• Jennifer French (UCL Institute of Archaeology, London WC1H 0PY GB)


Several distinguished archaeologists who had close links to the Institute have died during the past year. Brief obituaries are given here and reference made to some of the obituaries available elsewhere.

How to Cite: French, J. (2020). Obituaries. Archaeology International, 22(1).

Rights: © 2019 The Author(s)



Published on
17 Jan 2020

Lamia Al-Gailani Werr (1938–2019)

Dr Lamia Al-Gailani Werr (Figure 1) an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Archaeology was an expert in the art of ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seals and a lynchpin in the revival of Iraq’s museums since the 2003 war.

Figure 1
Figure 1

Lamia Al-Gailani Werr (centre right, in white jacket) with colleagues from Friends of Basrah Museum and the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, at Basrah Museum, September 2016 (Photo: Basrah Museum).

Iraqi women of Lamia’s background were not expected to have careers. She was born into one of the wealthiest and most influential families in Baghdad, descendants of the Sufi theologian Abdul-Qadir Al-Gailani and keepers of his shrine. She was sent to the UK to learn English in preparation for marriage but returned with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Cambridge (1960). She then worked for the Iraq Museum, preparing for the opening of its current building in 1966. Some of the cylinder seals she chose for the galleries are now back on display there.

Lamia did then marry, combining motherhood with an academic career. She raised three daughters, Azzah, Noorah, and Hesn, and in 1977 completed a PhD at the Institute of Archaeology, supervised by Rachel Maxwell-Hyslop (Al-Gailani 1988). This and later research on small-scale Mesopotamian art was crucial in bringing international attention to artefacts excavated by Iraqi archaeologists (e.g. Al-Gailani Werr 1992). She also founded and ran a small publishing house in London, named after Nabu, Babylonian god of wisdom, to publish Iraqi archaeological research. Ten years ago, she began a major archival project on the history of the Iraq Museum, which remains incomplete.

After the 1991 Gulf War, when international sanctions were imposed on Iraq, Lamia increasingly attended to the plight of colleagues in Baghdad. Her efforts redoubled with the 2003 Iraq War, when her beloved Iraq Museum was looted and many colleagues feared for their lives. With Harriet Crawford, she also set up the British Institute for the Study of Iraq’s Visiting Scholarships Programme, still running today, which offers bespoke training and research placements in the UK for Iraqi heritage professionals. In 2009, BISI awarded her the Gertrude Bell Medal for services to Iraqi archaeology, much of it unsung and behind the scenes.

At the time of her death in January 2019, Lamia was conducting a training course in Amman for staff of Basrah Museum, part of an ongoing project for which she had also helped select artefacts for display. When the museum’s new galleries opened a few months later, the cylinder seals she had chosen took pride of place. Lamia is buried in the Gailani shrine in Baghdad.

Eleanor Robson

Further obituaries can be found at:

Arthur ApSimon (1927–2019)

Arthur ApSimon was an archaeologist and prehistorian best known for his work on Neolithic and Bronze Age Ireland and southern England, and who excavated widely, from Palaeolithic sites to a Romano-Celtic temple.

He was taught by Gordon Childe and Frederick Zeuner at the London Institute of Archaeology, in its original location of St John’s Lodge, Regent’s Park. One of his first publications (in the Institute’s 10th Annual Report, 1954) was a study of “Wessex Culture” graves, which built on Stuart Piggott’s pioneering analysis and kept its relevance until overtaken by the results of new excavations and radiocarbon dating.

He went to teach at Queen’s University Belfast, where he impressed students with his ability to embrace a wide range of subjects, from lithic technology to excavation and survey. At this time, he directed a ground-breaking rescue excavation at Ballynagilly, Co. Tyrone (1966–70), where he recorded the foundations of a rectangular house of early Neolithic date, parts of whose split oak planks had been preserved under peat. It was the first such house to have been identified in Ireland or Britain, and remained one of very few until a growth in excavation after the introduction of new planning regulations in the 1990s.

