Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn

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Andrew Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, Ph.D., FBA, FSA, HonFSAScot (b. July 25, 1937 in Stockton-on-Tees) is a prominent British archaeologist and highly regarded academic, noted for his work on radiocarbon dating, the prehistory of languages, archaeogenetics, and the prevention of looting at archaeological sites. He developed the Renfrew Hypothesis, which argues that Proto-Indo-Europeans lived 2,000 years before the Kurgans, in Anatolia, later diffusing throughout the Mediterranean and into Central and Northern Europe. This hypothesis contradicted the work of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas who, as early as 1958 in an article entitled "Culture Change in Europe at the Start of the Second Millennium B.C. A Contribution to the Indo-European Problem" had postulated that the Indo-Europeans had migrated into Europe from the north, leading to the demise of the Goddess worshipping cultures of Old Europe.

Along with fellow Archaeologist Paul Bahn, Renfrew has come up with the 'Renfew and Bahns indicator of Religion and Ritual', a definition to determine whether the actions or conducts of Archaeological civilizations were a religious ritual. Professor Renfrew was formerly the Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and is now a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

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Biography

Renfrew was educated at St Albans School, Hertfordshire (where one of the houses is named after him) and from 1956 to 1958 did National Service in the Royal Air Force. He then went up to St John's College, Cambridge where he read Archaeology and Anthropology, graduating in 1962. In 1965 he completed his PhD thesis "Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the Cyclades and their external relations" and in the same year married Jane M. Ewbank.

In 1965 he was appointed to the post of lecturer in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. Between 1968 and 1970, Renfrew directed excavations at Sitagroi, Greece. In 1968 he unsuccessfully contested the Sheffield Brightside parliamentary constituency on behalf of the Conservative Party. In that year he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, in 1970 was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and in 2000 elected an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

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