THE DORAK AFFAIR by Kenneth & Patricia Connor Pearson


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The Dorak Affair is an international cause, its victim is the Advancement of Knowledge, the authors are two sleuthing reporters for London's Sunday Times and the popularity of archaeology among general readers may make this a steady circulator despite the unsympathetic central figure in the case, James Mellaart, who may be a well-framed fall guy or a fraud, but, tantalizingly, never emerges clearly as either. Turkey won't permit him to dig on the site of a Late Stone Age civilization he discovered within her borders. The British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara is attempting to carry on the excavation he started but seems to have abandoned him. James Mellaart is recognized as a brilliant but erratic archaeologist whose story of seeing and sketching a treasure trove of prehistoric tomb relics, all of which later disappeared, is so fishy that it's laid down a stink the authors have traced through smugglers' bazaars, to big-deal dealers, in and out of museums and embassies, and into official Turkish offices. He says he was coaxed in 1958 to the village of Dorak by a fetchingly tarty girl wearing a fabulously antique gold bracelet, that his camera (which might have recorded the required photographic evidence) was broken, that she let him sketch a rich collection of artifacts for three or four days, that he never saw her or them again. Turkey is jealous of its right to its archaeological treasures, history has suspicious gaps, and it all adds up to an interesting dig into scandals among the scholars at a high Sunday supp level.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1967
Publisher: Atheneum