Who Is Your Archaeological Hero?

As we progress into our second week of digging, we put a question to some of our hard working students: whose work, discoveries and achievements inspired you to get into archaeology, or fueled your interest in the subject? In other words: who is your archaeological hero? 

Max picked our very own Mark Horton as his archaeological hero because he brings a level of humour and charisma to archaeology which he believes all archaeologists should aspire to.


Dijwar's hero is Farouk Ismail who is a lecturer in Syria. Farouk has a vast amount of knowledge on Syrian archaeology and he runs an organisation to protect Syrian archaeological sites called "Sopartu".

Mark looks up to Mick Aston from Time Team because he was so passionate about archaeology. They both share the idea that archaeology concerns everyone and access to it should be made public.

After a shared holiday to Egypt, Tilley and Rosey were inspired by Egyptology in general, and the tomb of Tutankhamun in particular. It contains many of the beautiful artefacts that inspired them to travel in the first place. 

Elsa looks up to Howard Carter, who was the one to discover Tilley and Rosey's favourite archaeological site - Tutankhamun's tomb - she says that this discovery inspired her to look more into the wonderful worlds of Ancient Egypt and archaeology. 

Louise also shares the interest in Egyptology and looks up to Amelia Edwards, who was an important figure in the rediscovery and study of Ancient Egypt. Louise also admires that Amelia founded the first chair of Egyptology at University College London.

Dan admires Adela Breton, a pioneer in archaeology at a time when women were expected to be housewives. Adela excavated several sites in South Africa and painted detailed watercolour records of  Aztec and Mayan tombs, which are some of the only records we have of these tombs today.

Instead of a famous archaeologist from history, Lucy recognised one of her friends as a hero and said that her hero is first-year student Fabien, who always helps her to take heavy buckets full of dirt out of the trench.

We also asked one staff member, Nick Hannon, who his archaeological hero was - he looks up to Alexander Keiller, famous for his work at Avebury, and calls him a rock and roll archaeologist.

People digging in Berkeley have a range of interests and people they look up to. Some recognised famous discoveries, some recognised great social achievements and some were inspired by the enthusiasm and ideas their heroes had. Everyone working here is motivated by great archaeologists, and we are hoping to produce a few of our own!