Beatrice de Cardi

7 July 2016

Beatrice de Cardi

Institute staff, students, friends and colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Beatrice de Cardi on 5 July.

Beatrice de Cardi, OBE, FBA, FSA, who died on 5 July 2016, a month after her 102nd birthday, received a BA from UCL in 1935, before working as Secretary to Sir Mortimer Wheeler at the London Museum where he was then Keeper.

During WWII Beatrice was based with the Allied Supplies Executive of the War Cabinet in China and afterwards worked as Assistant UK Trade Commissioner with the Board of Trade, initially in Delhi, then serving in Karachi and Lahore.

At this time she began her years of pioneering fieldwork, initially in Baluchistan (Pakistan), Afghanistan and Iran and later in the lower Gulf states of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, Oman, Qatar - becoming, by the end of her career, the world’s oldest practising archaeologist.

She was an expert on the pre-Islamic cultures of the Arabian Gulf and Baluchistan publishing her work in the latter region as an Institute of Archaeology Occasional Paper on Archaeological Surveys in Baluchistan, 1948 & 1957.

As well as her work as a field archaeologist, Beatrice also provided inspiration to generations of archaeologists in her role as Assistant Secretary, and later Secretary, from 1949 to 1973, of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) which encouraged and co-ordinated the activities of amateur and professional archaeological societies. In 1976 the CBA established a series of lectures to honour Beatrice's contribution to her field. 

Beatrice de Cardi with David Harris, former Director of the UCL Institute of Archaeology

Beatrice received an OBE for services to British archaeology (in 1973). This was followed by the award of the Al Qasimi Medal for archaeological services to Ras Al Khaimah (in 1989) and the Burton Memorial Medal by the Royal Asiatic Society (1993).

Beatrice was appointed an Honorary Fellow of UCL in 1995 and at the time of her death had been a Visiting Professor at the UCL Institute of Archaeology for many years. The UCL flag is being flown at half-mast from 11-15 July 2016 as a mark of respect.

Beatrice's 100th birthday was celebrated with a special event at the Society of Antiquaries, London in June 2014 at which she was presented with the Society’s Gold Medal for Archaeology while the CBA headquarters in York was renamed Beatrice de Cardi House in her honour.

Our thoughts go out to her friends and family at this difficult time.


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