Jean Guilaine

Memoirs of a Protohistorian In Search of Peoples Without Writing

Jean Guilaine is professor emeritus at the Collège de France, academic advisor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, and a member of the Institut. Considered one of the preeminent specialists of the Neolithic, he is the author of Les Chemins de la protohistoire and La Seconde Naissance de l’homme [English?].

“I have lived for archeology. I have devoted my energy, my determination to it. I am aware of how privileged I have been to spend all my time exploring, digging, traveling, reporting, writing, teaching, and, of course, learning about that fundamental change that our ancestors undertook in becoming farmers.” J. G.

Having begun in his native Occitania, Jean Guilaine’s passion for archeological research extended to the entire Mediterranean Basin: the Iberian Peninsula, Andorra, Southern Italy, Sicily, Greece, and Cyprus. His focus: the ten millennia that led the last hunter-gatherer societies toward the ancient urbanized world.

Ten protohistoric millennia are thus described and scrutinized here, through the story of a life of science, a story that also describes, not without humor, the path, the vicissitudes, the institutions, and the main characters involved. All of which ultimately culminated in front of an audience at the Collège de France in the teaching of an essential period in the trajectory of humanity, a period whose full significance Jean Guilaine has been able to convey.