Richard John Copland Atkinson


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(1920–94) [Bi]

British archaeologist and academic, well known for his excavations in Neolithic and Bronze Age sites. Born in Dorset and educated at Sherborne School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read PPE. As a Quaker he was a non‐combatant during WW2, employed instead on ditch‐digging and hospital duties. In 1944 he returned to Oxford as Assistant Keeper of Archaeology in the Ashmolean Museum. Almost immediately he began excavating at Dorchester‐on‐Thames, later with help from Stuart Piggott. In 1949 he was appointed to a lectureship in archaeology at Edinburgh University, and in 1958 became the first Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff where he remained until his retirement in 1983. Throughout these years he was active in the field, excavating at Stonehenge in 1953–6, the West Kennet long barrow with Piggott in 1955–6, and at Wayland's Smithy in 1962–3. In 1968–9 he undertook an examination of Silbury Hill under the watchful eye of the BBC television cameras. University administration was a call on his time later in life: between 1966 and 1970 he was Dean of Arts at Cardiff and between 1970 and 1974 he was Vice‐Principal of the University. This stood him in good stead for being a member of the University Grants Committee between 1973 and 1982. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1946 and appointed a CBE in 1979. At the time of his death many of his excavations remained unpublished, but this has since been rectified through the diligent work of his successors at Cardiff.


British Archaeological News, NS 18 (November 1994), 11

Subjects: Archaeology.

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