by Jane C. Waldbaum

Annual AIA Awards

Each year, members of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) honor those whose contributions to the field of archaeology, through their research, teaching, or service to the discipline or to the interested public, have been exceptional. I am delighted to announce the winners of this year's awards. The Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, the AIA's most prestigious award, honors outstanding fieldwork, publications, or teaching. This year's medallist, Philip P. Betancourt, excels in all three.

Betancourt is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Temple University, where he has taught since 1970, and executive director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory. His fieldwork has concentrated on Minoan Crete, including the sites of Kommos, Pseira, Chrysokamino, Hagia Photia, and Hagios Charalambos. He has produced over one hundred important publications, primarily on Aegean Bronze Age archaeology, and including prompt reports on his excavations. A dedicated teacher both in the classroom and in the field, Betancourt, as the official citation says, "gets things done."

A pioneer in the field of dendrochronology, or tree-ring analysis, Peter Kuniholm received the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology. Director of the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell University, Kuniholm has gathered over ten million tree-ring measurements and compiled a 9,000-year-long chronology for the eastern Mediterranean, from the Caucasus to Italy and from Lebanon to the Balkans. In one typical summer's work, he and his students drove 8,700 miles and obtained 395 sets of samples from 43 sites in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. "The archaeologist Leonard Woolley," recalls Kuniholm, "said that the past is like a railroad without a timetable. My job is to build a timetable." Tree rings, he adds, can do that with "absolutely deadly precision."

The James R. Wiseman Book Award winner is Cyprian Broodbank's An Island Archaeology of the Early Cyclades (Cambridge University Press, 2001), which combines archaeological, environmental, and geographic data in innovative ways. Having sailed these shores, Broodbank has a real sense of place and brings that immediacy to his lucid analyses of the place of the Cycladic Islands in the wider Aegean world.

The AIA's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award went to David Warren McCreery, a specialist in Near Eastern archaeology at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. In the field, in the lab, and in the classroom, McCreery is praised for his "innovative teaching methods" and for "stimulating students to think in new ways."

Three awards recognize service to the profession and to the public: the Outstanding Public Service Award, given to Lyndell Prott, former director of UNESCO's Division of Cultural Heritage, commends her tireless work on behalf of the protection of world archaeological and cultural heritage. Gertrude Howland, recipient of the Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award, has given many years of dedicated service to the AIA's governing board and to her local societies, and at 92 she is still actively involved in the Institute! Finally, the AIA-Orange County Society won the Outstanding Local Society Prize for the exceptional programs they offer their members and the general public.

The breadth and range of this year's award recipients amply reflect the AIA's mission to promote excellence in the field of archaeology. Congratulations to them all.

previousPresident's Letter
J/F 2003
President's Letter
M/J 2003

Jane C. Waldbaum is the president of the Archaeological Institute of America.

© 2003 by the Archaeological Institute of America