Saturday, June 3, 2017

Fantastic Archaeologist

My uncle Stephen Williams — my father’s twin — passed away yesterday.  He was an archaeologist by profession and passion.  His idea of a fun afternoon was poking around a ruin on a New Mexico mesa, and his love of history and scholarship was infectious.  He was my inspiration to become a scholar, and he bought me my cap, gown, and hood when I received my PhD in 1988.  He introduced me to Tabasco sauce, Santa Fe, Pontiac station wagons (ours was green, his was red) and the intricate streets surrounding Harvard, where he was a professor for forty years.

In 1991 he published “Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory” in which he debunked some of the more outrageous pseudoarchaeological myths such as Atlantis, Mu, and visits by aliens leaving calling cards.  He wistfully said that it would be great if the science was all Indiana Jones, but in reality it’s a lot of intricate exploration and piecing together the history of our civilization bit by bit.

He leaves his loving wife Eunice and sons John and Tim, two grandsons, and his brother who shared that bond that only twins can know of.


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