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Karen Donne (Kaddee) Vitelli died on September 12, 2013, at the age of 79 in the town of Dresden, Maine, where she had been living since her retirement from Indiana University in 2006.

Kaddee attended the College of Wooster in Ohio and spent her junior year at the study abroad program, College Year in Athens, where she would get firsthand experience in the classics and archaeology. After graduating from Wooster, Kaddee enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania. Initially attracted to underwater archaeology at Penn, Kaddee had to settle for land archaeology, as she had contracted tuberculosis as a child and scuba diving would have been a major challenge.

Kaddee’s first professional archaeological experience was in 1968, at Franchthi Cave in the northeast Peloponnesus, where she served as project artist for Tom Jacobson’s excavations there. At the end of that summer, she stayed on in Greece as the University of Pennsylvania fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. In the summer of 1969, she rejoined the Franchthi Cave project and did a stint in Turkey at the archaeological site of Gordion. Kaddee returned to Penn for two years before taking a job in the Ancient Studies Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she taught for seven years and directed the excavation of an 8,000-year-old Native American site on the university’s campus.

In 1978, Kaddee was hired by Indiana University, where she taught in the relatively new Program in Classical Archaeology, becoming chair of the department nine years later, at which time she was also promoted to full professor in the Department of Anthropology. She remained at IU for the rest of her career and continued her association with the archaeology of Franchthi Cave and other excavations in Greece.

As a responsible and prolific scholar from the beginning, Kaddee’s contributions to the field of classical archaeology are legion. In 1977, she published an analysis of potters’ marks on ceramics from Franchthi Cave and the nearby site of ancient Lerna. She continued to publish both books and articles in professional journals regularly for the next three-plus decades. Major works include volumes on the Neolithic pottery of Franchthi Cave and Lerna published in 1993, 1999, and 2007. In addition to her scholarly publications, Kaddee wrote books for the general public, including Archaeological Ethics (1996) and Do I Really Want to Be an Archaeologist? Letters from the Field 1968–1974 (2023). Kaddee was also a pioneer in the area of experimental archaeology, attempting to reproduce the circumstances under which pottery was produced and used in ancient times by making and firing ceramics using only techniques available to Neolithic potters.  

Besides her extensive and innovative work in “dirt archaeology,” Kaddee also made major contributions to the field of archaeological ethics. She brought attention to the damage caused by looting, uninformed collecting, and the unregulated antiquities market. Between 1975 and 1983, she published a regular column in the Journal of Field Archaeology, not only on the damage caused by looting and theft but also on efforts, largely ineffective, to legislate and enforce laws to limit such depredations.

In 1977, Kaddee married her IU colleague Reginald Heron, a photographer and educator, who died in 2012. In Dresden, she was an active member of the community, getting involved in the local Conservation Commission, the annual library plant sale, a garden club, the writing of a monthly column, “Seen in Dresden,” and other activities and organizations. An avid gardener and enthusiastic bird watcher, she took full advantage of her surroundings. In all respects, Kaddee was a superb scholar, a loyal colleague, a terrific friend, and an overall wonderful person. She will be missed by all who knew her, either directly or through her extensive publications.

(Peter S. Allen)