A tale of two ikons

Paths to complexity in world prehistory

两个图符的故事 - 史前社会复杂化的不同途径

Colin Renfrew 科林·伦福儒
University of Cambridge 英国剑桥大学


From the analysis and interpretation of the sculptures from the early Cycladic Culture and the jade cong-tubes from the Liangzhu Culture, this talk discusses the development of complex societies in world prehistory.


Biographical Sketch

Colin Renfrew received his doctorate in 1965 from the University of Cambridge. After the post as a Lecturer and then Reader at the University of Sheffield (1965-1972) and the Professorship at the University of Southampton (1972-1981), Renfrew was elected in 1981 to the Disney Professorship of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, a post he held until 2004. Professor Colin Renfrew has directed a number of major excavations on the Cycladic islands in Greece. He has made remarkable contributions to Aegean prehistory, origins of linguistic diversity and human cognition, archaeogenetics, and archaeological theory. In addition, Professor Colin Renfrew has been one of the leading figures in the international movement to prevent the illicit antiquities trade and associated looting of archaeological sites. Professor Colin Renfrew has authored numerous books; among them are Before Civilisation: the Radiocarbon Revolution and Prehistoric Europe (1973); Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins (1987), Archaeology: Theories, Methods, and Practice (with Paul Bahn, 1st edition, 1991; 7th edition, 2016); Loot, Legitimacy and Ownership: The Ethical Crisis of Archaeology (2000); Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind (2008); and many co-authored books. Professor Renfrew’s eminent career, made up of both important excavations on the Cycladic islands, influential theoretical insights, and tireless and dedicated efforts in raising public awareness about our endangered cultural heritage, has been rewarded with many distinguished honors, awards and prizes. Among them are Fellow of the British Academy (1980), a life peerage as Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn (1991), Foreign Associate to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (1996), the Latsis Prize of the European Science Foundation (2003), the Balzan Prize (less well known than the Nobel but equally prestigious, 2004), Foreign Honorary Member of the Archaeological Institute of America (2007), and the SAFE Beacon Award (2009). Professor Colin Renfrew was presented to the first SAF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.