Division of Archaeology

Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Pamela Jane Smith

Wenner-Gren Oral History Project Completed

Oral historical research is a powerful means of recording our disappearing disciplinary past. Preserving important and informative life histories provides us with a potent historical legacy. I am especially grateful, therefore, to the Wenner-Gren Oral Historical Project for a small grant which enabled me to interview the following people:

  • Professor emeritus of Latin American Archaeology at UCL, Warwick Bray;
  • UCLA Professor emeritus Merrick Posnansky;
  • Professor emeritus of Archaeology at the University of Ibadan, Thurstan Shaw;
  • UCLA's Professor Christopher Ehret;
  • Australian Professor emeritus John D Mulvaney;
  • Texas A & M Professor D. Bruce Dickson;
  • African Legacy's Dr Patrick Darling;
  • University of Florida at Gainesville Associate Professor Steven Brandt;
  • University of Calgary's Professor emeritus Peter Shinnie;
  • University of Zimbabwe's Dr Innocent Pikirayi;
  • Universita Degli Studi di Cassino's Dott. Elena Garcea;
  • Boston University's Professor Norman Hammond;
  • Universita di Roma La Sapienza's Professor Barbara E Barich;
  • the late Berkeley Professor emeritus J. Desmond Clark;
  • University of Ibadan's Dr Bayo Folorunso;
  • Cape Town University's Professor emeritus R.R. Inskeep;
  • Former Director of the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and Professor emeritus Frank Willett;
  • Mr John G Hurst;
  • University of New England's Professor emeritus Graham Connah;
  • Directeur du Centre d'Anthropologie Culturelle, Universite Libre de Bruxelles' Professor Pierre de Maret;
  • Chair of European Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology in London's Professor emeritus John Evans and Mrs Evans;
  • University of Dar-es-Salaam's Dr Bertram Mapunda;
  • Uppsala's Professor Paul J.J. Sinclair;
  • Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission's Dr Donald Chilengwe Chikumbi;
  • Australian National University's Professor emeritus Jack Golson;
  • and Peter Gathercole who succeeded H.D. Skinner at Otago.

These interviews present a broad historical cross section of African archaeology, from the early Twentieth Century British 'fathers',Desmond Clark, Thurstan Shaw, and Peter Shinnie through the intermediate generation of pioneer African Africanists to the present leaders graciously represented by Bayo Folorunso and Innocent Pikirayi. These young Africanists desperately need our financial and moral support. They recorded lives provide ample illustration of courageous commitment to archaeology amidst war, extreme poverty and corruption. Included as well are interviews with John G Hurst, one of the founders of Mediaeval archaeology in Britain; Warwick Bray, the founder of Archaeology at Sheffield; John Mulvaney who is generally considered to be the founding 'father' of Australian archaeology; and John Evans, former Director of the Institute of Archaeology in London.

It was an honour to speak once again with my living academic ancestors whom I have grown fond of during years of conversation. It is a relief to have their taped lives adequately protected. The interviews and transcripts are now stored at the Society of Antiquaries of London. The four hundred pages of transcripts are available from the University of Cambridge's Haddon Library. Transcripts are also available from me:

Pamela Jane Smith,
Lucy Cavendish College,