Professor Graeme Barker has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Sheffield in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of Archaeology. The degree was conferred on 22 July at a ceremony in Sheffield.
Barker's first academic position after his Cambridge PhD was as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer at Sheffield from 1972 to 1984. While there, he developed many of the themes that would dominate his later work and thought, such as man/animal relationships, the impact of humanity on nature, the lessons to be learned from and our understanding of these relationships. He has continued to pursue these themes in his more recent work in Borneo and in Jordan. Barker's research is now widely recognised as providing the broader context, and deeper-time depth, to recent arguments about humanity’s impact on the environment and climate.
Professor John Moreland, from the Department of Archaeology at Sheffield said: "Graeme has repeatedly demonstrated that there are no simple answers to the question of environment and climate, despite the propensity for present-day generations (politicians and press especially) to look for simple answers about the past to suit modern agendas."
He continued: "Graeme is a passionate advocate of the discipline of Archaeology, and especially of its position as a bridge between the Arts and the Sciences. As he said in his acceptance speech in Sheffield, 'Archaeology is great fun - but it is also the basis for challenging the pedlars of division and xenophobia in the world today'. It was in recognition of his contributions to our understanding of the past, and of his use of that understanding to make a difference to the present, that the University of Sheffield chose to honour one of its most successful and influential former colleagues”.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Archaeology at Sheffield.