Arlette Mellaart -- the beloved wife of the late British archaeologist James Mellaart, who gave us the fabulous story of the Dorak treasure -- has died. So what happens now to Jimmie Mellaart's archives, particularly the Dorak monograph?
According to Dorak Affair authors Patricia Connor and the late Ken Pearson, the monograph was "about 60,000 words long," not "thousands of pages" as David Aaronovitch noted in his opinion piece for The Times at the time of Mellaart's death in August 2012, a story in which he credits me with cracking the Dorak hoax without actually calling it a "hoax." Aaronovitch is one of the UK's most visible journalists, but it is unclear what research he has done on Dorak. I see nothing published aside from the Times piece. He must surely have spoken with Patricia Connor in London before running it, so it is indeed puzzling that he described a manuscript of 240 typewritten pages (with 250 words per page) plus drawings as one of thousands of pages.
For the record, here is Pearson and Connor's description of the monograph in The Dorak Affair:
First of all we examined the typescript. At a rough glance it was about 60,000 words long and recorded in a series of chapters the physical description and provenance of all the objects that were said to have come out of the two tombs.
And here is Aaronovitch's statement:
An interview that Mazur later did with a colleague [David Stronach] of Mellaart's from the late 1950s seemed to bear out hers and my theory. Which is that the drawings and notes, which occupied thousands of pages in the end and which detailed the fabulous treasures of Dorak, were all made up.
Alan Mellaart, the only child of Jimmie and Arlette and the head of an Istanbul-based international management consulting firm, advises that it's been suggested to him that he auction his father's monograph, although he has not yet admitted that he has even located the document. He told me that he is seriously considering placing his father's entire archive with one of three British cultural institutes, including the British Institute of Archaeology, where James Mellaart worked, a place central to the Dorak story. He would not say what the other two candidates are, only that they are vibrant British institutions. Alan Mellaart also communicated that David Stronach, now an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkeley, was lukewarm to the idea of having the Dorak "enterprise" material housed there. And for very good reason...