In Memoriam: Malcolm Bell, UVA Professor and Archaeologist Who Stood Up to Looters
Malcolm Bell, professor emeritus in the McIntire Department of Art at the University of Virginia and department chair from 1978 to 1985, died Jan. 7 of pneumonia. He was 82 years old.
Bell was a specialist in classical archaeology and an “archetypical professor,” said his friend and colleague David Summers, the Emeritus William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art Theory and Italian Renaissance Art at the University.
During his doctoral studies, Bell won a Fulbright fellowship and a Rome Prize that he used to visit Morgantina, a Greek settlement on Sicily. When he began teaching at the University in 1971, he led yearly excavations at the site.
Morgantina became a target for looters almost as soon as archaeologists began to uncover the ancient city. There was no way to patrol the 1,000-acre site, especially at night. But Bell fought to protect Morgantina from looters – also called “clandestini” in Italian – even facing threats himself.
- UVAToday, Alice Berry