Are Archaeologists Autistic? Howard Carter and Elliot Smith

If you’ve been watching the SBS series Tutankhamun it is pretty obvious that Howard Carter has at least a degree of Asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism). So in my opinion did Grafton Elliot Smith, another Egyptologist, famous for dissecting thousands of mummies from the Valley of Kings. As his friend Wood Jones observed: “more than any man that I have ever met, he was indifferent to his surroundings…it might be said with truth that he carried his own environment with him…The only local incidents that affected him were the material objects, such as anatomical subjects, libraries and museums, that happened to be within his reach.” Jones comments that he was not under any romantic spell of Egypt (on which he wrote many works),  but was fascinated “rather because Egypt furnished him with skulls and skeletons and mummies”. When camping out in the desert sands he was completely oblivious to trying conditions such as the flies and heat. He was engrossed in the theoretical implications of his findings for his emerging theory of cultural diffusion. [See Paul Crook, Grafton Elliot Smith, Egyptology and the Diffusion of Culture, especially pp.11-12 on his autism].

ps:  to be fair he was not strictly an archaeologist, but an anatomist with archaeological interests.

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