John Waechter

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In our last issue we reported the sudden death, on 5 March, of Dr John d’Arcy Waechter at the age of 62. He directed the excavations which the Royal Anthropological Institute sponsored at Swanscombe, a key site for the Lower Palaeolithic in Britain, between 1968 and 1972, and was also Honorary Secretary of the Institute from 1970 to 1973.

Well-known as a specialist in palaeolithic archaeology, he had worked in many countries in the Near East and Africa, as well as in Britain, and he also conducted an important excavation at Gorham’s Cave, Gibraltar, from 1949 to 1954. His early experience was gained working with Flinders Petrie and Garstang in the Near East, and with Wheeler at Maiden Castle during the 1930s.

After service with the Royal Air Force during the war he studied under Dr (later Professor) Dorothy Garrod at Cambridge, gaining his Ph.D. there in 1949. In 1953 he joined the staff of the London University Institute of Archaeology, where he was a Senior Lecturer at the time of his death.

He was involved in many expeditions and held various Visiting Professorships in both the New and Old Worlds. The RAI recognised his work at Swanscombe by the award of the Rivers Medal in 1972 (not, as stated in the last RAIN, 1974), and he also received the Henry Stopes Memorial Medal of the Geologists’ Association in 1976. A man of considerable charm and wide interests (which included nautical archaeology), he will be greatly missed by his colleagues and students.

This obituary first appeared as: RAI News. 1978. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 26, p. 10 Reproduced with permission.


To cite this article:

RAI News. 1978. ‘Obituary’. RAIN, No. 26, p. 10 (available on-line:


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