Friday, July 02, 2021

James Mellaart

I had never heard of him until listening to an archaeology podcast today, in which James Mellaart was mentioned in passing, with much humor.  He was a legitimate and important archaeologist specialising in Anatolia.  He also fabricated artefacts and then "discovered" them, and made up stories about what he had seen and the sources for his knowledge.  That's right, he just made stuff up, and in the 1960's the Turkish government banned him from doing research there. He had help from his Turkish wife in the forging. As is usually the case, it started small and then got completely out of hand.  He was eventually described as living in a fantasy world.

Note:  The first link goes to "Luwian Studies," an interesting site in itself. Luwian is one of the sister languages to Hittite in Anatolia and is such is either the first or one of the first to split off from Indo-European in the North Caucasus, then migrating counter-clockwise around the Black Sea down into Anatolia.

The podcast also mentioned that the artist Tracey Emin became very impressed with a megalith nearby and married it.  One of the presenters wanted to pursue this and find out what she was thinking, but the other waved him off, saying "You don't want to know anything about why she did this.  She's as mad a box of squirrels," which I thought a useful phrase to pass on to the rest of you.

1 comment:

james said...

I was curious about Emin and looked her up, and it seems I've heard of her before. The description seems apt. It also fits the Tate, and the Turner Prize people, and apparently a host of others. One hopeful detail was in the "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995" (not just had sex with): she included her two aborted children--recognizing them as people too.