Archaeologist James Mellaart working to carefully uncover a wall-painting, from under layers of later white washed pigment, at Catal Huyuk circa 1963
James Mellaart, my friend and tutor on all things Neolithic and Bronze Age, passed from this planet the other day.
Mellaart has been called many things, by many people -- most of who never read a book or article he wrote or, even more, never had the opportunity to sit down with the man and fathom his vast and encyclopedic knowledge.
'Tis truly a shame Jimmy, as he liked to be called by his friends, was the type of man who was unable to put ambition behind his career, and while he surely made some errors of judgement those errors pale in comparison to the totally undeserved reputation he unfortunately suffered.
RK surely knows alot about Mellaart, his critics and how ignorance and, yes, jealousy can destroy fact and someone's reputation.
RK knows this first hand.
So while RK could easily write many paragraphs about Jimmy, his outstanding archaeological discoveries, his publications and our friendship we are not going down that path.
We are already well on record as both a fervent Mellaart supporter and defender.
We would, however, like to end this short tribute to Jimmy with the following observation: We met James Mellaart in his office at the London School of Archaeology in Gordon Square in 1981 hoping to discuss ancient Egyptian iconography.
We soon learned Mellaart was not an Egyptologist but rather an early Bronze Age and Neolithic scholar specializing on the Near East.
This meeting galvanized RK's understanding of how to research the Anatolian Kelim and our collection, which was the reason we had sought to meet Mellaart.
Over the next months, and years, our meetings with this remarkable man assisted our research, opened up new avenues and, most importantly, provided much enjoyment and great camaraderie -- Mellaart was quite the raconteur and he had a boatload of stories to tell!
RK will miss Jimmy...