Archaeology Quotations - A Collection of Quotes about Our Ancient Past

Archaeology Quotations - A Collection of Quotes about Our Ancient Past


  • Douglas Adams on the importance of subsistence.
  • Anonymous movie goers at Raiders of the Last Ark.
  • Arioti and Oxby on the false opposition between food predation and food production.
  • Jane Austen (as Catherine Morland) on the torment of reading history.


  • Paul G. Bahn on Pleistocene art.
  • Paul G. Bahn on bluffing your way to being an archaeologist.
  • Zainab Bahrani on looting at the Iraqi National Museum.
  • Kage Baker imagines Flinders Petrie
  • Chris Ballard on holding out against closure.
  • J. G. Ballard on his fears for the future.
  • Keith Bassett on the New Intellectual.
  • Charles Baudelaire on the pleasure we derive.
  • Charles Austin Beard describes Hari Seldon.
  • Charles Austin Beard on seeing stars.
  • Max Beerbohm on the work of art that is the Past.
  • Ruth Benedict on the purpose of anthropology.
  • John Berger on the effects of postmodernism.
  • Henry Bergson on present effects.
  • Robert L. Bettinger on the persistence of crackpots..
  • Ambrose Bierce's definition of History.
  • Ambrose Bierce defines the Past.
  • Lewis Binford on why he'll never be a quote of the week.
  • A tip on museum management from Bob & Ray.
  • Barbara Bocek on bioturbation.
  • Nurit Bird-David on hunter-gatherers.
  • Tsianina Blackstone on what good friends archaeologists make.
  • Bonnichsen and Steele on why the New World Entrada is so fascinating.
  • C. Loring Brace on what's wrong with standardized tests.
  • C. Loring Brace et al. on the chimerical concept of race.
  • Edward M. Bruner on post-modernist interpretations of tourism.
  • Edward Bulwer Lytton on archaeology and historical romances
  • Octavia E. Butler (as Lauren Oya Olamina) on letting the past go.
  • A.S. Byatt on forms and forces
  • Lord Byron on the usefulness of the past.


  • Calvin on why he'll choose not to be an archaeologist.
  • William Calvin on the human mind's Big Bang.
  • Howard Carter on the good old days.
  • Edward Hallet Carr on history's dialogue.
  • Matt Cartmill on why he became a scientist.
  • C.W. Ceram on archaeology's grandiose tasks.
  • John Chapman on the archaeology of war in the Balkans.
  • Douglas Charles on wearing different shades.
  • Anubha Charan on digging up holy places.
  • Cicero on children.
  • Geoffrey Clark on NAGPRA's fatal flaw.
  • Grahame Clark on wasting one's life.
  • David Clarke on the immutability of archaeology..
  • Michael Coe on small favors.
  • Confucius on diligence.
  • Cyril Connolly on the sweet smell of the past.
  • Norman Cousins with an alarming metaphor.
  • George Cowgill on reasonable alternatives
  • Donald Crabtree on the beauty of projectile point technology.
  • Susan Crate on climate change and advocacy
  • O.G.S. Crawford on the future of archaeology.


  • Glyn Daniel gets a fit of the giggles.
  • Clarence Darrow on what is wrong with history.
  • Charles Darwin on useful observations.
  • Robertson Davies on archaeologists and domestic architecture
  • Kathleen Deagan on the ethnic stew that is Latin America.
  • Warren DeBoer on experiencing Cahokia archaeology
  • Stephen Dedalus (James Joyce) on how he feels about history.
  • Emily Dickinson on an armed past.
  • Tom Dillehay on the first people in South America.
  • Robert A. Dodgshon on the end of time.
  • John Dryden on what has been.
  • A classic insult from Alexandre Dumas (pere)
  • Finley Peter Dunne on why the past looks so good.
  • Will Durant on geological consent.
  • Will Durant on clever things to say.


  • Abba Eben on men behaving wisely.
  • Albert Einstein on the cosmic religious experiences of science
  • Loren Eiseley on melancholy secrets
  • T. S. Eliot on history's cunning passages
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson on personal preferences.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson on the end of the human race.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson on what Varnish is not.
  • Clark Erickson on appropriate technology and sustainable agriculture.


