Sunday, August 28, 2005

Getting To The Bottom Of The Dorak Affair

The name James Mellaart is normally associated with Catal Huyuk and Near Eastern archaeology, but this long article, which may of interest to some, looks at the Dorat treasure, for which Mellaart became well known: "celebrity for Mellaart came only after publication of his tale of the glitzy treasure of Dorak the following year. He wowed readers by claiming the treasure had been illegally dug up during the Turko-Greek war (1919-1922) from two royal tombs of the Yortans, neighbors of the Trojans. The significance of this Yortan find was its establishing that a major seafaring nation existed in northwest Anatolia, adjacent to Troy, around the time of the Egyptians. Mellaart said he was able to deduce this from a gold sheet in the collection, which he claimed was once attached to a wooden throne. It was embossed with Egyptian hieroglyphics bearing the name and titles of Pharaoh Sahure (2487-2473 BC) - thus a royal gift from the Egyptians". But the owner of the treaure, Anna Papastri, vanished taking the treaure with her. The article's conclusion, which it reaches via a long tale of investigative journalism, and descriptions of Mellaart's past work, is that the evidence suggests that there never was a Dorak treasure. A shame - it would be a cracker if it existed.

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