Death of James Mellaart
The Telegraph, 3 August 2012
James Mellaart, who has died aged 86, ranked among the most controversial archaeologists of the 20th century after claiming to have uncovered priceless royal artefacts plundered from Dorak, near the ancient city of Troy, which he said had been missing since the site was first excavated in the 1920s. While there was no doubt about the importance of these finds, some 20 years later, in the 1980s, Mellaart attracted further controversy by attempting to pass off watercolours he had made as representations of other, poorly preserved frescoes supposedly found at Çatal Hüyük. Mellaart explained that the original murals had proved impossible to remove or preserve. They were damaged, he said, and been impossible to photograph before they crumbled to plaster dust. Indeed, the only evidence of their existence were hurried sketches made by Mellaart and not released to public examination until 1989, when they only added to the debate.