Prehistorian best known for his work on the Palaeolithic. American by birth, he was brought to England when he was eleven and privately educated there. Although his family lost their farm in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the Great Depression, McBurney went up to King's College, Cambridge, in 1933 to study archaeology, becoming a British citizen in 1940. He remained at Cambridge as a university lecturer in archaeology and was given a personal Chair in 1977. He worked at numerous sites in North Africa, Britain, and central Asia, and his publications include The Stone Age of northern Africa (1960, Harmondsworth: Penguin) and The Hauna Fteah (Cyrenaica) and the Stone Age of the south-east Mediterranean (1967, Cambridge: CUP).
From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.