In 1970, he moved to the Department of Archaeology at the University of South-ampton, where he stayed until retirement. He continued to excavate, at Palaeolithic sites including Picken’s Hole (Somerset), King Arthur’s Cave (Herefordshire) and Red Barns (Hampshire), and, at Brean Down (Somerset), a Roman temple, whose uncovering was described by Philip Rahtz, a near-contemporary excavator, as “meticulous”. He brought to publication Ernest Greenfield’s excavation of a prehistoric settlement in Cornwall, at Trevisker, St Eval, his analysis lending the site’s name to a distinctive type of Bronze Age pottery. He was President of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, and Editor of the Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club.

I remember Arthur most for his presence at my first excavation at Stonehenge, in 1979, conducted while I was working on my never-to-be submitted Institute PhD. I had to mount an urgent rescue dig with no funds. Arthur arranged for Southampton’s departmental minibus to drive up daily for a couple of weeks, with tools, volunteer students and himself. He gave me the moral support I needed in the face of establishment cynicism, and took an impish delight in what for all of us felt like a slightly subversive project. Figure 2 shows him on the dig.

Figure 2
Figure 2

Arthur ApSimon excavating at Stonehenge (Photo: Mike Pitts).

Mike Pitts

Further obituaries can be found at:

Henry Cleere (1926–2018)

Henry (Figure 3) worked in the steel industry for nearly twenty years before finding his calling and switching to archaeology. He swiftly became Director of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA), from 1974 to 1991, and during this time married his past experience with archaeology by completing a PhD on the iron industry of Roman Britain at the UCL Institute of Archaeology in 1980. While at the CBA, Henry became deeply involved in archaeological heritage management and in 1981 was elected a member of the international ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Executive Committee, on which he served for nine years. Henry played a major role in the creation of the ICOMOS International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) in 1984, and was a prime mover in drafting the 1990 ICOMOS Charter on Archaeological Heritage Management. In 1992, Henry became the World Heritage Coordinator for ICOMOS in Paris.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Henry Cleere (Photo: International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)).

After “retiring” in 2002 Henry became an active consultant on heritage management, particularly with regard to World Heritage, undertaking frequent missions across the globe. He became the World Heritage Advisor to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China, and Senior Advisor to the Global Heritage Fund. He was also a founder member and first Secretary General of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA).

During his career, Henry wrote extensively on many aspects of heritage management, and especially the World Heritage Convention (e.g. Cleere 2010, 2011, 2014). He received many honours; the European Heritage Award (2002), Conservation and Management Award of the Archaeological Institute of America (2010), and the International Yellow River Friendship Prize for outstanding contribution to the safeguarding of Chinese Cultural Heritage (2012). In 2015, he was awarded ICOMOS’ highest honour, the Gazzola Prize.

Henry had long-standing links to the UCL Institute of Archaeology and retained a great fondness for the ‘Godless establish-ment on Gower Street’. He was an Honorary Professor of Archaeological Heritage Management from 1998 and Principal Consultant in Heritage Management and World Heritage at the Institute’s Centre for Applied Archaeology. He was a great lecturer on the MA Managing Archaeological Sites course, where many students will remember fondly his long anecdotal stories of the World Heritage nomination process; very much warts and all!

I worked with Henry on the Serial Transnational Silk Roads World Heritage nomination project and he was instrumental in developing the Concept Paper (Cleere 2006) which drove the project forward. He was the one of the most encouraging people I have ever known; supporting all the people and organisations that he worked with across China and Central Asia, encouraging people to develop their own approaches, and always generous with his advice and acerbic wit. Henry was a source of huge inspiration and support for generations of archaeologists actively engaged in the management of heritage. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on in the sites he helped to protect and the people he inspired across the world.

Tim Williams

Further obituaries can be found at:

Jane Hubert (1935–2019)

Memorials are a time at which the different threads of a person’s life and work are brought together for recollection, reflection and celebration. The memorial held for Dr Jane Hubert, Social Anthropologist and Honorary Senior Research Associate, UCL Institute of Archaeology, was remarkable in that a love of horses, of poetry, of family, of friends, of intellectualism, of humour, of sculpture, of diverse cultural-spiritual worldviews, were seamlessly woven together with Jane’s underlying, core concern with social justice. To quote, – as Jane often did, – fellow anthropologist Mary Douglas, her affinities and affiliation were with those ‘left out in the patterning of society’. Led by Jane’s tremendous sense of empathy with the marginalised, stigmatised and dispossessed, her own life and work were thus patterned by her tenacious advocacy and academic-activist interventions vis-à-vis such constituencies.

