Barry Cunliffe

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Sir Barry Cunliffe

Three Wise Men (Barry Cunliffe cropped).jpg
Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe in 2008
Barrington Windsor Cunliffe

(1939-12-10) 10 December 1939 (age 83)
Academic background
Alma mater St John's College, Cambridge

Sir Barrington Windsor Cunliffe, CBE , FBA , FSA (born 10 December 1939), known as Barry Cunliffe, is a British archaeologist and academic. He was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to 2007. Since 2007, he has been an emeritus professor.



The dolphin mosaic found by Cunliffe's team at Fishbourne Dolphin mosaic.JPG
The dolphin mosaic found by Cunliffe's team at Fishbourne

Cunliffe's decision to become an archaeologist was sparked at the age of nine by the discovery of Roman remains on his uncle's farm in Somerset. [1] After studying at Portsmouth Northern Grammar School (now the Mayfield School) and reading archaeology and anthropology at St John's College, Cambridge, he became a lecturer at the University of Bristol in 1963. [2] Fascinated by the Roman remains in nearby Bath he embarked on a programme of excavation and publication.

In 1966 he became an unusually young professor when he took the chair at the newly founded Department of Archaeology at the University of Southampton. There he became involved in the excavation (1961–1968) of the Fishbourne Roman Palace in Sussex. Another site in southern England led him away from the Roman period. He began a long series of summer excavations (1969–1988) of the Iron Age hill fort at Danebury, Hampshire and was subsequently involved in the Danebury Environs Programme (1989–1995). His interest in Iron Age Britain and Europe generated a number of publications and he became an acknowledged authority on the Celts.

Other sites he has worked on include Hengistbury Head in Dorset, Mount Batten in Devon, Le Câtel in Jersey, and Le Yaudet in Brittany, reflecting his interest in the communities of Atlantic Europe during the Iron Age. In his later works he sets out the thesis that Celtic culture originated along the length of the Atlantic seaboard in the Bronze Age before being taken inland, which stands in contrast to the more generally accepted view that Celtic origins lie with the Hallstatt culture of the Alps. One of his most recent projects has been in the Najerilla valley, La Rioja, Spain, which straddles "the interface between the Celtiberian heartland of central Iberia and the Atlantic zone of the Bay of Biscay". [3]

Cunliffe was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1979. [4] He lives with his wife in Oxford.

Cunliffe inspired the name for the character "Currant Bunliffe", an archaeologist in David Macaulay's 1979 book, Motel of the Mysteries.

Positions and honours


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Celts</span> Indo-European ethnolinguistic group

The Celts or Celtic peoples are a collection of Indo-European peoples in Europe and Anatolia, identified by their use of Celtic languages and other cultural similarities. Historical Celtic groups included the Britons, Boii, Celtiberians, Gaels, Gauls, Gallaeci, Galatians, Lepontii and their offshoots. The relation between ethnicity, language and culture in the Celtic world is unclear and debated; for example over the ways in which the Iron Age people of Britain and Ireland should be called Celts. In current scholarship, 'Celt' primarily refers to 'speakers of Celtic languages' rather than to a single ethnic group.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fishbourne Roman Palace</span> Roman palace near Chichester in West Sussex, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hillfort</span> Type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maiden Castle, Dorset</span> Iron Age hill fort in Dorset, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Celtiberians</span> Ancient Celtic peoples of the Iberian Peninsula

The Celtiberians were a group of Celts and Celticized peoples inhabiting an area in the central-northeastern Iberian Peninsula during the final centuries BCE. They were explicitly mentioned as being Celts by several classic authors. These tribes spoke the Celtiberian language and wrote it by adapting the Iberian alphabet, in the form of the Celtiberian script. The numerous inscriptions that have been discovered, some of them extensive, have allowed scholars to classify the Celtiberian language as a Celtic language, one of the Hispano-Celtic languages that were spoken in pre-Roman and early Roman Iberia. Archaeologically, many elements link Celtiberians with Celts in Central Europe, but also show large differences with both the Hallstatt culture and La Tène culture.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ancient Celtic religion</span> Religion practised by ancient Celtic people

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Atlantic Bronze Age</span> Period of approximately 1300-700 BC in Europe

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simon James (archaeologist)</span>

Simon James is an archeologist of the Iron Age and Roman period and an author. He is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Leicester in England. His research interests are the Roman world and its interactions with the Celts and Middle Eastern peoples.

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  1. History Today, vol 50, issue #9 "Digging for Joy"
  2. "CUNLIFFE, Sir Barrington Windsor, (Sir Barry)" . Who's Who . Vol. 2020 (online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. publisher notes, Cunliffe, B, Lock, G, A Valley in La Rioja: The Najerilla Project
  4. "Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe FBA". The British Academy. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  5. "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  6. "No. 53696". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1994. p. 9.
  7. "Honours: 'Jewel in the Crown' star appointed OBE" Archived 25 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine . The Independent . 17 June 2006. Accessed 2 October 2008.
  8. "Andy Burnham appoints interim chair for English Heritage". Archived from the original on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  9. "Académicos Correspondientes extranjeros". Real Academia de la Historia.