Alumni Services

Schuyler Jones

Schuyler Jones travelled the world before choosing to come to Edinburgh.

Name Schuyler Jones CBE
Degree Course MA Anthropology
Year of Graduation 1965
Schuyler Jones

Your time at the University

I grew up on the plains of Kansas. After World War II I moved to Paris, worked as a photographer for a time and then went to Africa as a freelance photojournalist for four years.

Later I settled in Greece and supported myself in part by translating technical books from German and French to English for a publisher in Germany. In 1958, with an overland journey from Tangier to Cape Town already behind me, I decided to drive from Greece to India and Nepal. This led to a love affair with Afghanistan and, although I didn’t know it at the time, set my foot on the road to Edinburgh.

In the 1960s there were only four British Universities offering first degrees in Anthropology: London, Cambridge, Durham, & Edinburgh. Although I like London I did not want to live there as a student. Cambridge turned me down. I didn’t know anything about Durham, so I applied to Edinburgh.

It turned out to be an excellent choice. I like Scotland and Edinburgh in particular. There were only four of us who were taking Honours in Anthropology and one, later a professor at Swansea, became a life-long friend.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

After graduation I returned to Afghanistan where I had been living since 1958 and began field research in remote valleys of the Hindu Kush in the region known as Nuristan. It was my growing interest in the peoples who lived in the remote valleys of Eastern Afghanistan that confirmed by determination to study anthropology.

If you are then still unclear about your future course but determined to attend university, then study modern languages.

Schuyler Jones

In 1968 I returned to Britain and applied to Oxford to write up my doctoral research under the supervision of Professor E.E. Evans-Pritchard.

In 1970 while completing my thesis I applied to Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum for an Assistant Curatorship and spent the next thirty years in the museum’s Department of Ethnology & Prehistoric Archaeology teaching Cultural Anthropology and working in the museum. I later became Director of the Museum and head of the department.

Upon my retirement I was awarded a CBE in the Birthday Honours. Since retiring I have spent a year back in East Africa and here in the USA have served as an advisor on the Boards of three museums.

Alumni wisdom

Before starting your university studies, be certain you know what you want to do in life. If you are uncertain about the path you intend to follow, then go out and get a job, travel as much as possible, work on overseas projects, see the world.

If you are then still unclear about your future course but determined to attend university, then study modern languages. Given the present state of the world today and the outlook for the future I would recommend Arabic and Mandarin.