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John D. Evans

11 July 2011

Professor John Evans, former Director of the Institute of Archaeology

Institute staff, students, friends and colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Professor John Evans, former Director of the Institute of Archaeology, on 4 July.

John Davies Evans was renowned for his research into the prehistory of the Mediterranean, and especially the prehistoric cultures of Malta, and was Chair of Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute before succeeding Grimes as Director in 1973.

During his time as Director, John established, as part of the Institute, the Field Archaeology Unit (now the Centre for Applied Archaeology), introduced postgraduate training in museum studies as well as successfully adding new academic posts in African Archaeology, Archaeobotany, Ceramic Technology and Quantitative Techniques to the Institute's areas of expertise, in an era of budget cuts to education.

Institute of Archaeology staff, 1980s

John also led the Institute during its incorporation into University College London in 1986. He retired in 1989 and was himself succeeded by David Harris.

John wrote of the first half century - and after - of the Institute of Archaeology in a special issue of the Institute's Bulletin to mark its Golden Jubilee (1987). More recently (November 2009), the Institute hosted an Oral Histories event at which former staff and students shared their memories of their time at the Institute. John was unable to participate but he did give an interview to Stuart Laidlaw at that time, which is available to view below.

Our thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time.

  • The Times' obituary (published 27 July 2011) is reproduced on the Society of Antiquaries website here»
  • The Telegraph's obituary (published 2 September 2011) is available here»
  • The Prehistoric Society In memoriam is available here»