Family, friends and colleagues speaking at the memorial iterated these strands of Jane’s various ‘personas’ – distinguished by both academic achievements – and by Jane’s critical as well as creative approach to life and work. Jane’s academic career is best articulated as a series of ground-breaking research she was, to coin a phrase, ‘ahead of her time’. An outstanding Oxford University Psychology and Philosophy graduate, Jane went on to train as a social anthropologist, before working on a pioneering study of East End families at LSE. Most people at the IoA, however, came to know Jane as the partner of former Director Professor Peter Ucko and in her role in the World Archaeological Congress (WAC). Here another strand of her work nurtured during her time at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (now the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) concerns indigenous rights, human remains and sacred sites (Hubert et al. 1997; 2004) — agendas that continue to shape the movement towards a ‘one world archaeology’ and more generally shape the politically wrought domain of heritage.

I had the great pleasure and privilege of working with Jane on the IoA’s intensive Cultural Memory course that featured yet another strand of her work: that of health research. Having undertaken research in community medicine at Southampton University Jane later became senior researcher at St George’s, University of London. Jane pursued anthropological perspectives on issues of mental health, severe intellectual disability and the dehumanising effects of medical regimes, notably vis-à-vis institutionalisation (Hubert 2010; 2016). Every year Jane captured the students’ attention, imagination and intellect. Her ritual was to come into the lecture room and place a sculpture that she had created herself in front of the students. Clearly a depiction of suffering, the sculpture was of a human figure curled into a foetal position. Jane used this as a shared object of empathy to connect students with Jane’s alternative ‘interlocutors’: it allowed her to pose the question: “how can we write the history and think about the memory of those without speech?’’ It was then an apt tribute to Jane that on her death former Cultural Memory students got in touch to describe her as an ‘unforgettable’ and ‘inspiring’ teacher (Figure 4). In a final connecting thread – Jane’s body was laid to rest in Highgate cemetery next to that of Peter Ucko – fittingly her hearse was led by two plumed horses.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Jane Hubert and one of her sculptures used in her teaching practice (Photo: Jane Hubert).

Beverley Butler

Further obituaries can be found at:

Ann Kendall (1939–2019)

Ann Kendall (Figure 5) was a pioneer of applied archaeology, working with communities in Peru to bring ancient canals and terracing back into production. Born in 1939, she grew up in Brazil, before being sent to school in England. She was an adept artist who studied painting in Paris before returning to Brazil where her sketches of coastal scenes and local fishermen formed an exhibition in São Paulo. In 1963, she enrolled at the Central School of Art in London and wrote her dissertation on Inca architecture and design. There she also met her husband, Colin Cannon, a university art lecturer. Ann came to the Institute of Archaeology to study for a PhD under Prof. Warwick Bray. This culminated in an influential thesis and publication that outlined the principles of Inca Architecture, design, stonemasonry, function and chronology, with a focus on the Inca settlement plan in the Cusichaca valley.

Figure 5
Figure 5

Ann Kendall (Photo: Senate House Library).

In 1977, Ann established the Cusichaca Project which used archaeological research to inform rural development work. Ann’s enthusiasm and focused determination overcome any barriers, whether it was the physically demanding terrain, bureaucratic obstacle, community politics, or funding constraints, as she drew together a formidable team of loyal supporters, including the British Army who helped set up and run the site camp and survey work for several years. For over a decade Cusichaca became one of the largest multi-disciplinary projects in the Peruvian Andes, undertaking archaeology, ecology, ethnography and rural development work with innovative forms of community engagement. In the late 1970’s the government in Peru undertook radical reforms that reallocated much of the hacienda lands, often held by absentee landowners, to local communities. This provided an ideal opportunity for Ann to work with Chamana to help develop their community lands. At the same time, the Peruvian National Institute of Culture was developing the ‘Inca Trail’ for tourism and Ann worked with them to inform heritage policies that integrated an emerging concern to preserve the Inca terrace systems with the right of local people to maintain and use these for agricultural production. Rural development work became the focus of the Cusichaca Trust which undertook a range of activities focusing on the investigation and rehabilitation of ancient agricultural systems. This work benefited from, and contributed to, many communities often in the most remote parts of Peru which had suffered from the violence during the period of the ‘Shining Path’ insurgence and military backlash, funded through organisations such as the UK Department for International Development, the National Lottery, and International Development Bank.

