Cover image for Encyclopedia of archaeology. The great archaeologists
Encyclopedia of archaeology. The great archaeologists
Murray, Tim, 1955-
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, <c1999 >.
Physical Description:
volumes <2 > : illustrations ; 27 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CC110 .E54 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating
CC110 .E54 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



Written by some of the world's best-known archaeologists, this two volume set presents a collection of informative, readable, and often witty essays on the lives and work of their famous forebears, colleagues, and teachers.

* Biographies of 58 of the greatest archaeologists written by their world-renown predecessors

* 46 contributors, all eminent practicing archaeologists

* Illustrated with rare photographs, drawings, and charts

* Glossary

Author Notes

Tim Murray is professor of archaeology at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

These first volumes in what is to be a five-volume set are a commendable undertaking by Murray, who has gathered together practicing archaeologists to reflect "on the lives and work of their forebears, colleagues, and teachers" and to contribute to an understanding of the significance and potential consequences of their work within the culture and society of the time in which it was produced. To be included, the subject must have "made a major contribution to the development of archaeology as a discipline." There are 58 entries arranged chronologically from William Camden (1551^-1623) to David Clarke (1938^-1976). Ten were still living at the time of publication. A few of the biographical profiles were written by archaeologists who are featured in entries of their own--Lewis Binford, James B. Griffin, and Eric Higgs among them. Each entry begins with an italicized summary of the individual's main contributions to the discipline. The evolution of archaeological practice and theory becomes a fascinating story as the work of many individuals, largely unknown to the general public, is traced through their biographies. The main entries include only two women (although wives, female patrons, students, and assistants are generously included in many entries), which reflects the course the discipline has taken over the years. The overall tone is definitely British, although archaeologists from China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, and Sweden are also included. Famous archaeologists such as Howard Carter, excavator of the tomb of Tutankhamun, and Augustus Pitt Rivers, "the first scientific British archaeologist," are represented; and Murray has included controversial figures like Heinrich Schliemann, excavator of Troy; and Gustaf Kossinna, considered to be the precursor of Nazi archaeology for his obsession with German and Indo-European peoples. It is difficult to understand why Donald Johanson (of "Lucy" fame) and Mary and Louis Leakey were not included. Murray acknowledges that selecting subjects was "a challenging process" likely to result in "a volume with a lot of dead white males" and that "there was by no means universal agreement" among his advisors about whom to include. The essays, which average 12 pages in length, are remarkably readable. Most feature extensive bibliographies. Informed readers will find much they enjoy and recognize related to Egyptian, Mayan, British megalithic, and U.S. southwestern studies and will gain a tremendous amount of new knowledge on antiquarian endeavors of the sixteenth century up through modern scientific techniques. The detailed index offers a variety of access points. Libraries will want to keep a copy of Oxford Companion to Archaeology [RBB Mr 15 97] for quick reference and the older Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology (Crown, 1980) for a more regional/topical approach. This new one-of-a-kind collective biography is quite scholarly and belongs in all serious archaeology/anthropology collections. Part two of the set, Encyclopedia of Archaeology: History and Discoveries, will be available later this year.

Library Journal Review

The publisher promises that this will be a two-part encyclopedia, the first offering biographies of great archaeologists and the second outlining history and discoveries. This first installment complements the main biographical work on anthropologists (The International Dictionary of Anthropologists, Garland, 1991 o.p.) with longer and richer treatments and additional figures. Organized by birth date, beginning with William Camden (1551-1623) and ending with David Clarke (1938-76), the encyclopedia covers 58 figures with solid biographies written by well-known archaeologists. References to primary and secondary material follow each entry, and a glossary assists readers unfamiliar with the jargon. Murray (archaeology, La Trobe Univ., Australia) contributes a substantial bibliography and an epilog on the art of archaeological biography that describes recent thinking on the history of archaeology. Although this encyclopedia is expensive, its depth justifies its addition to general collections as well as research libraries.--Joyce L. Ogburn, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The subtitle may be somewhat misleading, since the set's stated focus is individuals who have played a significant role in the development of archaeology but are generally unknown outside the discipline. The archaeologists covered are predominantly white males. The 58 biographies, written by practicing archaeologists, range in length from nine to 35 pages and are arranged chronologically by birth year, 1551-1938. Helpful features include an alphabetical list of entries, a glossary, a subject index, and brief information about each contributor. Entries include references and black-and-white photographs or other illustrations. A useful contribution to the history of archaeology, recommended for institutions with programs or course work in the subject. L. Joseph; North Dakota State University