Mellink Archive (Bryn Mawr College)
Bryn Mawr College has contributed approximately 3,900 images from the Mellink Archive to the Artstor Digital Library. The selection highlights archaeological sites in Turkey, many of which were excavated by the scholar/photographer Mellink. Sites in Greece, Cyprus, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, dating from Prehistoric through Medieval periods are also represented.
Machteld Johanna Mellink (1917–2006) was a pioneer of Anatolian archaeology and a pre-eminent scholar of ancient Turkish cultures. For nearly three decades, she served as chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. Born in the Netherlands, Mellink came to Bryn Mawr in 1946 as a postdoctoral fellow, before beginning to teach at the College in 1949. She would continue to teach Aegean, Classical, and Near Eastern archaeology at Bryn Mawr for four decades, until her retirement in 1988. Under Mellink’s leadership as chair from 1955–1983, the Department expanded its faculty, course offerings, and fieldwork programs. As a scholar, Mellink participated in new excavations throughout Turkey, establishing her reputation as a leader in the field. From 1947–1949, she excavated at Tarsus in Cicilia, and from 1950–1965, she worked at Gordion, the capital of ancient Phrygia. However, Mellink is best known for her work at Karatas-Semayük, on the Elmali plain in Lycia. Before Mellink discovered this Early Bronze Age settlement in 1963, no archaeological work had been done in the area. In 1969, her fieldwork at Kizilbel and Karaburun near Elmali led to the discovery of important tombs decorated with Archaic wall paintings, dating from the late 6th through early 5th century CE. Unfortunately, these spectacular finds attracted looters. As a result, Mellink became an outspoken critic of the illicit traffic in antiquities, bringing international attention to the loss of Turkey’s cultural heritage through looting and illegal export. Mellink bequeathed her personal archive of slides to Bryn Mawr College, where it is now housed in her former department.
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