Professor Rodolfo Fattovich (Trieste 1945 – Rome 2018) worked closely with Professor Kathryn Bard for 25 years. He regularly visited the Department of Archaeology at Boston University for a month or more every year to work with colleagues. He held a Visiting Professorship in the Archaeology Department and was a frequent lecturer in BU’s African Studies Center.
The members of the Department of Archaeology mourn the death of Professor Rodolfo Fattovich in Rome on March 23, 2018.
Rodolfo began excavating in Ethiopia in 1972, and he later directed excavations at Bieta Giyorgis (Aksum) with Kathryn Bard. He had extensive fieldwork experience in Egypt, where he directed projects at the sites of Naqada, Tell el-Farkha, and Mersa/Wadi Gawasis (with Kathryn Bard). In Sudan, he was the long-term director of a project in the Kassala region.
Before retiring in 2014, Rodolfo was teaching Ethiopian Archaeology,Egyptian Archaeology and also Egyptology at the Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale,”where he became a faculty member in 1974. For many years he was also a visiting professor of Archaeology at Addis Ababa University.
His research interests focused on the origins of social hierarchy in northeastern Africa, the Egyptian Predynastic, pre-Aksumite and Aksumite cultures, the relations between Egypt and Africa, but also on the ancient Red Sea, the environmental history of northeastern Africa, and on the contribution archaeology could provide to the sustainable development of those regions. The breadth and variety of his interests makes evident the intellectual curiosity and the open-minded approach which were his characterizing traits.
He has published more than two hundred publications, some of them certainly seminal works. His new book, “Seafaring Expeditions to Punt in the Middle Kingdom: Excavations at Mersa/Wadi Gawasis, Egypt,” co-authored with Kathryn Bard, will be published by Brill (Leiden & Boston) later this year. Rodolfo also mentored many students who, after starting their education under his tutorship, often specialized in several different fields, such as geoarchaeology, paleobotany, maritime archaeology, computer applications to archaeology, as well as, of course, Ethiopian and Egyptian archaeology, Egyptology and Nubian studies.
The students, staff, and faculty of the Department of Archaeology at Boston University will sorely miss Rodolfo’s annual visits to the department, when he would share his warmth, humor, collegiality, and scholarship with us. We will never forget Rodolfo and his passion for archaeology. We are proud to have had Rodolfo as a colleague at Boston University and will always cherish our loving memories of this great man.