A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
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