John Amyas Alexander

1922 - 2010

British archaeologist; he was born in Preston, Brighton 27 Jan. 1922, son of Charles A., who died in 1922 and Lily Blackman, a school teacher; he was educated at Varndeur School, 1933-40 and Borough Road College, 1940-1; he joined the army in 1941 and then the Indian Army, 1942; Captain, 1944; Major, 1945; he then studied history at Pembroke College, Cambridge, 1946-8; he became a teacher in the Sudan Education Service, 1948-53; he visited the excavation of Amara West by Shinnie and helped to prepare a register of archaeological sites, surveying from Karima to Wadi Halfa; he taught archaeology at Hantub and Ahlia and wrote the first school textbook on Sudanese archaeology; on his return to England, he retrained as a prehistorian at the Institute of Archaeology, 1953-5 and Pembroke College, 1955-8; PhD, 1958; Hon PhD, University of Khartoum, 1999; he became a tutor in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies, University of Cambridge,1958-68 and then at the University of London, 1968-76, before returning to Cambridge as a lecturer in archaeology, 1976-83; Visiting lecturer, University of Ghana, 1967, University of Ibadan, 1971; External Examiner, University of Khartoum, 1977-9; he took part in the excavation at Debeira West with Shinnie, 1963 and was in charge of the work at Qasr Ibrim, 1980-6; he surveyed Qalat Sai, 1996; FSA, 1958; Fellow of St. John’s College, 1976-2006; he founded and edited the Cambridge Monographs in African Archaeology,1980; he helped to found the Sudan Archaeological Research Society; vice-chairman, 1991-2001; he also served on the executive committees of the Egypt Exploration Society and the British Council of Archaeology; vice-pres. of the latter, 1998; he was one of the directors of the journal Antiquity, 1977-82; a volume of studies in his honour was published in Azania 39 (2004); he died 17 Aug. 2010.

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