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The Whereabouts of the Dorak Treasure Monograph

The Whereabouts of the Dorak Treasure Monograph

by Suzan Mazur
December 4, 2013

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Arlette Mellaart has died, the beloved wife of the late British archaeologist James Mellaart -- who gave us the fabulous story of the Dorak Treasure. Although I've seen no notice in the media about the passing of Mrs. Mellaart, her son Alan told me by phone from Istanbul of her death about two weeks ago. Arlette Mellaart was from a prominent Turkish family but continued to live in London following the death of James Mellaart last year, in the residence she shared with her husband.

So what happens now to Jimmie Mellaart's archives? Particularly the Dorak monograph, which according to Dorak Affair authors Patricia Connor and the late Ken Pearson, was "60,000 words long." Not "thousands of pages," as David Aaronovitch noted in his opinion piece for The Times newspaper in London 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 obit commentary. He must surely have spoken with Patricia Connor in London before running the article. So it is indeed puzzling why he would describe a manuscript of 240 typewritten pages (250 words per page) plus drawings, as one of thousands of pages.

Here for the record is the Pearson and Connor description of the monograph:

"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." -- Kenneth Pearson and Patricia Connor, The Dorak Affair

And the Aaronovitch 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." -- David Aaronovitch, "Mystery of Dorak will stay buried for ever",The Times.

Alan Mellaart, who heads an Istanbul-based international management consulting firm, advises it's been suggested to him that he auction his father's monograph. ALTHOUGH HE HAS NOT YET ADMITTED HE HAS EVEN LOCATED THE DOCUMENT.

He told me 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 who 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…


Suzan Mazur is the author of The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry.Her reports have appeared in the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Archaeology, Connoisseur, Omni and others, as well as on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox Television News programs. Email:

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