Verulamium archaeologist dies

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 March 2015

Sheppard Frere

Sheppard Frere

Archant

The archaeologist whose ground-breaking excavations at Verulamium revealed that the Roman city was destroyed by Boudicca’s army in AD60-61 has died at the age of 98.

Sheppard Frere, professor of the archaeology of the Roman Empire at Oxford University, was best known for his work at Verulamium from 1955-61.

The excavation was among the largest undertaken in Britain up to that time and Prof Frere oversaw eight-week stints during three summers at Verulamium helped by more than 100 volunteer assistants.

He substantially revised the outlines of the history of Verulamium carried out by Sir Mortimer Wheeler 25 years earlier and as well as establishing Boudicca’s sacking of Verulamium by the discovery of a thick layer of burnt material which demonstrated that the city had been sacked, he also discovered that Verulamium had been enclosed by a defensive bank and ditch.

In addition, his work enabled him to revise the date the Romans left this country - he found that in Verulamium Roman buildings were still being constructed for at least 50 years after the Romans were thought to have relinquished control of Britannia.

Prof Frere read classics and ancient history at Magdalene College, Cambridge, but it was not until the 1950s that he took up a post as lecturer in archaeology at Manchester University. He was then appointed reader in archaeology of the Roman Provinces at the Institute of Archaeology, London University, taking over from Sir Mortimer Wheeler who had retired.

During his time in St Albans he was known as a colourful character who used to arrive at the site in his vintage Rolls Royce.

In the years that followed his time at Verulamium, he worked on many other sites until his retirement in 1983 but continued publishing works on Roman Britain until late into his life.

More news stories

15:51

A London Colney primary school went the extra mile for its nativity play by including a real donkey and baby.

15:00

A solicitor is raising awareness of mental well-being in her workplace by utilising the specialist training she has attended.

14:29

Legendary Hertfordshire band The Zombies will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year. Alan Davies spoke with the group’s lead singer Colin Blunstone.

Two men have been arrested in connection with a burglary in St Albans.

CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards