A Tale of Two Giants: Wilhelm G. Solheim II (1924–2014) and William A. Longacre Jr. (1937–2015)

P. Bion Griffin
2016 Asian Perspectives  
and William A. Longacre Jr. (1937-015) The history of the beginning of any feld of study is probably most understandable through an examination of the lives of the men and women who were the frst students in that feld than it is through a direct examination of the feld. -Bill Solheim (1969) , introducing his insightful obituary of H. Otley Beyer This essay is not so much an obituary or combined obituaries as a personal appreciation of two archaeologists, Wilhelm G. Solheim II and William A.
more » ... acre Jr., both of whom profoundly affected their home universities, Philippines studies, and the lives of many scholars. For this tale of two giants, I draw on my own and others' memories, writings of others cited herein, and an amazingly detailed vita in my possession covering Bill Solheim's work from 1947 through 1986. This is not a detailed accounting of their many research projects and accomplishments, but instead highlights the latter decades of their careers as they increasingly focused their research on theoretical and topical issues concerning the Philippines. I will attempt to write this accolade in the styles of both men, with the casualness of Bill Solheim and the clarity of Bill Longacre. The lives of the two Bills are intertwined with the Philippines, embedded in the archaeological passions they shared with the students and colleagues with whom they lived and worked. Bill Solheim died in Manila in 014, at age 89. He spent his fnal retirement years at the Archaeological Studies Program (ASP) in the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD), well cared for by ASP staff and his wife, Nene. He died at the university. Likewise, after his retirement from the University of Arizona (UA), Bill Longacre spent a semester every year at UPD until illness caught up with him. Unable to return from his Tucson home to his condominium in Manila after illness setbacks, he died at age 78. Both Bills were truly part of the Philippines and Philippine archaeology and their lives in university settings show some surprising parallels. Bill Solheim told me tales of how he connected with the Philippines long before his prime archaeology days (see also Stark 015). He came off his WWII service in Africa to arrive in Manila in 1949, where he was greeted by H. Otley Beyer, who became his mentor, colleague, and eventually friend. Bill knew he was stepping into
doi:10.1353/asi.2016.0020 fatcat:cyu7are6fnbsfgp4x2nue3bj6m