Ann was most proud and passionate about her rural development initiatives and she published about these as well as her archaeological research. The Cusichaca Archaeological Project provided a formative experience for many students from the IoA, UK, Peru and USA, a large number of whom have gone on to lead commercial archaeology, research and heritage work in different parts of the world. Ann was an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Archaeology, which she always considered her academic and intellectual base. Before her death, Ann agreed for the archive of the Cusichaca Trust, incorporating the papers, photographs, plans etc. from the work of both the Archaeological Project and development work, to be given to Senate House Library, University of London. These papers have now been catalogued, conserved and accessioned for use by future researchers, and the intention is to digitise much of the archive to facilitate greater access. Ann was awarded the Order of Merit by the Peruvian Government in 1980 and in 1994 received an O.B.E. for her contribution to overseas development work. In recent years Ann was living in Spain with developing dementia, supported by her son Paul and sister Sarita.

Bill Sillar

Further obituaries can be found at:

Norah Moloney (1945–2018)

Norah undertook her Masters in Archaeology (1986) and PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology (1994) at UCL, then taking on the role of part-time College Teacher at the Institute for the next 10 years. In 2004 Norah took on this role full-time and, in 2007, she was promoted to Senior Teaching Fellow. At the time of her death, she was an Honorary Senior Lecturer.

Norah’s many interests included a passion for stone tools and archaeological fieldwork. She did extensive fieldwork throughout her career, including excavation and analysis of Early Stone Age sites in East Africa, Acheulean and Magdalenian sites in Europe, and Middle Palaeolithic sites in Central Asia, the Near East and Egypt. Norah became even more active once she retired, and never missed an invitation to go to an excavation, be it in Belize, Spain, Egypt, Tanzania, Italy, and many more (Figure 6). And such invitations to participate in fieldwork were plenty, because everyone wanted Norah in their projects. There was no better field companion than Norah, who was invariably optimistic, always the first to get ready for work, the last to go to bed after a party, and always busy looking after everyone among the field crew. Because one of Norah’s strongest talents was how good she was in making everybody feel taken care of; having her in your excavation was the best insurance you could ever get.

Figure 6
Figure 6

Norah Moloney at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, in 2015 (Photo: Renata Peters).

Norah’s mark at the Institute of Archaeology will also be indelible. Norah’s office door was permanently open for students and colleagues alike. More than twenty cohorts of first-year students were lucky enough to have Norah to guide, motivate and inspire them. It didn’t make any difference when she retired, as she continued spending countless hours in helping graduate students with their research in the most altruistic and generous manner. And she was also a truly beloved colleague for so many of us at the Institute, who treasured her optimism, sense of humour, generosity and collegiality. Those of us who were fortunate to be mentored by Norah, and be able to enjoy her friendship, will never forget one of the kindest persons that I have ever met.

Ignacio de la Torre

Further obituaries can be found at:

Geoffrey John Tassie (1959–2019)

Geoffrey Tassie (“Tass”) (Figure 7) was an archaeologist whose research focussed on ancient Egypt, with specialisms in ancient hair and wigs, stone tools, field methods and cultural heritage management.

Figure 7
Figure 7

Geoffrey Tassie (“Tass”) on the Wadi el-Gamal at Merimde Beni Salama in 2014 (Photo: Sebastian Falk).

Tass enrolled on the first ‘Egyptian Archaeology’ BA degree at the Institute in 1992, having recently completed the Birkbeck Certificate in Egyptology. He quickly became embedded within the social fabric of the Institute, as a committee member of the Student Archaeology Society committee, and a regular participant in the ‘Primtech’ welcome weekend. Tass received an MA in 1997 and his PhD in 2009 with a thesis on The Social and Ritual Contextualisation of Ancient Egyptian Hair and Hairstyles from the Protodynastic to the End of the Old Kingdom. Tass’ interest in hair and wigs, came from his earlier career as a hairstylist (of some renown too), with famous names in the entertainment industry amongst his clients, as well as archaeologists.

