Brian Murray Fagan is an author of popular archaeology books as well as being emeritus professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, U.S..
Professor Brian M. Fagan was born in England. He received his childhood education at Rugby School. He attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology (BA 1959, MA 1962, PhD 1965). He spent six years as Keeper of Prehistory at the Livingstone Museum in Zambia, Central Africa, and moved to the U.S.A. in 1966. He was Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, in 1966/67, and was appointed Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1967.
Prof. Fagan is an archaeological generalist, with expertise in the broad issues of human prehistory. He is the author or editor of 46 books, including seven widely used undergraduate college texts. Prof. Fagan has contributed over 100 specialist papers to many national and international journals. He is a Contributing Editor to American Archaeology and Discover Archaeology magazines, and formerly wrote a regular column for Archaeology Magazine. He serves on the Editorial Boards of six academic and general periodicals and has many popular magazine credits, including Scientific American and Gentleman's Quarterly.
Prof. Fagan has been an archaeological consultant for many organizations, including National Geographic Society, Time/Life, Encyclopdia Britannica, and Microsoft Encarta. He has lectured extensively about archaeology and other subjects throughout the world at many venues, including the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Society, the San Francisco City Lecture Program, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Getty Conservation Institute.
In addition to extensive experience with the development of Public Television programs, Prof. Fagan was the developer/writer of Patterns of the Past, an NPR series in 1984-86. He has worked as a consultant for the BBC, RKO, and many Hollywood production companies on documentaries. In 1995 he was Senior Series Consultant for Time/Life Television's "Lost Civilizations" series.
Prof. Fagan was awarded the 1996 Society of Professional Archaeologists' Distinguished Service Award for his "untiring efforts to bring archaeology in front of the public." He also received a Presidential Citation Award from the Society for American Archaeology in 1996 for his work in textbook, general writing and media activities. He received the Society's first Public Education Award in 1997.
Fagan is critical of non-traditional archaeology, and has written scathing reviews of rivals outside academia. His own stance, that archaeology should remain a compendium of material facts, is influential within the field. This view permits Fagan's well-known textbooks to skirt issues that are controversial or political, including issues regarding gender, migration, and pre-Columbian oceanic voyages. His expository style is a departure from the kind of serious theoretical questioning of an earlier generation of archaeologist, particularly the pre-World War II generation of archaeologists, whose work he encompasses, but whose theoretical leanings he ignores. Critics of Fagan, therefore, point to his similarity with later members of the Boasian school of anthropology, who were more interested in tracking objects on a grid than in explaining similarities among objects found in various places, or denoting how notions of similarity were to be constructed.
Fagan appeared on The Daily Show on March 17th, 2008 to discuss 'climate change and its impact on human history.'