On September 20, 2017, Kenneth G. Holum passed away at the age of 78. An eminent scholar, devoted professor, and cordial mentor, he advanced the study of ancient Mediterranean history and archaeology. BAR readers will best remember him as the excavation director of Caesarea Maritima, which was originally built by King Herod the Great, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.
Born in 1939 in South Dakota, Holum grew up on the prairie and attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls. After graduating from Augustana in 1961, he served for six years in the U.S. Navy. Then he earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago; his dissertation examined empresses from the Byzantine period.
He began teaching at the University of Maryland in 1970, and he would stay there for the next 44 years—until his retirement in 2014, when he took the title professor emeritus. Specializing in Late Antiquity (fourth–seventh centuries, also known as the Byzantine period), he taught courses on a variety of subjects related to ancient Mediterranean history and archaeology.