John Gwynne Evans


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(1941–2005) [Bi]

Pioneering environmental archaeologist. Born in St Albans, Evans attended University College School in London before taking a degree in zoology at Reading University. Following graduation he joined the Institute of Archaeology at London University to work for a Ph.D. on the study of sub‐fossil land snails as a means of reconstructing past environments. This approach proved very successful, and he applied it to soil profiles and archaeological deposits preserved at many prehistoric sites across Britain. Shortly after being appointed to a lectureship in environmental archaeology at University College, Cardiff, in 1970, Evans published his first book, Land snails and archaeology (1972, London: Seminar Press). He became closely involved with the Experimental Earthwork Project, and through the Council for British Archaeology helped organize seminal conferences on the environment of highland and lowland Britain. His Environment of early man in the British Isles (1975, London: Paul Elek) provided essential reading for anyone interested in archaeology, soon followed by the textbook An introduction to environmental archaeology (1978, London: Paul Elek). The Avebury area became the focus of his later research, especially the development of chalkland rivers and alluvial sequences. Evans stayed in Cardiff throughout his academic career, becoming a senior lecturer in 1978, a reader in 1982, and professor in 1994. Following his retirement in 2002 he worked tirelessly on trying to integrate environmental archaeology with broader themes of social archaeology.


The Independent, 24 June 2005

Subjects: Archaeology.

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