PanMacedonian Association USA – letter to the American Archaeological Institute
May 16, 2013
Ms Elizabeth Bartman
President of the American Archaeological Institute (AAI)
656 Beacon Street, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02215-2006
Dear Ms Bartman,
We, the members of the Pan-Macedonian Association, one of the largest Greek American Associations in the US, are writing this letter as a collective effort to express our concerns regarding a cultural event held at Scandinavia House in New York on April 29, 2013, which was sponsored by the government of the “Republic of Macedonia” (the FYROM as per the United Nations) and your esteemed magazine Archaeology:
During the event a lecture was given by archaeologist Dr. Dragi Mitrevski (current head of the Institute for History of Art and Archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy at State University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje). He spoke about the archaeological sites in his country that you are aware are mostly Greek and/or Roman, stemming from various historical periods of antiquity. His lecture might not have been political at face value, but this event was sponsored by the government of the FYROM. Furthermore, the presence and speech by the FYROM Minister of Culture, Elizabeta Kanchevska Milevska, did politicize the event.
Additionally, on your webpage one reads the following: “Thank you to those who joined us for an enjoyable evening of food, wine, musical and dance entertainment PLUS archaeology as we listened to a lecture from the leading archaeologist of the Republic of Macedonia [sic], Dr. Dragi Mitrevski. We toured his homeland, so full of archaeological riches”. “Archaeological riches” yes, but whose “archaeological riches” were they? There was no clarification given during the lecture that these finds are Greek and on your website there is no mention that the “archaeological riches” in Dr. Mitrevski’s homeland belong to various Greek and Roman historical periods – centuries before the Slavs arrived in the area known as the FYROM currently.
Moreover, we would like to highlight the confusing title of the event: “The Most Significant Findings of Macedonian [sic] Archaeology”. What “Macedonian” [sic] archaeology? Are they the findings of the modern FYROM that relate to its post Yugoslav culture – or of Ancient Macedon perhaps? If it is the former, then it is politically motivated historical anachronism on the part of your institute. If it is the latter, then is your institute stating that they are more significant than the Macedonian findings in Vergina, Dion, Philippi, Aiani, and Thessaloniki – in the true Macedonia, a little further to the south and over the border in Greece where the Greek kingdom of Macedon once existed whose cultural, linguistic, and anthropological ties continue to exist in modern Greece today.
In February of 2009, Professor Stephen Miller from Berkley University responded to Matthew Brunwasser’s highly propagandistic article “Letter from Macedonia [sic]. Modern Macedonia [sic] Lays its Claim to the Ancient Conqueror’s Legacy”, published in Archaeology. Your journal however refused to publish his response. We are wondering if there is some kind of a pattern developed by the American Archaeological Institute (AAI) to side with historical revisionism, rather than promote the science of true history.
We, as Americans citizens, strongly believe that such an educational and scientific entity as the AAI should stand against pseudohistory, and instead highlight the true evidence of archaeological discoveries without engaging in political propaganda and anachronism, especially when these are promoted by a state whose ultimate goal is to usurp Macedonian Greek history. You owe it to our future generations and to the preservation of the science of archaeology.
Kostas Hatzistefanidis, Supreme President
Dimitris Chatzis,Supreme Secretary
Cc: Claudia Valentino-Editor in Chief, ARCHAEOLOGY Magazine
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