EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Officials say the Library of Congress has taken a historic step in acknowledging the groundbreaking contributions of Dr. Mary Ellingson, a former University of Evansville (UE) archaeologist whose work was “wrongfully attributed” to another individual.
UE says after 90 years of anonymity and academic injustice, Ellingson’s name is in the catalog entry of the Excavations at Olynthus series, a monumental archaeological publication. This recognition comes as a result of efforts to correct the historical record, and it marks a triumph.
A news release says during her graduate studies, Ellingson began work excavating at the Greek site of Olynthus, a project led by David Robinson. This excavation focused on domestic architecture and provided insight into the private aspects of ancient Greek culture. Ellingson’s involvement in directing Greek workers and documenting terracotta figurines in the field became the foundation for her master’s thesis. A few years later, she furthered her groundbreaking analysis by crafting her dissertation, which redefined the interpretation of ancient Greek figurines.
According to UE, in an act of plagiarism, David Robinson published both of Ellingson’s documents under his own name as part of the Excavations of Olynthus series. This act remained undetected for decades until the rediscovery of Dr. Ellingson’s photo album and letters from 1931 by University of Evansville archaeology professor Dr. Alan Kaiser. Kaiser unveiled this history in his 2014 book titled “Archaeology, Sexism, and Scandal.”
UE says in celebration of this historic milestone, Kaiser, the archaeology professor whose work led to this change, offered these words:
“Recognizing Dr. Mary Ellingson’s long-suppressed contributions to the Excavations at Olynthus series is a significant step toward justice in the academic world. Her groundbreaking work has finally received the acknowledgment it deserves, and her story stands as an inspiration to all those who strive for truth and recognition in their respective fields.”