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 Chris Scarre

Chris Scarre

Nationality: British

Chris Scarre is a specialist in the prehistory of western Europe, with a particular interest in the archaeology of the Atlantic façade (Portugal, France, Britain & Ireland). He took his MA and PhD at Cambridge, the latter a study of landscape change and archaeological sites in western France. From 1990-2005 he was editor of the Cambridge Archaeological Journal and Assistant (later Deputy) Director of the the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. In January 2006 he took up the position of Professor of Prehistory at the Department of Archaeology at Durham. Chris has participated in fieldwork projects in Britain, France and Greece and has directed excavations at Neolithic settlement and mortuary sites in Portugal and western France. His early work was published in "Ancient France" (Edinburgh University Press 1983). From 1995-2004 he directed (together with French colleagues) a major excavation of the Neolithic long cairn at Prissé-la-Charrière in western France, but in 2001 he took time out from his European research to study the 17th century burial monuments to British traders at Surat in western India, a study which was published (2005) in The Antiquaries Journal. His most recent field project (2006-8) is a study of landscape, visibility and materiality in Portugal. This has involved the excavation of two megalithic chambered tombs (Anta da Lajinha & Cabeço dos Pendentes) coupled with palaeoenvironmental analysis and field survey. He has also completed (2007) an archaeological evaluation of Jethou in the Channel Islands, and has recently been awarded £135K by AHRC for exploration of the buried prehistoric land surface associated with megalithic tombs on the neighbouring island of Herm. This new two-year project will begin in summer 2008. Chris's key research interests are the relationship of prehistoric monuments to their landscape setting; the use of colour in prehistoric societies; and the development and character of early state societies. Recent papers have considered the meanings which prehistoric societies may have attached to natural landscape features in Brittany, and the manner in which those meanings were given material expression through the construction of burial mounds or settings of standing stones. The nature of early farming societies along the Atlantic façade in relation to theories of demographic displacement is reviewed in a number of articles published since 1992. He has also edited "Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe" (London: Routledge, 2002) which includes papers on this theme by British, Irish, French, Iberian and Scandinavian archaeologists. Chris has wide interests within archaeology and is editor of the leading textbook on world prehistory "The Human Past" (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005). He is author with Brian Fagan of the textbook "Ancient Civilizations" (revised third edition New York: Prentice Hall 2007). He has also (with his brother the philosopher Geoffrey Scarre) co-edited a series of essays on "The Ethics of Archaeology" (Cambridge: CUP, 2006). In 2006 Chris was Professeur invité at the Collège de France and was also awarded the Felix Neuburgh Prize (University of Göteborg). In 2007 he was elected a Trustee of the Council for British Archaeology. He is currently one of two external members serving on the Expert Advisory Committee established by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in Dublin to review archaeological policy and practice in the Irish Republic.