Irish archaeologist born in Co. Cork, the son of a moderately wealthy landowner. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he was a flamboyant student who regarded himself as English because of family connections several generations earlier. While at Trinity he began work developing the Cycle of Development, which was a framework for understanding the way that human societies developed under broadly similar conditions. In 1867 he published a Handbook of archaeology, the first such volume of its kind, and later he produced works on Irish round towers. His most enduring contribution to scholarship was his definition and proposed introduction in 1872 of the term Mesolithic as the technologically recognizable phase between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic. It was not until 1893 and the work of J. A. Brown, however, that the term found its way into wider archaeological literature.
Antiquity, 57 (1983) 205–10