Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


13 October 2020

Elizabeth Banks passed away

John Younger, Aegeanet, 12/10/2020

We have just heard that Elizabeth Courtney Banks, Associate Professor of Classics, University of Kansas, emerita, passed away last Friday, 9 October 2020.

Elizabeth (“Betty”) Banks received her PhD in Classics at the University of Cincinnati and participated in the Lerna excavations (1952-1957) under J.L. Caskey. During this period, Betty was a Fulbright scholar and a Capps fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Greece (1954-1957). She submitted her dissertation in 1967 on “The Early and Middle Helladic Small Objects from Lerna.”

Betty taught at the Universities of Missouri, Columbia and Kentucky-Lexington before coming to the University of Kansas in 1966. In 1972, Betty participated in the February Sisters movement that occupied the Department of East Asian Studies on the KU campus (now marked by a plaque, 1332 Louisiana St) and demanded improvements for women at KU, including a women’s studies program, female university administrators, dedicated health care for women, children’s day care, and an affirmative action program for women faculty (this was the first time in history that a women’s movement occupied a building to dramatize their demands). By the Fall 1972, a women’s studies program was in place and most of the demands were fully implemented within the year. Betty also participated in the 50th anniversary of February Sisters (2012) sponsored by KU’s Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies where she was a member of the Advisory Board.

At the University of Kansas, Betty taught Greek archaeology and ancient art in the Department of Classics. Before her retirement in 2001, she was curator of the Wilcox Classical Museum on the KU campus and oversaw its modernization and re-installation in 1985, as well as the restoration of casts of ancient sculpture and the accession of numerous works of ancient art which became the core of an excellent teaching collection.

In 1991, Betty received the J. Michael Young Outstanding Academic Adviser Award, an award presented annually to a KU faculty member whose advising makes a difference for their students. In retirement, Betty produced two major publications on Neolithic Lerna:
2013. Lerna: a Preclassical Site in the Argolid, Volume VI: The Settlement and Architecture of Lerna IV,. Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
2015. Lerna: a Preclassical Site in the Argolid, Volume VII: The Neolithic Settlement. Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Betty will remain well known for her high standards in the teaching and practice of archaeology, for her forceful defence of women’s rights, and her critical attention to detail. Her passionate energy and love of lively argument will be much missed.


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