Mike Parker Pearson

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Mike Parker Pearson
Born Michael Parker Pearson
1957 (age 56–57)
Nationality English
Other names Michael Parker Pearson
Alma mater University of Southampton, King's College, Cambridge
Occupation Archaeologist
Known for Stonehenge Riverside Project

Michael 'Mike' Parker Pearson, FSA, FSA Scot (born 1957) is an English archaeologist specialising in the study of the Neolithic British Isles, Madagascar and the archaeology of death and burial. A lecturer at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, he has previously worked for 25 years as a professor at the University of Sheffield in England, and was the director of the Stonehenge Riverside Project.[1] A prolific author, he has also written a variety of books on the subject.

Parker Pearson gained his BA in archaeology from Southampton University in 1979. Supervised by Ian Hodder, at university Parker Pearson was a contemporary of Sheena Crawford, Daniel Miller, Henrietta Moore, Christopher Tilley and Alice Welbourn; these students adopted Hodder's structuralist ideas, then a pioneering part of the post-processualist current within archaeological theory. He went on to gain his PhD at the University of Cambridge in 1985, producing a thesis on burials and bog bodies in Iron Age Denmark.

A media personality, Parker Pearson has appeared several times in the Channel 4 show Time Team in particular in one looking at the excavation of Durrington Walls. He also appeared in the National Geographic Channel documentary Stonehenge Decoded, along with the PBS programme "NOVA: Secrets of Stonehenge".[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life: 1957–1985[edit]

Parker Pearson was born in 1957.[3] He would later inform interviewers that he first took an interest in the past when searching for fossils in his father's driveway gravel aged 4, extending that interest into the human past aged 6 when he read a library book entitled Fun with Archaeology.[4] Deciding to study the subject at the undergraduate level, he attended the University of Southampton, attaining a first class BA with honours in Archaeology in 1979.[5]

Parker Pearson became interested in Marxism, the socio-economic and political theory developed in the mid-19th century by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In the 1984 anthology Ideology, Power and Prehistory, edited by Daniel Miller and Christopher Tilley, Parker Pearson published a paper in which he examined the pre-state societies of Jutland from a Marxist perspective. At the start of this paper, he noted that it had repurcussions for Marxism in that its findings discerned "a certain blurring between capitalism and non-capitalism."[6] He obtained his PhD from King's College, University of Cambridge in 1985, for a thesis which he had titled "Death, society and social change: the Iron Age of southern Jutland 200 BC - 600 AD" in which he discussed what was known about the bog bodies of Denmark; it would remain unpublished.[5][7][8]

Early career: 1985–2003[edit]

From 1984 through to 1990, Parker Pearson worked as an Inspector of Monuments for English Heritage,[5] and in 1989 he received membership to the Institute for Archaeologists.[5] In 1990, he secured an academic teaching position at the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sheffield, where he would work for the next 21 years.[5] In 1991 he was admitted as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and in 1996 then became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.[5]

Stonehenge Riverside Project and UCL: 2003–present[edit]

From 2003 through to 2009, Parker Pearson directed the Stonehenge Riverside Project. The project garnered three major archaeological awards: the Andante Travels Archaeology Award (2008), the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries Award (2009), and the UK Archaeological Research Project of the Year (2010).[5] His work in leading the project also led to Parker Pearson being personally awarded the UK Archaeologist of the Year award in 2010.[5]

From 2006 through to 2009, he served as the Vice-President of the Prehistoric Society.[5] Interacting with various parts of the media, Parker Pearson has published articles in a variety of different sources, such as on the BBC website,[8] has given interviews to groups such as Pagans for Archaeology[4] and most recently discussed his career in an interview with Papers from the Institute of Archaeology.[9]

In 2012, Parker Pearson left the University of Sheffield and began teaching at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, as Professor of British Later Prehistory.[5]

Bibliography[edit]

Title Year Co-author(s) Publisher ISBN
Bronze Age Britain 1993 n/a English Heritage and B.T. Batsford 978-0713468564
Architecture and Order: Approaches to Social Space 1994 Colin Richards
(edited volume)
Routledge 978-0415067287
The Archaeology of Death and Burial 1999 n/a Sutton Publishing 978-0890969267
Between Land and Sea: Excavations at Dun Vulan, South Uist 1999 Niall Sharples, Jacqui Mulville, Helen Smith,
(edited volume)
Sheffield Academic Press 978-1850758808
In Search of the Red Slave: Shipwreck and Captivity in Madagascar 2002 Karen Godden Sutton Publishing 978-0750929387
Food, Culture and Identity in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age 2003 British Archaeological Reports 978-1841714950
Fiskerton: An Iron Age Timber Causeway with Iron Age and Roman Votive Offerings 2003 Naomi Field Oxbow 978-1842170649
South Uist: Archaeology and History of a Hebridean Island 2004 Niall Sharples and Jim Symonds The History Press 978-0752429052
Warfare, Violence and Slavery in Prehistory: Proceedings of a Prehistoric Society Conference at Sheffield University 2005 I.J.N. Thorpe
(edited volume)
British Archaeological Reports 978-1841718163
From Stonehenge to the Baltic: Living with Cultural Diversity in the Third Millennium BC 2007 Mats Larsson British Archaeological Reports 978-1407301303
Pastoralists, Warriors and Colonists: The Archaeology of Southern Madagascar 2010 Karen Godden
(edited volume)
British Archaeological Reports 978-1407306803
If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge 2010 Marc Aronson National Geographic Society 978-1426305993
Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Enigma 2012 n/a Simon and Schuster 978-0857207302
From Machair to Mountains: Archaeological Survey and Excavation in South Uist 2012 (edited volume) Oxbow 978-1842174517

External links[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Professor Michael Parker Pearson". Department of Archaeology. University of Sheffield. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "'Secrets of Stonehenge' from PBS's Nova Television Series (2010)". Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Parker Pearson, Michael 1957-". WorldCat Identities. OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Yewtree and Parker Pearson 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j UCL 2012.
  6. ^ Parker Pearson 1984. p. 69.
  7. ^ Parker Pearson 1999. p. 234.
  8. ^ a b Parker Pearson 2011,
  9. ^ Williams and Koriech 2012

Bibliography[edit]