John Grahame Douglas Clark (1907- 1995) was educated at Marlborough College and Peterhouse Cambridge, where he was first a research student and subsequently assistent lecturer in archaeology from 1930-46. During World War II he served as a squadron leader in the RAF with a special commission in Air Intelligence and Air History. After the war he became a university lecturer in Archaeology and in 1952 he was appointed as the Disney Professor of Archaeology and Ethnology, which post he held until 1974. From 1973 until 1980 he was Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.
Grahame Clark made a name for himself at an early age. The Mesolithic Age in Britain was published in 1932, followed by The Mesolithic Settlement of Northern Europe in 1935, which was rewritten in 1975. In 1935 he became the first editor of the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, a position he held for 35 years. Under his guidance the Proceedings grew into an internationally renowned and highly appreciated periodical, in which articles covering the British Isles, Europe and beyond appear. His ability to provide the broad overview is also apparent in works such as Prehistoric England (1940 & 1962). In 1939 he published Archaeology and Society (19571/42). In this book Professor Clark laid the foundation for the development of theoretical thinking in archaeology, from which came the impressive series New Directions in Archaeology, published by his Institute at Cambridge.
Not only in his theoretical and written work, but also in his field work, Grahame Clark has won his spurs. Firstly he focused on East Anglia, the region close to Cambridge, where he demonstrated the importance of archaeological investigation of the Fenlands at Peacock’s Farm. His interest in the Mesolithic period led him to excavate at Starr Carr, Yorkshire. These excavations were exemplary in the manner in which all possible sciences related to archaeology were used as part of the work. All of the drawings for the publication in 1954 on this excavation were done by Grahame Clark himself.
Clark’s book Prehistoric Europe – the Economic Basis, published in 1952, has been highly influential on the thinking on prehistoric archaeology far beyond Britain. In this book he expressly pointed the way the use of ethnografical information. The book has been translated into several languages, including Russian and Polish. In 1959 The Prehistory of Southern Africa appeared, followed by World Prehistory – an Outline in 1961 (reprinted in 1962 and rewritten in 1977). Together with Stuart Pigott, Clark wrote Prehistoric Societies (1965), a highly valued survey of European prehistory. Aspects of Prehistory (1970) is the reflection on the lectures he gave at Berkeley.
Grahame Clark’s latest books bear witness to an active life: The Identity of man as seen by an Archaeologist (1982), Symbols of Excellence; Precious Materials as Expression of Status (1986) and a study on Space and Time in History, which appeared in 1991.