Tributes to
J. Desmond Clark


Desmond Clark's contributions to African archaeology are, to say the least, legendary. Not only was he a walking encyclopedia of knowledge regarding the continent's prehistory, having worked in virtually every nook and cranny of its surface on material ranging from Lower Paleolithic to Neolithic times, but in so doing he also recruited legions of Africanist students who carried forth his numerous specific research projects and sustained his many broad research agendas, such as his interest in ethnoarchaeology and his concern with the articulation of culture and environment. Behind all of this there lay an aspect of Desmond's personality that I regard as truly heroic; this was his profound and abiding love for African archaeology, as illustrated by his participation at conferences, such as the Panafrican gatherings, the biennial meetings of the Society for Africanist Archaeology and the Dymaczewo conference on the prehistory of northeastern Africa. On all such occasions, Desmond could be seen in the front rows of virtually every session, certainly the plenary ones, listening with avid attention and, at the end of each presentation, raising penetrating questions and/or making highly pertinent follow-up comments. Of course, this show of genuine interest was encouraging to the presenters, especially the neophytes, and energizing for all participants. But it also left an ineradicable impression of a man completely absorbed by his intellectual passion.

-John R. F. Bower, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Minnesota, Duluth.