Machteld J. Mellink, an archaeologist and authority on ancient sites in Turkey, who became a forceful voice for ending the international trafficking of looted antiquities, died on Feb. 23 in an assisted-living home in Haverford, Pa. She was 88.
Dr. Mellink's death was announced by Bryn Mawr College, where she taught in the department of classical and Near Eastern archaeology for five decades.
In scholarship that bridged Greek and eastern Mediterranean cultures, Dr. Mellink helped excavate sites in central and southeastern Turkey and reported on archaeological finds throughout the country, in the wider region known as Anatolia.
In the 1960's, she was an early explorer of the Elmali plain, where she and others unearthed two tombs with vivid interior paintings of hunting and domestic scenes that have been dated to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. The rich finds of the area quickly became targets of looters, prompting Dr. Mellink to plead for a halt to a "subversive assault upon the antiquities of Anatolia by ignorance and greed."
In 1968, she wrote in The American Journal of Archaeology, "International legal action is needed because technical progress and the 'archaeology explosion' will destroy a major part of the ancient record in a frightening tempo."
The Elmali tombs were subsequently protected and, in the 1970's, Unesco and other organizations took steps to regulate the traffic of ancient artifacts worldwide.
Earlier, Dr. Mellink participated in digs near Tarsus, on the Mediterranean coast, and Gordion, near Ankara, in central Turkey. She wrote monographs on the Neolithic pottery uncovered at Tarsus and the University of Pennsylvania's excavation of a Hittite cemetery at Gordion.
James C. Wright, chairman of Bryn Mawr's department of classical and Near Eastern archaeology, said Dr. Mellink became known for her "integrated and holistic approach to the larger classical world and the ancient Near East, and was able to make connections between cultures that were widely separated, and show they were actually in contact with each other."
From 1955 to 1994, Dr. Mellink chronicled those connections and developments at many Turkish excavations, also in The American Journal of Archaeology. The notes became an annual and authoritative account of research advances in Asia Minor, said Jayne L. Warner, an archaeologist with the Institute for Aegean Prehistory in Greenwich, Conn.
Late in her career, Dr. Mellink turned her attention to the Trojan War and Troy, Dr. Warner said, "as a site that everybody in the field eventually thinks about, a site of monumental architecture that links the Aegean and central Anatolia."
Machteld Johanna Mellink was born in Amsterdam. She received her doctorate from the University of Utrecht in 1943.
She arrived at Bryn Mawr in 1949, became an associate professor of classical archaeology in 1953 and was appointed chairman of the archaeology department in 1955, a position she held until 1983. She retired in 1988.
From 1980 to 1984, Dr. Mellink was president of the Archaeological Institute of America.
She was also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 1991, the archaeological institute gave her its Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement.
She is survived by a sister, Dr. Johanna Pel-Mellink of the Netherlands; and by nieces and nephews.