Michael Shanks (archaeologist)

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Michael Shanks (born 1959 in Newcastle upon Tyne) is a British archaeologist who has specialized in Classical archaeology and archaeological theory. He received his BA and PhD from Cambridge University, and was a lecturer at the University of Wales, Lampeter before moving to the United States of America in 1999 to take up a Chair in Classics at Stanford University. Michael lives in Northern California with his two children and his wife Helen Shanks, ceramic artist, and former head of visual and performing arts at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA. He also taught Latin, Greek and Classical Studies at Whitley Bay High School from 1983-88 [1] and was well known by pupils for his hippy length hair and recitation of the Odyssey in Greek without translation whilst seated cross legged on the teacher's desk.

Shanks was a key figure in the development of post-processualism and interpretive archaeology during the 1980s, especially through his collaboration with Christopher Tilley which led to the publication of two influential books: 'Re-Constructing Archaeology' and 'Social Theory and Archaeology' (both 1987). Shanks' first single-authored book, 'Experiencing the Past' (1992), considered the character of archaeological thinking, drawing examples form a wide range of British and European archaeology. During the 1990s, two further monographs - Classical Archaeology of Greece: Experiences of the Discipline (1996) and Art and the Early Greek City State (1999) applied aspects of post-processual thinking to Classical archaeology. He co-authored 'Theatre/Archaeology' (2001) with performance researcher Mike Pearson. Shanks has also authored and co-authored a range of journal articles, including an influential paper on 'the craft of archaeology' in 1996, published in American Antiquity (with Randall H. McGuire).

Current research activities[edit]

Shanks is director of the MetaMedia Lab and co-directs the Stanford Humanities Lab at Stanford University. The Metamedia Lab and the Stanford Humanities Lab, both related to the emerging field of Media studies (which includes such theorists as Lev Manovich and Marshall McLuhan), are pioneering digital arts and human sciences research projects dedicated to promoting cocreation, building large-scale digital collaborative architectures, and experimenting with new approaches to archival practice and visual media.


  1. ^ "Michael Shanks: Resumé". Chorography.stanford.edu. 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 

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