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Crawford Hallock Greenewalt


Crawford Hallock Greenewalt, Jr.

Professor of Classics and Classical Archaeology, Emeritus

UC Berkeley



Crawford Hallock Greenewalt, Jr., died on May 4, 2012, at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Nancy G. and William H. Frederick, Jr., near Wilmington, Delaware. Professor Emeritus of Classics and Classical Archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley, he was also Director Emeritus of the Archaeological Exploration of Sardis (Turkey).


The son of Crawford H. Greenewalt and Margaretta L. Greenewalt, “Greenie” (as he preferred to be called) was born on June 3, 1937, in Wilmington, Delaware. He was educated at Tower Hill School, Wilmington, Delaware; Harvard College (B.A., 1959); and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D., 1966). He became interested in the ancient world at the age of eight, and his passion for it never wavered. He excavated for more than half a century at the vast archaeological site of Sardis in western Turkey, whose last king, Croesus (d. 547 B.C.E.), remains proverbial for his wealth. He first came to Sardis as photographer in 1959, just after graduating from Harvard, and returned there every summer thereafter, first as an excavation staff member and then, from 1976-2007, as site director. He also excavated at Gordion in Turkey under his dissertation supervisor, Rodney Young, and with the famed Turkish archaeologist Ekrem Akurgal at Çandarl (Pitane) and Bayrakl (Old Smyrna), but he always returned to Sardis.


In 1966 he began his teaching career in Classics at Berkeley, where he remained until he retired in 2010. He served the Classics Department in a number of key positions; was co-curator of Mediterranean Archaeology at Berkeley’s Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology; and was a founder, core faculty member, and staunch supporter of the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology (AHMA), serving several times as its graduate adviser and acting Chair.


“Greenie” was instrumental in forging good relations between Classics and other departments, especially Near Eastern Studies, Anthropology, and History of Art, and contributed in many other ways to the intellectual lives of Berkeley students both inside and outside the classroom. He was famous for his generosity with his time and resources, such as his impressive slide collection and the books from his extensive personal library. The numerous doctoral dissertations written under his direction ranged from Lydian burial customs to Hellenistic royal building patronage, and several of their authors now hold tenured faculty positions at prestigious American universities. He was fluent in Turkish, and his generous sponsorship of Turkish students was recognized both by his Turkish colleagues and their government. At Sardis former directors had forbade women to supervise the excavations, but Greenewalt arranged for women to participate as supervisors. He was renowned for the support and encouragement he gave all his students regardless of gender.


In the words of the editor’s preface to Love for Lydia: A Sardis Anniversary Volume presented to him on his 70th birthday: “His hospitality is legendary, both in Turkey and in the United States. He is extraordinarily generous, particularly to younger colleagues, sharing his knowledge, giving out the responsibility and privilege of studying and publishing important materials even to archaeologists early in their academic careers, and guiding them carefully in their research. He brings an open mind to all situations, never forcing his own (usually superior) knowledge on others, but listening to the ideas of even the greenest undergraduate with the same seriousness he would give to a distinguished scholar. His collegiality, deep respect for everyone around him, and willingness to learn from them has infused the lives of all his students and colleagues, and has brought out the best in them. He has instilled this respect especially among all who have worked at Sardis, making each excavation season a pleasure and a life-changing experience. Finally and most essentially, Greenie sets an example of deep integrity and honesty that most of us can only emulate.”


His publications include almost one hundred articles and essays, primarily about the archaeology of Lydia, and particularly on Lydian and East Greek pottery. His pottery studies focused not only on traditional stylistic analysis and attribution, but also on the functions of the vessels, their stratigraphic and contextual analysis, and their technology. His publications and expertise ranged far beyond this, however, from Lydian textiles and other aspects of the kingdom’s material culture, to ritual practices such as “puppy dinners” consisting of a knife, plate, cup, jug, cooking pot, and the bones of a tiny puppy, Lydian arms and armor, Sardis under Persian rule, and the woes of the common soldier in the army of Croesus. His many learned preliminary reports and other articles on the results of his excavations at Sardis, in the Bulletin and Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the American Journal of Archaeology, the Türk Arkeoloji Dergesi, and other journals, are models of clarity and rigorous research.


At Sardis, while still a graduate student he excavated some of the site’s most important monuments, including the Pyramid Tomb, the Acropolis Tunnels, the Lydian terrace walls at Acropolis North, the Lydian and Byzantine walls on the summit of the Acropolis, the Lydian buildings at Northeast Wadi, and the huge, perhaps royal, tumulus of Karnyark Tepe at Bin Tepe. From 1976 to 2007, as field director, he guided the excavations and research in many different directions, while holding to the Lydian focus that remains the core mission of the excavations. He undertook a series of innovative archaeological projects, such as the Urban Survey project, an early example of this technique in classical archaeology, and a related series of regional surveys and studies of this huge site’s geomorphology and landscape history. He conceived and initiated the reconstruction of the roof and decorative terracotta revetments of a Lydian building using local clay sources and slips: a pioneering venture in experimental archaeology. He commissioned an extensive series of maps of the site and its region, making Sardis one of the best-mapped sites in the Mediterranean. And last but definitely not least, he directed a wide-reaching and productive series of excavations throughout the site, transforming the archaeological world’s understanding of all phases of Lydian culture, history, and topography. In every undertaking he led by example, fostering a standard of scholarship, dedication, and community that will be hard to match.


This pioneering archaeological work and meticulous, wide-ranging scholarship earned him corresponding memberships in the German and Austrian Archaeological Institutes; membership in the American Philosophical Society; and the latter’s Henry Allen More Prize in the Humanities, awarded for his paper “When A Mighty Empire Was Destroyed” and for his key role in reconstructing the history of the Lydian kingdom. In 2010, upon his retirement, these achievements in fieldwork, research, publication, teaching, service, and outreach were recognized by the award of the campus’s highest honor, the Berkeley Citation, and on April 25, 2012, a scant two weeks before his death, the Archaeological Institute of America honored him in absentia at a gala event in New York with its Bandelier Award for Public Service to Archaeology for his exemplary archaeological work in Turkey.


“Greenie” kept everything, and the crush in his tiny office in Dwinelle Hall was truly awesome: an archivist’s nightmare and an archaeologist’s paradise. (His house, though, was immaculate: personally frugal, he lived simply near campus, owned no car, and walked everywhere, even to the supermarket and laundromat). His many extra-curricular interests included opera (he was a lifetime subscriber to the San Francisco Opera), classical music, Broadway musicals, the theater, Ottoman history, and modern Greek studies. Holidays were always spent in Delaware with his family and friends. As a lifelong bachelor his relationship with his nieces and nephews and their spouses and families was one of great warmth and affection.


His brother David Greenewalt predeceased him in 2003. His sister, Nancy G. Frederick, and ten nieces and nephews survive him.



Andrew Stewart

Nicholas C. Petris