Michael Shanks (archaeologist)
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Michael Shanks (born 1959, Newcastle upon Tyne) is a British archaeologist specializes 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 U.S. in 1999 to take up a Chair in Classics at Stanford University.
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 books: Re-Constructing Archaeology and Social Theory and Archaeology (both 1987). His first single-authored book, Experiencing the Past was published in 1992.
In 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
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.
Michael Shanks lives in Northern California with his two children, Benjamin and Molly, who attend schools in Palo Alto, and his wife, Helen Shanks, a ceramic artist and former head of visual and performing arts at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. He taught Latin, Greek and Classical Studies at Whitley Bay High School from 1983-88.