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The impact of publications on work (Part 2)


The impact of publications on work (Part 1)
Colin Renfrew Archaeologist
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It's perhaps appropriate to talk about the impact of publications on one's own work. And I had the great pleasure, in collaboration with yourself, Paul, of producing the book, "Archaeology Theories, Methods and Practice", which Colin Ridler and Thomas Neurath at Thames and Hudson had asked us to put together. And they wanted a, a text book really, mainly for university use on archaeological method and theory and we had the good fortune to discuss that together and just somehow see how that could be put together as a series of questions. What is the nature of the material evidence? When, for the chronology? What's it made of? What were the social relations? What was society like? What did they think? These became the chapter headings for our book and that gave us a chance, indeed the obligation to survey one aspect of archaeology. The methodology of archaeology and the theory of archaeology and I think, because we integrated the two rather successfully, and because you had your own particular strengths, for instance in environmental archaeology and so on, and I had some ideas in, indeed, cognitive archaeology that I wanted to develop in the chapter in “What did they think?” We had a lot to contribute, and it ended up, I think, as a balanced book, where the casual reader really didn't know who had written which chapter, and although we did tend to do it on a chapter-by-chapter basis, and so that I think was a very stimulating book to write and in my case encouraged me to think about the relation between the trade and the social archaeology and try and put the ideas about cognitive archaeology, in a much more straightforward and less highfalutin’ basis, not too much philosophy, more how do you get on and do it in the archaeological practicality. And so, I think we're both happy that that book has sold well and it was first published in 1981, were you reminding me?

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: 5 minutes, 41 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2008

Date story went live: 14 May 2009