  • Brian Fagan on who really owns the past.
  • Christine Finn on votive offerings at Chaco Canyon.
  • Laurence Flanagan on the rationality of our forebears.
  • K. V. Flannery on killing our informants.
  • Kent Flannery on fun with your pants on
  • Kent Flannery on what the world wants from archaeology
  • Lars Fogelin on tempering the imagination.
  • Foley and Lahr on sweet studies .
  • Henry Ford on why history is bunk.
  • Allie Fox on evolution's little joke.


  • Donna Gabaccia on the immigrant paradigm.
  • Joan Gero on distinguishing the past from the present.
  • Michael Goodchild on maintaining intellectual depth.
  • Stephen J. Gould on creationism.
  • Maxim Gorky on taking the past for a ride.
  • Paul Grobstein on being progressively less wrong.
  • the Guanzi on understanding the present.
  • John Guare on history and amnesia.


  • Heinrich Harke and Bettina Arnold on coping with political reality.
  • L. P. Hartley on our alien past.
  • William Least Heat-Moon on the lack of yesterdays on the road.
  • Robert Heinlein on the effects of ignoring history.
  • Robert Heinlein on human capabilities.
  • Edward F. "Ned" Heite on dirty truths
  • Patrick Henry on the lamp guiding his feet.
  • Heinrich Himmler on doing archaeology right.
  • Jennfier Hochschild on true science.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes on how humans are omnibuses.
  • John Hoopes on the future of the past.
  • Terry Hunt on the genocide on Easter Island
  • Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo on the Rapa Nui Effect.
  • David Hurst-Thomas on the meaning of discovery.
  • Aldous Huxley on living high.
  • T. H. Huxley on choosing one's grandfather.
  • Hypatia of Alexandria on preparation for tomorrow.


  • W. R. Inge on why history is a terrific occupation.
  • Von Igelfeld (Alexander McCall Smith) on German archaeology
  • Glynn Isaac on overextending our enthusiasm
  • Eddie Izzard on small walls
  • Eddie Izzard on the Time Team


  • Shirley Jackson on why there's always been a lottery.
  • Randall Jarrell on seeing the world through gold-colored glasses.
  • B. S. Johnson (Terry Pratchett) on the future of architecture.
  • Andrew Jones on perceiving the Neolithic.
  • Indiana Jones on why archaeology will never make a good movie plot.
  • James Joyce (as Stephen Dedalus) on how he feels about history.
  • Rosemary Joyce on the illusory 'Ancient Maya'.


  • Timothy Kaiser on the politics of archaeology in the Balkans
  • Alice Beck Kehoe on the tolerance of ambiguity.
  • Walt Kelly on the view behind us.
  • Khufu's Law for projects worth doing well.
  • Gusti Kollman on historic ironies.
  • A. L. Kroeber on the charm of anthropology.


  • Stephen H. Lekson on influential mythologies.
  • Jill Lepore on history in seven words.
  • Tea Leoni on how she almost became an anthropologist.
  • Levi-Strauss on the value of the past.
  • Sinclair Lewis on authenticity among scientists.
  • Nathan Light on the mental prison of modern myths.
  • Penelope Lively on howling landscapes.
  • Kristin Lord and Vaughn Turekian on the Diplomacy of Science
  • What George Lucas said when he first saw Tikal.
  • R. Lee Lyman on a seat at the high table in anthropology


  • Domenica Macdonald Alexander McCall Smith on the soft life of some anthropologists.
  • René Magritte on the odors of the present.
  • Max Mallowan on why Agatha Christie married him.
  • Mao ZeDong on the struggles of society.
  • Tommaso Marinetti on our most dangerous prevaricator.
  • William H. Marquardt on unearthing support for archaeology.
  • Lisa Maurizio on the meaning of the Oracle at Delphi.
  • A Maya elder on the importance of remembering the past.
  • Alexander McCall Smith (Prof. Von Igelfeld) on German archaeology
  • John C. McEnroe on discussing the past
  • Herman Melville on the textbook of tyrants.
  • Lynn Meskell on the hope for archaeology.
  • Catherine Morland Jane Austen on the torment of reading history
  • Margaret Murray on a welter of flint chips.


