Remembering Olivier Nieuwenhuyse with a festschrift: ‘He would have loved this book’
On November 16 a festschrift in honor of Dr Olivier Nieuwenhuyse was presented in a moving event at the Faculty of Archaeology. Professor Bleda Düring, a personal friend of Nieuwenhuyse, was one of the initiators. ‘If he had been here, he would have loved this book.’
‘A tribute to Olivier’
The book, titled Style and Society in Prehistoric West Asia: Essays in Honour of Olivier P. Nieuwenhuyse, bundles chapters on a range of topics. ‘It is a tribute to Olivier and his academic work.’ Düring explains. ‘When he was really ill, I often came by for a visit. There is not much you can do, except for being there for someone and their family. But this book is the way to give something back as a fellow scholar.’
Origin of pottery
Most of the chapters are based on presentations made during a remembrance symposium at the National Museum of Antiquities, a short time before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Asked about notable chapters of the book, Düring says: ‘There is this piece about the academic career of Olivier, written by a good friend of his. In addition, there are chapters on the figurines and paintings that he was interested in. I know that Olivier would have been enthusiastic about the part on the origin of pottery.’ The main focus of the book is material culture in Late Neolithic West Asia.
The festschrift was officially presented to Nieuwenhuyse's family during the event of November 16. ‘In the book presentation we celebrated Olivier as a person and as a scholar. We pointed a number of different spotlights on Olivier, and what we got was an image of a very nice man, versatile, loved and very active.’
The book was realised with the efforts of a number of organisations Nieuwenhuyse had ties with. The National Museum of Antiquities offered the funds for publication, while the NINO funded the original symposium. The book presentation was held at the Faculty of Archaeology.