In the 1990s, Tass began his fieldwork in Egypt on the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)/UCL archaeological mission to Kafr Hassan Dawood in the eastern Delta. Here, he took on the role of field director, playing a major role in the UNESCO-funded KHD field school in the winter of 1998–1999. This was one of the first field schools in Egypt to offer training to inspectors of the SCA. Tass continued to teach throughout his career, inspiring and encouraging students in and out of the classroom, at the Institute, in the Petrie Museum, at SOAS, and in Berlin. His passion for field methodology led to the publication of ‘Standards of Archaeological Excavation’ (2010).

Tass was engaged on inter-disciplinary projects in various parts of Egypt, including UCL’s the ‘Environmental history of Lake Qarun’, and ‘Site Management Strategy of Archaeological Sites of St Katherine Protectorate’, as well as his specialist work in Egyptian prehistory – especially stone objects – at Sa el-Hagar and as Deputy Director at Merimde Beni Salama. He was never restricted to prehistory, and he played a major role as Deputy Director at the Ptolemaic-Roman site of Quesna, where in 2010 he uncovered the first evidence of an Old Kingdom tomb, pushing the date of the site back two millennia. In summer 2018, Tass proudly initiated the Naqada Archaeological Survey and Site Management Project (University of Winchester/Egypt Exploration Society), laying the foundations for a management programme at this famous Predynastic site. Here, he worked hand in hand with the local inspectorate and his colleagues from Quft. This work will continue as he had planned. Tass’ research on prehistory culminated in the publication of his ‘Prehistoric Egypt’ (2014), still one of the few textbooks focussed on this theme.

When not in Egypt, he was actively enga-ged in research into Egypt, which included a re-assessment of artefacts from Hermann Junker’s excavations at Merimde Beni Salama ( at the Topoi Excellence Cluster of the Freie Universität in Berlin, where he was also a key organiser of the ‘Revolutions’ workshop, bringing together researchers with interests in Neolithisation in the Mediterranean basin/North Africa.

Tass maintained a deep concern with cultural heritage management, whether in Cornwall, as a director of North Cornwall Heritage (from 2007), through his teaching at the University of Winchester as Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer in Archaeology (from 2010) or in Egypt. He co-founded the Egyptian Cultural Heritage Organisation (ECHO) in the late 1990s, and organised two workshops on the management of Egypt’s heritage in London, published across two volumes (2009 and 2015), and had recently been researching prehistoric sites at risk for the ‘Earliest Egypt’ project (Newton-Mosharafa funded, Edinburgh; 2017–18).

What were to be Tass’ final eight months were spent in Egypt, where he was working at the Grand Egyptian Museum on the selection and description of artefacts of prehistoric and early historic date for the new galleries. Here, as everywhere, colleagues valued his warmth and the generosity with which he shared his incredible breadth of knowledge on the archaeology of ancient Egypt.

Joanne Rowland

Further obituaries can be found at:


1  Al-Gailani Werr, L 1988 Studies in the Chronology and Regional Style of Babylonian Cylinder Seals. Bibliotheca Mespotamica 23. Malibu, CA: Undena Publications.

2  Al-Gailani Werr, L 1992 Old Babylonian Cylinder Seals from the Hamrin (Edubba 2). London: Nabu.

3  Cleere, H 2006 Serial Nomination of the Silk Roads to the World Heritage List: A Concept Paper.

4  Cleere, H 2010 Management plans for archaeological sites: a World Heritage template. Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, 12 (1): 4–12. DOI:

5  Cleere, H 2011 The impact of World Heritage Listing. In: ICOMOS 17th General Assembly, Paris, France, 519–525. Paris: ICOMOS.

6  Cleere, H 2014 Authenticity in Archaeological Conservation and Preservation. In: Smith, C (ed.), Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, 720–724. New York: Springer. DOI:

7  Hubert, J (ed.) 2010 Madness, Disability and Social Exclusion: The Archaeology and Anthropology of ‘Difference’. One World Archaeology series 40. London: Routledge.

8  Hubert, J 2016 The Experience of Institutionalisation: Social Exclusion, Stigma and Loss of Identity. London: Routledge.

9  Hubert, J, Carmichael, D, Reeves, B and Schanche, A 1997 Sacred Sites, Sacred Places. One World Archaeology series 23. London: Routledge.

10  Hubert, J, Fforde, C and Turnbull, P 2004 The Dead and their Possessions: Repatriation in Principle, Policy and Practice. One World Archaeology series 43. London: Routledge.