The Abercromby Chair of Archaeology
Although elements of archaeology had long been taught at Edinburgh University as part of other disciplines, the formal teaching of archaeology began in 1912 with the inauguration of the Munro Lectures. These were endowed by Robert Munro (1835-1920), a distinguished amateur archaeologist who himself delivered the first series of lectures (on 'Palaeolithic Man and Terramara Settlements in Europe'). A Chair of Archaelogy (sometimes referred to as Prehistoric Archaeology) was created in 1925, by means of an endowment from the Hon. John Abercromby (1841-1924), author of the ground-breaking Study of the Bronze Age Pottery of Great Britain and Ireland. The first incumbent of the Abercromby Chair was the Australian scholar Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957).
The Chair of Archaeology was originally located in the Faculty of Arts but in 1993 was transferred to Faculty of Social Sciences. Since the major restructuring of Edinburgh University in 2002, it has been part of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in the College of Humanities and Social Science.
Professors of Archaeology
- 1927-1946: Vere Gordon Childe (1892-1957)
- 1946-1977: Stuart Ernest Piggott (1910-1996)
- 1977-2007: Dennis William Harding
- 2012- : Ian Ralston
A lectureship in Classical Archaeology was instituted in 1932 (the subject having been previously been taught by the Professor of Fine Art). The discipline was initially taught in a separate Department of Classical Archaeology (quite distinct from the Department of Archaeology which focused on Prehistoric Archaeology). In 1987, the department was absorbed into the newly created Department of Classics. When the Department of Archeology was transferred to the Faculty of Social Sciences in 1993, the Department of Classics remained within the Faculty of Arts.
Since major restructuring of Edinburgh University in 2002, Archaeology and Classical Archaeology have been brought together to form the Archaeology unit of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology in the College of Humanities and Social Science. A Chair of Classical Archaeology was established in 2006.
Professors of Classical Archaeology
- 2007- : Jim Crow
- Alexander Falconer Giles, 'The Faculty of Arts', in A. Logan Turner (ed.), History of the University of Edinburgh 1883-1933 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1933), pp. 164-238.
- 'The Tradition of Archaeology at Edinburgh'