Archaeology, Archaeology Teaching

Archaeological Heroes – Michael Shanks

I’m currently working on trying to finish what I’m calling my ‘theory’ chapter for my upgrade paper. Obviously I shouldn’t still be reading at this stage but I’m one of these people who just never stops reading to write – I just don’t seem to be able to.

As a consequence of my digital-reference-hoboism, today I found the website of one Michael Shanks. Frankly if you’re an archaeologist and you’re not familiar with his name then shame on you! He is the Omar and Althea Dwyer Hoskins Professor of Classical Archaeology at Stanford University, and an all-round theoretical bad-arse.

Not only is he deeply engaged with archaeological theory – which you might expect to make him a grey old soul – he is also rather digitally minded and far too exciting to be grey. I won’t go in to detail about how impressive his resume is – you can see all that on rather understated Stanford pages. He also has two websites – Archaeolog and MShanks – and is a very eloquent writer and blogger.

Whether I always agree with his perspectives I’m not sure, but this guy certainly has a brain, and I find his work massively inspiring and massively interesting. Reading and thinking about his work always kicks my mind up a gear and I love that.

But aside from all this hero-worship, I wanted to let you know he has also released his 1996 book Classical Archaeology of Greece (a tome from Routledge) as a free download. Yup, free. Much respect. It’s split into chapters, but it’s easy to download them.


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