If anyone were to ask me why I have spent my life studying prehistory, I would only say that I have remained under the spell of a subject which seeks to discover how we became human beings endowed with minds and souls before we had learned to write… Grahame Clark


While two of the pictures accompanying this entry are of the archeologist and prehistorian who is its subject the middle one is of one of the imaginary creatures he studied. His own words quoted in the title reveal his view of man as an evolved creature and so many of the illustrations from works of prehistory have the style of 1930’s Conan comic books with whom they share not only an uncanny resemblance but a good deal of intellectual depth. While we may be able to determine some things about prehistory – there was a city here, they used these tools, it was destroyed by an earthquake – anything not supported by concrete physical evidence is conjecture and should be treated as such.

Grahame Clark : an intellectual life of an archaeologist  Brian Fagan  Boulder, Colo. : Westview Press, 2001  Hardcover. 1st ed and printing. xix, 304 p. : ill., maps ; 23 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-290) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The British archaeologist Grahame Clark was a prominent figure in European and world archaeology for more than half of the twentieth century, but, at the same time, one whose reputation has been outshone by other, more visible luminaries. His works were never aimed at a wide general public, nor did he become a television or radio personality. Clark was, above all, a scholar, whose contributions to world archaeology were enormous. He was also convinced that the study of prehistory was important for all humanity and spent his career saying so. For this, he was awarded the prestigious Erasmus Prize in 1990, an award only rarely given to archaeologists.

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This intellectual biography describes Clark’s remarkable career and assesses his contributions to archaeology. Clark became interested in archaeology while at school, studied the subject at Cambridge University, and completed a doctorate on the Mesolithic cultures of Britain in 1931. He followed this study with a survey, The Mesolithic Settlement of Northern Europe(1936), which established him as an international authority on the period. His work is absolutely in the category of Dr. Pickering’s Spoken Sanskrit.

At the same time, he became interested in the interplay between changing ancient environment and ancient human societies. In a series of excavations and papers, he developed environmental archaeology and the notion of ecological systems as a foundation of scientific, multidisciplinary archaeology, culminating in his excavations in 1949 and his Prehistoric Europe: The Economic Basis (1952). Clark became Disney Professor of Public Archaeology at Cambridge in 1952 and influenced an entire generation of undergraduates to become archaeologists in all parts of the world. He was also the author of the first book on a global human prehistory, World Prehistory (1961).

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