Visualising archaeology: Has the past a future?

13th January 2014

J. Vincent S. Megaw

In memory of Stuart Piggott (d. 23 September 1996) and in gratitude to Derek John Mulvaney and Donald Brook, the Three Wise Men in my academic life.

Vincent Megaw aged 7 (published in Australian Archaeology 58:28).

Vincent Megaw aged 7 (published in Australian Archaeology 58:28).


There seem to be no rules, no goals, no bench-marks to help those embarking on inaugural lectures; even that otherwise admirably comprehensive document, the Flinders University Guide to the Academic Staff Performance Review Scheme, avoids a mention of them. So how is it that one can present a vision which is concerned with future time as well as past time, with the visual arts as well as with archaeology, that ‘back-looking curiosity’ as William Camden called it? William Camden, it need hardly be added, was the seventeenth century scholar and identifier of the first British coinage dubbed by the late Glyn Daniel ‘the first great English antiquary’. It was Daniel, the first great Welsh—never English—teledon and certainly the only one regularly to appear in a strip-cartoon, who twenty years ago used the phrase ‘back-looking curiosity’ in the title of his own Inaugural Lecture as Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge (Daniel 1976). And thinking of time, isn’t there something a touch bizarre in a Professor who will not see three score again professing to inaugurate anything?

*Note that an abstract was not included with this paper, and so the introductory paragraph has been included here instead of the abstract.

Megaw, J.V.S.
Visualising archaeology: Has the past a future?
June 1997
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