The Most Famous

ARCHAEOLOGISTS from United Kingdom

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This page contains a list of the greatest British Archaeologists. The pantheon dataset contains 151 Archaeologists, 31 of which were born in United Kingdom. This makes United Kingdom the birth place of the most number of Archaeologists.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary British Archaeologists of all time. This list of famous British Archaeologists is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of British Archaeologists.

Photo of Howard Carter

1. Howard Carter (1874 - 1939)

With an HPI of 72.65, Howard Carter is the most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 77 different languages on wikipedia.

Howard Carter (9 May 1874 – 2 March 1939) was a British archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered the intact tomb of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun in November 1922, the best-preserved pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Photo of Arthur Evans

2. Arthur Evans (1851 - 1941)

With an HPI of 68.81, Arthur Evans is the 2nd most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Sir Arthur John Evans (8 July 1851 – 11 July 1941) was a British archaeologist and pioneer in the study of Aegean civilization in the Bronze Age. The first excavations at the Minoan palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete began in 1877. They were led by Cretan Greek Minos Kalokairinos, a native of Heraklion. Three weeks later Turkish authorities forced him to stop (at the time, Crete was under Ottoman occupation). Almost three decades later, Evans heard of Kalokairinos' discovery. With private funding he bought the surrounding rural area including the palace land. Sir Arthur began his own excavations in 1900. Based on the structures and artifacts found there and throughout the eastern Mediterranean, Evans found that he needed to distinguish the Minoan civilisation from Mycenaean Greece. Evans was also the first to define the Cretan scripts Linear A and Linear B, as well as an earlier pictographic writing.

Photo of George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon

3. George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon (1866 - 1923)

With an HPI of 61.24, George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon is the 3rd most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, (26 June 1866 – 5 April 1923), styled Lord Porchester until 1890, was an English peer and aristocrat best known as the financial backer of the search for and excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

Photo of Flinders Petrie

4. Flinders Petrie (1853 - 1942)

With an HPI of 58.64, Flinders Petrie is the 4th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie ((1853-06-03)3 June 1853 – (1942-07-28)28 July 1942), commonly known as simply Sir Flinders Petrie, was a British Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and the preservation of artefacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt in conjunction with his wife, Hilda Urlin. Some consider his most famous discovery to be that of the Merneptah Stele, an opinion with which Petrie himself concurred. Undoubtedly at least as important is his 1905 discovery and correct identification of the character of the Proto-Sinaitic script, the ancestor of almost all alphabetic scripts. Petrie developed the system of dating layers based on pottery and ceramic findings. Petrie has been denounced for his pro-eugenics views; he was a dedicated believer in the superiority of the Northern peoples over the Latinate and Southern peoples. He has been referred to as the "father of Egyptian archaeology".

Photo of George Smith

5. George Smith (1840 - 1876)

With an HPI of 56.37, George Smith is the 5th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

George Smith (26 March 1840 – 19 August 1876) was a pioneering English Assyriologist who first discovered and translated the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest-known written works of literature.

Photo of John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury

6. John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834 - 1913)

With an HPI of 56.16, John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury is the 6th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury, 4th Baronet, (30 April 1834 – 28 May 1913), known as Sir John Lubbock, 4th Baronet from 1865 until 1900, was an English banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath. Lubbock worked in his family company as a banker but made significant contributions in archaeology, ethnography, and several branches of biology. He coined the terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" to denote the Old and New Stone Ages, respectively. He helped establish archaeology as a scientific discipline, and was influential in debates concerning evolutionary theory. He introduced the first law for the protection of the UK's archaeological and architectural heritage. He was also a founding member of the X Club.

Photo of Leonard Woolley

7. Leonard Woolley (1880 - 1960)

With an HPI of 55.69, Leonard Woolley is the 7th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Sir Charles Leonard Woolley (17 April 1880 – 20 February 1960) was a British archaeologist best known for his excavations at Ur in Mesopotamia. He is recognized as one of the first "modern" archaeologists who excavated in a methodical way, keeping careful records, and using them to reconstruct ancient life and history. Woolley was knighted in 1935 for his contributions to the discipline of archaeology. He was married to the British archaeologist Katharine Woolley.

Photo of Max Mallowan

8. Max Mallowan (1904 - 1978)

With an HPI of 54.41, Max Mallowan is the 8th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Sir Max Edgar Lucien Mallowan, (6 May 1904 – 19 August 1978) was a prominent British archaeologist and academic, specialising in the Ancient Near East. Having studied classics at Oxford University, he trained in archaeology under Leonard Woolley at Ur and under Reginald Campbell Thompson at Nineveh. He then led a number of archaeological expeditions sponsored by the British Museum and the British School of Archaeology in Iraq. He was the second husband of Dame Agatha Christie, having met during the excavation at Ur in 1930. He served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the Second World War, and then entered academia. He was Professor of Western Asiatic Archaeology at the University of London (1947–1962) and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1962–1971).

Photo of Colin Renfrew

9. Colin Renfrew (b. 1937)

With an HPI of 53.85, Colin Renfrew is the 9th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Andrew Colin Renfrew, Baron Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, (born 25 July 1937) is a British archaeologist, paleolinguist and Conservative peer noted for his work on radiocarbon dating, the prehistory of languages, archaeogenetics, neuroarchaeology, and the prevention of looting at archaeological sites. Renfrew was formerly the Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and is now a Senior Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

Photo of Robert Broom

10. Robert Broom (1866 - 1951)

With an HPI of 52.60, Robert Broom is the 10th most famous British Archaeologist.  His biography has been translated into 27 different languages.

Robert Broom FRS FRSE (30 November 1866 – 6 April 1951) was a British- South African medical doctor and palaeontologist. He qualified as a medical practitioner in 1895 and received his DSc in 1905 from the University of Glasgow. From 1903 to 1910, he was professor of zoology and geology at Victoria College, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and subsequently he became keeper of vertebrate palaeontology at the South African Museum, Cape Town.

People

Pantheon has 34 people classified as British archaeologists born between 1799 and 1942. Of these 34, 2 (5.88%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living British archaeologists include Colin Renfrew, and Meave Leakey. The most famous deceased British archaeologists include Howard Carter, Arthur Evans, and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. As of April 2024, 4 new British archaeologists have been added to Pantheon including John Beazley, John Garstang, and Churchill Babington.

Living British Archaeologists

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Deceased British Archaeologists

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Newly Added British Archaeologists (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Archaeologists were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Archaeologists since 1700.