Archaeology Odyssey 5:4, July/August 2002

Editors Page: Dear Professor Renfrew

By Hershel Shanks

Archaeology Odyssey
Prof. Colin Renfrew Cambridge University Cambridge, England

Dear Professor Renfrew,

I mean no disrespect when I say that I tossed your book into my 40-year-old attaché case. It’s always a bit hectic when my wife and I are getting ready to leave on our annual winter week in the Caribbean. To be honest, what initially attracted me to your book in the stack of books I intended—hoped, would be a better word—one day to read was that it was thin. Besides, the subject was one I was particularly interested in—Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership. And of course I knew your reputation as one of the world’s most prominent and most respected archaeologists and as a professor at the University of Cambridge.

Because it was a last-minute toss, your book ended up on top of the pile and was the first thing I pulled out when we got on the plane. It turned out to be a quick read. I finished it by the time we touched down in Grand Cayman—just 90 pages, excluding appendices of international conventions and such. And you write well; the book was a pleasure to read, passionate, articulate and, most importantly, well-reasoned. In short, for anyone who differs with you, as I do, your argument deserves an answer.

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