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The New Light lectures and field trips to France


Lewis Binford and practical classes at Southampton
Colin Renfrew Archaeologist
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It was while we were at Southampton that we were able to invite Lewis Binford to come and do a sabbatical term, and he was a wonderfully energetic lecturer. He always speaks with passion but he'd prepared his things very well so he was talking about his approach to archaeology and I think everybody who attended those lectures really benefited from them. By then we had an MPhil in archaeological method so his lectures were taken by those but also by quite a lot of the undergraduates, and he also gave practical classes in butchery - we haven't spoken much about practical classes, but naturally we had practical classes, identification of bones and in pot drawing and in technology. David Peacock was one of the staff in Southampton. He was one of the pioneers in ceramic characterisation, thin sectioning of pottery, and he gave very good practicals in that direction, but Lewis Binford certainly surpassed him. He gave practicals in butchery, so some carcass would be found somewhere and the students would be invited to roll up their sleeves and undertake the butchery of this carcass, but his very hands-on approach was very well received and it was after his visit that the university agreed to award him an honorary degree and that was very appropriate because, as you know, he's often been seen as a controversial figure in the States and so wasn't really accorded the respect that was due to him in the States in earlier years. I think it's only very recently that he's been a member of- made a member of the National Academy of Sciences because of the opposition of some old guard people who didn't like his style. He, of course, has been enormously candid about his view of people so it's perhaps not surprising they remembered that but, anyway, he received his honorary degree and it was very nice that he received that - that recognition in the first place from the University of Southampton.

Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn is a British archaeologist known for his work on the dispersal of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and the prehistory of PIE languages. He has been Disney Professor of Archaeology at Cambridge as well as Master of Jesus College and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Listeners: Paul Bahn

Paul Bahn studied archaeology at Cambridge where he did his doctoral thesis on the prehistory of the French Pyrenees. He is now Britain's foremost specialist on Ice Age art and on Easter Island, and led the team which discovered Britain's first Ice Age cave art at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, in 2003. He has authored and edited numerous books, including Journey Through the Ice Age, The Enigmas of Easter Island, Mammoths, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art, and, with Colin Renfrew, Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice which was published in its 5th edition in 2008.

Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 14 May 2009