Institute of Archaeology


John Clark - Honorary Reader

John Clark

John Clark joined the staff of Guildhall Museum (City of London) in 1967, and worked on the project for its incorporation with the London Museum to form the Museum of London in 1976. As well as contributing to the design of the Museum of London's first medieval gallery and overseeing the amalgamation of the two museums' medieval collections, he also initiated and supervised the digitisation of the Medieval Department collections database from 1986-94.

He carried out various projects focused on updating the medieval gallery (1996-99), particularly the Anglo-Saxon London displays, and produced a number of temporary exhibitions, including 'Alfred the Great 849-899: London's forgotten king' (1999) and 'Chaucer's Londoners: "a compaignye of sondry folk"' (2000). He was the lead curator on a project to create the Museum's new Medieval London gallery, which opened in 2005 and has contributed over many years to the Museum's collections development; public enquiry and access services; public programmes; and educational activities. He retired in 2009, with the title of Curator Emeritus.

John has served on a number of external committees, including the Society for Medieval Archaeology and the Standing Conference on London Archaeology, and as Honorary Secretary and later Chairman of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society; he is currently on LAMAS's Archaeology Committee and on the board of the Association for the History of Glass.

Nowadays he continues to conduct personal research, gives lectures on a variety of topics to local societies, and contributes papers to academic conferences and research seminars.

Research Interests

  • Medieval London archaeology and history
  • Medieval and post-medieval horse equipment
  • Medieval finds from rivers as examples of 'special deposits'
  • Relationships between archaeology, folklore and medieval history
  • Geoffrey of Monmouth and the legendary history of Britain

Selected recent publications

  • 'Geoffrey of Monmouth and the case of the Walbrook skulls' London Archaeologist 15.4 (Spring 2018) 99-102
  • 'Trojans at Totnes and Giants on the Hoe: Geoffrey of Monmouth, historical fiction and geographical reality' Rep Trans Devonshire Ass Advmt Sci 148 (2016) 89-130
  • 'Londoners at arms: from the Viking wars to the Wars of the Roses' Trans London Middlesex Archaeol Soc 61 (2011) 235-43
  • 'London Stone: Stone of Brutus or fetish stone - making the myth' Folklore 121.1 (April 2010) 38-60
  • '"Fanciful ichnography": William Stukeley's maps of (?) Roman London' in John Clark, Jonathan Cotton, Jenny Hall, Roz Sherris and Hedley Swain (eds) Londinium and Beyond: Essays on Roman London and its Hinterland for Harvey Sheldon Council for British Archaeology Research Report 156 (York: Council for British Archaeology 2008) 4-10
  • 'London Bridge and the archaeology of a nursery rhyme' London Archaeologist 9.12 (Spring 2002) 338-40
  • 'Late Saxon and Norman London: Thirty years on' in Ian Haynes, Harvey Sheldon & Lesley Hannigan (eds) London Under Ground: The Archaeology of a City (Oxford: Oxbow Books 2000) 206-22
  • The Medieval Horse and its Equipment c1150-c1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London: 5) (London: HMSO 1995; new edn, Woodbridge: Boydell Press 2004; repr 2011)
  • 'Trinovantum - the evolution of a legend' J Medieval Hist 7 (1981) 135-51