Professor Geoff Wainwright

Elected: 2011

Area(s): Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Specialist Subject(s): Archaeology

ob. 6 March 2017

Chairman, Wessex Archaeology; formerly, Chief Archaeologist, English Heritage

The young Geoff Wainwright once nervously approached Dame Kathleen Kenyon to inquire about employment prospects in archaeology. She apparently told him that without an inheritance or private income he had no hope. Luckily, he disregarded her advice and went on to become a big influence on archaeology in Britain and Europe.

Geoff, who has died aged 79, was fascinated by archaeology from an early age and in 1956, while still a student, excavated a Mesolithic settlement at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, two miles from his family home. His early excavations were traditional affairs, but led him to a realisation that empirical research required clearly defined questions, and methods that matched the scale of the problem.

Full obituary by Professor Timothy Darvill is available on