British pioneer in the study of European prehistory. Educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, where he read Greats, he graduated in 1928 and the same year was appointed to a post in the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities in the British Museum. His interest in excavation and in the Iron Age in particular had already been kindled through involvement in 1925–8 with excavations at St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. During WW2 he took up duties in the Ministry of Aircraft Production, returning to the British Museum briefly in 1945. A year later he was appointed as the first holder of the Chair of European Archaeology at Oxford, and was elected a Fellow of Keble College. He remained in the post until his retirement in 1972. While there he worked to develop a truly international view of prehistory. He also promoted the interests of scientific archaeology, was one of the founding fathers of the establishment of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford, and invented the term ‘archaeometry’. He worked closely with both his wives, first Jacquetta Hawkes (née Hopkins) and later Sonia (née Chadwick).
From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.