Colin Renfrew is an eminent British archaeologist, whose career began in 1962 when he graduated from St John's College, Cambridge where he had read Archaeology and Anthropology. His PhD thesis "Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of the Cyclades and their external relations" was completed in 1965. He was appointed lecturer in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of Sheffield and in 1968 was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Between 1968 and 1970, Renfrew directed excavations at Sitagroi, Greece. In 1970 he was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Renfrew succeeded Barry Cunliffe as Professor of Archaeology at the University of Southampton in 1972. He directed excavations at Quanterness in Orkney and Phylakopi on Milos, Greece. In 1973, he challenged the assumption that cultural change had spread to prehistoric Europe from the Near East. In 1987, Renfrew published his hypothesis relating to the migration of the Proto-Indo-Europeans in Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of the Indo-European Origins .
Renfrew's significant work led to his election as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1980. In 1981 he was elected to the Disney Professorship of Archaeology in the University of Cambridge and served as Master of Jesus College from 1986-1997. He was appointed Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in 1990 and elected a life peer in 1991 as Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn. He retired from the University in 2004 but continues to enjoy the study and interest of archaeology.
From the guide to the Colin Renfrew Archive, 1950s-, (Specialist Collections and Archives, University of Kent)