Richard Hodges

is the Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Why is archaeology a good thing for people to know about?

Archaeology brings the spirit of the past and places together, and reveals the thrilling rhythms of history in a material form that is common to all our lives.

The function of the museum in the 21st century is . . .

To open our eyes to other cultures and ideas in an engaging and attractive way. They should be places that cause us to reflect and, refreshed, approach our world and everyday lives with renewed energy.

Quotation to live by:

"Never give in, never give in, never, never, never." - Winston Churchill

Books on my nightstand right now:

The World Is Flat

, by Thomas L. Friedman;

Ariel

, by Sylvia Plath.

Favorite author, fiction:

Ian McEwan.

Favorite author, nonfiction:

Claire Tomalin.

Favorite poet:

Edward Thomas.

Favorite beach reading:

The novels of Sarah Waters.

Author other people praise, but I never liked:

Jacques Derrida.

A book that influenced how I live my life:

A Farewell to Arms

, by Ernest Hemingway.

TV show I'm not ashamed to admit I watch:

The Sopranos

, on HBO and A&E.

TV show I hate to admit I like:

Desperate Housewives

, on ABC.

Favorite comic strip:

The work of Steve Bell, cartoonist for the Manchester Guardian.

Movies I love so much I've watched them more than twice:

Casablanca

;

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

.

Web site I visit regularly:

BBC.

If you turned on my car radio right now, it would be tuned to:

WHYY-FM (90.9), particularly for

BBC World Service

.

Magazine I read regularly:

The Economist.

Favorite type of music:

Classical, particularly 20th-century composers (John Adams, Samuel Barber, Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler, Dmitri Shostakovich).

Last concert/performance attended:

The Philadelphia Orchestra's performance of Mahler's

Symphony No. 8

at the Kimmel Center. Incredible! Philadelphians will regret the retirement of Christoph Eschenbach.

Recording I play when my soul needs a lift:

Elgar's

Symphony No. 1

.

Person in my field I most admire:

Cambridge archaeologist Andrew Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn.

Living person I'd most like to join for dinner:

Nelson Mandela.

Hero from history:

Winston Churchill.

If I had the power to order all the Philadelphia region to read one book, it would be:

Dreams From My Father

, by Barack Obama.

And here's why:

It describes Americans at their very best: daring, honest and inclusive.