Zofia Sztetyłło, remembered by Iwona Zych

There must be a mosaic of memories of many different people to describe someone like Professor Zofia Sztetyłło—righteous, honest, deeply committed to her work, intelligent, and with an engaging way of not taking herself too seriously. Simply good.

She was my Professor and that is how I remember her from my undergraduate years, writing my Master’s under her supervision, then taking part in excavations in Cyprus and in Egypt. In the field (and out of it) she mothered everyone, team members and students alike. It was a rational mothering, calling one to order when necessary, warm and caring, and supportive when the young spread their wings to flight and sometimes came close to disaster. It’s never easy to reason with an Icarus…

For many of us (we know who we are) she was a shield, a protector, an intercessor. She was mine for sure. And the most so when, having decided to retire from fieldwork, she chose me as her worthy successor to manage the archaeological mission working in Marina el-Alamein in Egypt. It was a challenge, but she never openly doubted that I would overcome whatever obstacles fell my way. She put her trust in me and I think I can say that she was not disappointed.

Professor Sztetyłło would have waved these words aside with that characteristic self-irony that endeared her to all and, smoking the cigarette that was an inseparable part of her person, she would turn the conversation to other, more interesting topics… So let it be. Let us keep this memory of a gracious woman, sometimes intelligently malicious, taking a warm-hearted interest in people, for many years shaping our small community of Mediterranean archaeologists.

Iwona Zych