Champion of Australian archaeology and creator of an archaeological knowledge of Aboriginal Australians. Jones grew up Welsh‐speaking amongst the slate tips of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. When his parents moved to Cardiff he attended Cardiff Grammar School before winning a Trevelyan Scholarship to study archaeology at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. On graduating he became one of the last ‘ten‐pound poms’ by migrating to Australia under a scheme where the individual contributed £10 and the Australian government paid the rest of the fare for a one‐way journey. He took a Ph.D. at Sydney University, then moved in 1968 to the Australian National University in Canberra, where he stayed for the rest of his career, becoming Professor of Archaeology in 1993. He carried out fieldwork in Tasmania, excavating the coastal site of Rocky Cape, and in what is now the Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, where, by applying the technique of luminescent dating, he demonstrated that occupation in Australia extended back to 60 000 bc. Amongst his publications is a volume edited with his wife, Betty Meehan, Archaeology and ethnography (1998, Canberra: Australian National University), and Archaeological research in Kakadu National Park (1985, Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service). In the true style of someone who saw his research methods as ‘cowboy archaeology’, Jones was buried in Bungendore cemetery in the bushman's field gear that he loved to wear, including the crumpled shirt and trademark digger's hat.
The Independent, 20 October 2001