Sir Ian Archibald Richmond, 1902 -1965

Ian Archibald Richmond was, without doubt, one of the 20th century’s most respected British archaeologists and Romanists. Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, on the 10th May 1902, the son of surgeon Daniel Richmond and his wife Helen Harper, he was educated at Ruthin School and Corpus Christi College, Oxford (1920–24). He then spent two years in Rome, a period which led to the writing of his first book, The City Wall of Imperial Rome (1930), a major study of the third century Aurelian Wall. His first British appointment was in 1926 as a lecturer in classical archaeology and Ancient History at Queen’s University, Belfast, before returning to Rome in 1930 as Director of the British School at Rome.


The list of his achievements and publications would be far too long to publish here. Suffice to say he was Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at the University of Oxford from 1956, President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies from 1958 to 1961, Director of the Society of Antiquaries of London from 1959 to 1964, and was knighted in 1964, just a year before his untimely death in 1965. Most important is the regard in which he was held by his peers, as evidenced by his obituary by Sheppard Frere in the Journal of Roman Studies

"We must record the indefatigability of his labours in the service of archaeology and pay tribute to the wide horizons of his learning, and to the unfailing generosity which placed its resources at the disposal of all who asked. It was not an unusual experience to know that he was engaged on tasks A and B, either of which might strain the leisure of an ordinary mortal, and then to hear quite by chance from someone else how fully he was engaged on tasks C and D: yet all were done with equal thoroughness."