From the University of Tokyo, archaeologist Sandra K. Lucore (FAAR’07) writes:
“On June 26, 2008, the town of Aidone in Sicily honored Malcolm Bell, III (FAAR‘70, RAAR’89), Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia, by awarding its first ever honorary citizenship.
This was in recognition of Bell’s long association with and commitment to the ancient site of Morgantina, where, since 1980, he has been director of the American excavations.”
Lucore continues, “This exceptional award was given also in recognition of Bell’s many efforts to integrate the site [of Morgantina] and its history within the community of Aidone. It is a testament as well to the many excellent personal and professional relationships he has cultivated over the years.
A very fine SRO ceremony took place in the Aidone City Hall, with the mayor of Aidone and the head of the Aidone city council presiding over the formalities in the presence of the city council, officials from the local superintendency of antiquities, friends and colleagues from Aidone and elsewhere in Sicily, along with other members of the American excavations.”
“In presenting this award,” writes Lucore, “the mayor emphasized the fundamental contribution Bell has made regarding Morgantina and Sicilian history through his scientific research and publications on the ancient city.
Bell is held in high esteem for his scrupulously fair, open and generous approach in working with the local community, and his recognised goodwill is integral to successful cultural exchange between Italy and the United States.”
Malcolm (Mac) Bell has played a major role in advising the Italian government on issues regarding the illegal antiquities market and the repatriation of Italian works in U.S. collections. For his efforts in restoring looted works of art to Aidone, see this 4 July 2007 New York Times article.
Bell also has served as Andrew W. Mellon Professor (1998-2000) at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, as Mellon Professor-in-Charge (1991-1992, 1993-1996) of the School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome, and as Co-Editor and Editor (1996-2000) of the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome.
SOF Weblog contributor Sandra K. Lucore’s own association with Morgantina began, with Bell, in 1982.