Lew Binford is Dead

Archaeologist Lew Binford has died at the age of 79 at his home in Kirksville, Mo. He died of a a heart attack.

I knew Lew a little, having spent some time with him while I was in graduate school, and having met him at the occassional conference (he was famous for NOT going to conferences very often by the time the 1980s rolled around).

Lew was a dick, a very smart guy, and probably had as much influence on archaeology as any other individual. Those who have taken classes from me know that I’ve got a few stories to tell about him. But not now.

RIP Lew Binford. May your bones be dug up some day by someone with a strong grounding in Middle Range Theory.

Comments

  1. #1 Richard Davies
    April 23, 2011

    I heard about this a few days ago via John Hawks and I am stunned that there seem to be so few obituaries for him.

    Like him or loathe him his work has been a key component of every undergraduates experience of archaeology and I was sad to hear he had gone.

    As much as Archaeological theory was supposed to have ‘moved on’ from him and his ilk, as someone who studies the Lower Pal, his work is still of much more use in the data poor context of this period.

  2. #2 Eileen
    April 23, 2011

    Aww, I loved him. His theories may have been dickish, but if nothing else he induced some excellent research in the mad scramble to prove him wrong.

  3. #3 Eric O
    April 24, 2011

    I’m sorry to hear that. I don’t agree with all of his ideas, but I certainly have a deep respect for him. He had a profound (and overall positive) effect on archaeology as a field.

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