Keith Devries, Mediterranean Section Kepership is Endowed at Penn Museum

27 JUNE 2008, Philadelphia, PA—Dr. Richard Hodges, Williams Director, Penn Museum, is pleased to announce a gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor to endow the Mediterranean Section Keepership in memory of Dr. Keith DeVries, longtime associate curator of the Museum’s Mediterranean section and associate professor of Classical Studies at Penn.

Like most major geographical “sections” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the Mediterranean Section has a “Keeper”—a full time staff person responsible for the care of and access to the 34,000 artifacts in Penn Museum’s ancient Mediterranean section collections. Lynn C. Makowsky, the section’s Keeper since 2000, is the Museum’s first Keith Devries Keeper. Ms. Makowsky holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. For the past six seasons, she has been part of the staff at the joint Penn Museum/Southern Methodist University/Franklin and Marshall College Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and Poggio Colla Field School in Italy.

“Keith DeVries was a wonderful scholar, teacher, and field archaeologist,” noted Dr. Brian Rose, Curator in Charge of the Mediterranean section and Deputy Director of Penn Museum. “All of us in the Mediterranean Section are delighted that he will be remembered in this very special way.”

Dr. Keith DeVries, Associate Curator Emeritus of the Mediterranean Section of the Penn Museum, and Associate Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies at Penn (1937-2006), was an internationally known scholar of Greek and Anatolian archaeology. He had a special interest in the interaction of cities and empires in Greece, Asia Minor, and Persia.

Dr. DeVries had a long association with Penn and the Penn Museum. In 1965, he began graduate study in Classical Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in 1970. He then began a professional collaboration with Rodney Young, the renowned discoverer of King Midas’s Phrygian capital at Gordion in central Turkey. He spent two years at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, establishing a relationship with Greece, and especially with the city of Corinth, that would continue throughout his life. In 1969, he began teaching at Penn, where he remained his entire career, retiring from teaching in 2004. He continued his research, however, and maintained his office at the Penn Museum after his official retirement.

He had a special interest in Greek ceramics, and he published several works on Greek Geometric pottery from Corinth. His study of Corinthian Geometric led him to propose a chronological adjustment for the initial Greek colonization in the central Mediterranean. He also served as co-director of the Museum’s Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum project, and he was a consultant on the Museum’s refurbished Greek Gallery.

But it was Gordion that became the principal focus of his work. A staff member of the excavation for some 30 years, he also served as its director between 1977 and 1987. Large quantities of Greek pottery were found at Gordion, much of which was published by Dr. DeVries. His deep knowledge of Gordion and of Greek and Phrygian pottery contributed to the recent re-dating of the Gordion sequence, which was done in collaboration with Mary M. Voigt and G. Kenneth Sams. Previously, the historical King Midas was thought to have been buried in the so-called Midas Tumulus; the body is now thought to belong to an earlier Phrygian ruler, perhaps Midas's father Gordios. Dr. Devries was working on the ramifications of the revised Gordion chronology at the time of his death.

He was a longtime member of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, located at 3260 South Streets on the Penn campus in Philadelphia, is dedicated to the study and understanding of human history and diversity. Founded in 1887, the Museum has sent more than 400 archaeological and anthropological expeditions to all the inhabited continents of the world. With an active exhibition schedule and educational programming for children and adults, the Museum offers the public an opportunity to share in the ongoing discovery of humankind's collective heritage. For general information, visitors may call (215) 898-4000, or visit the Museum’s award-winning website at http://www.penn.museum.


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