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1995-1996 index

Distributed December 12, 1995
Contact: Linda Mahdesian

Ross Holloway to receive Gold Medal from Archaeological Institute

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- R. Ross Holloway, the Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor of Archaeology at Brown University and director of the University's Center for Old World Archaeology and Art, will receive the Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement from the Archaeological Institute of America at the AIA's 97th Annual Meeting, Dec. 29, in San Diego. The Gold Medal is the highest honor given by the AIA. It recognizes outstanding achievement in publications, teaching and field work.

Through his excavations, Holloway has revolutionized Italian prehistory. He discovered the earliest securely dated metal objects from the Italian peninsula south of the Alps and the only stone sculpture known in Italy or Sicily during a 1,000-year span of the Bronze Age. In 1969, working at Buccino in southern Italy in collaboration with the Italian Superintendency of Antiquities for Salerno, Holloway excavated four blades from tombs dating to the dawn of the Italian Bronze Age, shortly after 3,000 B.C. The 150 burials from the cemetery remain the largest sample of a human population in south-central Italy of this period. The bronze weapons, analyzed by Donald Avery of the Division of Engineering at Brown, are made of an alloy of copper and arsenic rather than the usual copper hardened with tin, placing them technologically at the beginning of European metallurgy.

Carbon 14 dates obtained by Holloway at Buccino (1967-74) and La Muculufa (1982-87) pushed back the beginning of the Early Bronze Age in Italy and Sicily at least 500 years. His work at Buccino revealed the earliest dated bronze weapons from the Italian peninsula. His book, Italy and the Aegean: 3000-700 B.C., published in 1981, has proven to be a prophetic guide to the rethinking of this field.

Holloway's recent excavations on the island of Ustica have uncovered what may be the best preserved Middle Bronze Age town of the region and the first stone sculpture of the area, attributed to the second millennium B.C. In 1991, directing excavations at Ustica, Holloway and his associate, Susan Lukesh of Hofstra University, unearthed a stone figure, once about 20 inches high, representing a goddess with upraised arms and dating between 1500 and 1200 B.C. No other stone statuary is known in Italy or Sicily between 2000 and 1000 B.C. Ustica is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, 40 miles north of Palermo.

As a numismatist, Holloway has written the history of the bronze coinage of Syracuse down to 211 B.C., in a long series of articles and a major monograph (The Thirteen-Months Coinage of Hieronymos of Syracuse) published over a quarter century. He was the first scholar to enunciate the importance of the numismatic evidence from Morgantina for the dating of the Roman denarius. He has written, with new suggestions, on Art and Coinage in Magna Graecia and has co-authored a study of the coinage of Terina, published many articles in the Syracuse Museum's Ripostigli del Museo Archeologico di Siracusa, and is one of the original authors of the Morgantina coin volume.

Holloway joined the Brown faculty in 1964. He was educated at the Roxbury Latin School and Amherst College, and did graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1960. He is the author or co-author of 14 books and monographs and author of some 140 articles and reviews. He served as president of the International Center for Numismatic Studies in Naples, Italy, between 1980 and 1986. He is an honorary member of the Royal Belgian Numismatic Society, a corresponding member of the German Archaeological Institute, and a fellow of the American Academy in Rome, the American Numismatic Society and the Royal Numismatic Society in London. He was the first foreign member elected to the Italian Institute of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Studies.

In 1978, Holloway and his faculty colleague Rolf Winkes founded the Center for Old World Archaeology and Art at Brown. The Center is noteworthy for its active graduate and undergraduate programs and its publication series (Archaeologia Transatlantica) published jointly with the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Excavations in Greece, Jordan as well as in Italy have been promoted under its auspices.

Established in 1879 and incorporated in 1906, the Archaeological Institute of America is the oldest and largest archaeological organization in North America, with approximately 10,000 members worldwide. The organization has its headquarters in Boston, Mass.