British archaeologist who specialized in the Roman period. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, he was educated at Ruthin School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford, before spending two years (1924–6) at the British School in Rome. Here he developed an interest in Roman military architecture and the methods of the Roman army. This was to form the theme of his research throughout his life. He also gained practical archaeological experience working for Mortimer Wheeler at Segontium in Wales. From 1926 to 1930 he was a lecturer in classical archaeology at the Queen's University, Belfast. In 1930, however, he returned to Italy as Director of the British School in Rome. Two years later he had to retire because of ill health and for nearly three years he was without a post. In 1935 he was appointed to a lectureship in Romano-British history in the University of Durham, where he remained with only a brief break for National Service until 1956. He was given a personal Chair in 1950, and during his 21 years at Durham carried out numerous excavations along Hadrian's Wall and other sites in the vicinity. In 1956 he was translated to Oxford as the first holder of the Chair in the Archaeology of the Roman Empire. He was knighted in 1964. During his life he published many books and articles, notably Roman Britain (Penguin, 1955) and, together with R. G. Collingwood, The archaeology of Roman Britain (Methuen, 1930, with several revisions). He also held many offices in learned societies, including that of President of the Society of Antiquaries of London from April 1964 until his death.
From The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology in Oxford Reference.