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MacGillivray, J.A.

MacGillivray, J.A.
(Joseph Alexander MacGillivray)




Archaeologist. Has participated in digs in Crete for the British School of Archaeology in Athens, including as an assistant director.


Knossos: Pottery Groups of the Old Palace Period, British School at Athens (London, England), 1998.

(Editor, with J.M. Driessen and L.H. Sackett) The Palaikastro Kourous: A Minoan Chryselephantine Statuette and Its Aegean Bronze Age Context, British School at Athens (London, England), 2000.

Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth (biography), Hill & Wang (New York, NY), 2000.


Archaeologist J.A. MacGillivray has been involved in a number of digs on the island of Crete, including investigating the remains of the Minoan civilization. His predecessor, Sir Arthur Evans, who created some of the academic posts now held by MacGillivray, is the subject of the latter's biography, Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth. Evans, who passed away in 1941, accomplished a great deal in his lifetime: he is considered the chief archaeologist to discover the Minoan civilization, was a humanitarian who pushed for aid in the Balkans, influenced the creation of the state of Yugoslavia after World War I, and was an expert on ancient coins and Celtic art. MacGillivray, however, paints a dark picture of Evans, accusing him of being a racist proto-Aryan who was a mediocre scholar and egotist. Peter Warren, a University of Bristol scholar, strongly condemned MacGillivray's negative portrayal of Evans in an English Historical Review assessment of the biography. Asserting that the evidence does not support MacGillivray's view, Warren pointed out, for example, that "Evans's anti-Austrian position in 1882, because of their oppression of the Slavs, clearly does not fit the Aryanism attributed to him by MacGillivray." Going through the book page by page, the critic had a rebuttal for many of the author's assertions about Evans and concluded that MacGillivray's biography is severely unbalanced: "[We] end up with an unjustifiable and unpersuasive picture of an unpleasant high achiever." Although Warren admitted that the "author's final verdict on Evans is not wholly ungenerous," he recommended the 1943 Joan Evans biography Time and Chance over the MacGillivray book.



Antiquity, March, 2001, Neil Brodie, review of The Palaikastro Kourous: A Minoan Chryselephantine Statuette and Its Aegean Bronze Age Context, p. 201.

English Historical Review, September, 2001, Peter Warren, review of Minotaur: Sir Arthur Evans and the Archaeology of the Minoan Myth, p. 912.*

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