  • Nicholas and Bannister on who owns the future
  • Nietzsche on the chain of the past.


  • Lauren Oya Olamina (Octavia E. Butler) on letting the past go.
  • Michael Ondaatje on unsafely settled places.
  • George Orwell on the control of the past.
  • George Orwell on generational conflicts.


  • Camille Paglia on voyages to the past.
  • Camille Parmesan asks why climate change is insurmountable.
  • William Penn on living with the moderns.
  • Ezra Pound on Kulchur.
  • Philip Phillips on New World variations.
  • Wendell Phillips on the roots of revolution.
  • Plutarch on the difficulty of history.
  • Poyer and Kelly on mystification of the Mikea.
  • Adrian Praetzellis on tolerating ambiguity.
  • Praetzellis on having too much fun.
  • Terry Pratchett on the future of architecture.
  • Ptahhotep on the limits of skill.


  • Joseph Ransdell on the new conception of science.
  • Adrienne Rich on journeys into the past.
  • Clara Dice Roe demonstrates the problems with oral history.
  • Unnamed Roman Emperor on the good life.
  • John Ruskin Laying Stone on Stone
  • Steve Russell on the meaning of the repatriation movement.


  • Jeremy Sabloff on archaeology's role models.
  • Carl Sagan on painful lessons learned.
  • Carl Sandburg on archaeological treasures.
  • Simon Schama on why historians are doomed.
  • Arthur Schlesinger on history's effect on the present.
  • Heinrich Schliemann on the case for Hasserlik.
  • J. William Schopf on the importance of pond scum.
  • Carmel Schrire on why she became an archaeologist.
  • Sellar and Yeatman on what history is.
  • Will Shakespeare on prophesies.
  • Moishe Shokeid on melding anthropologist and informant.
  • Sir Philip Sidney on why poets are better than historians.
  • Maxine Singer on the thread that holds us together.
  • Bruce D. Smith on niches and domestication
  • Susan Sontag on vanishing beauty.
  • Captain Spaulding's (Groucho Marx) greatest contribution to science
  • Stephen Spender on wooden ships
  • John Steinbeck on the literature of science.
  • John Lloyd Stephens on the moral effect of Maya monuments.
  • Clarice Stasz Stoll on collective forgetfulness.
  • Lawrence Straus on interpreting genetic data.
  • Christine Sullivan on the real adventures of Indiana Jones.


  • T. R. Talbott on the dark and stormy end of the Ice Man.
  • Sarah Tarlow on negotiating between rocks and a whirlpool.
  • R. E. Taylor on the two cultures.
  • Walter Taylor in mid-diatribe, quotes Linda Ellerbee.
  • Paul Theroux on evolution's little joke.
  • Henry David Thoreau on unremarkable history.
  • Henry David Thoreau on what to do with ambitious boobies.
  • A. J. Toynbee on using history well.
  • Bruce Trigger on the implications of multiple standpoints.


  • Voltaire on the foundations of history.
  • Voltaire on Ancient Tricks
  • Von Igelfeld (Alexander McCall Smith) on German archaeology


  • Anthony F. C. Wallace asks "When is Now?"
  • Mary Webb on what is invisible and mute
  • Kenneth Weiss on defining evolution
  • Kenneth Weiss on finding hybrids
  • E. B. White on the future of reading
  • Alfred North Whitehead on why knowing the past is useful.
  • James Whitley on fishy ideas.
  • Walt Whitman on the teeming gulf, the infinite greatness of the past.
  • Oscar Wilde on inalienable privileges.
  • Oscar Wilde on our duty to history.
  • Oscar Wilde on the value of archaeology
  • Kate Wilhelm on living with the past.
  • Howard Winters on civilization's components.
  • Leonard Woolley on the effects of business.
  • J.A.A. Worsaae on taking one's country seriously.
  • Ronald Wright on the fascination of cannibalism.



  • Yasumaro on the teachings of the ancients.