Stuart Piggott

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Stuart Piggott (born May 28, 1910 , Petersfield (Hampshire) , † September 23, 1996 with Wantage ) was a British prehistoric scientist .


His ancestors were teachers and farmers from the Uffington area (where the prehistoric Uffington White Horse is located). Piggott attended Churcher's College in Petersfield, Hampshire , where his father was a teacher, and after graduating in 1927 worked at the Reading Museum , where he studied Neolithic ceramics.

From 1928 he worked for the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales for several years and dug at Butser Hill near Petersfield and was involved in the excavations of Eliot and Cecil Curwen (friends of his father) at The Trundle mine in Sussex . There he also met the archaeologists Grahame Clarke and Charles Phillips from Cambridge. In the 1930s he did a lot of digging in Wessex with Alexander Keiller , who had taken over his family's jam factory, but also made a name for himself as an archaeologist, especially in Avebury . Piggott was involved in the founding of the Prehistoric Society and in 1936 earned his first degree as an archaeologist at the Institute of Archeology at the University of London with Mortimer Wheeler . There he also met his future wife and was involved with her in the excavations of Sutton Hoo in 1939 (at the invitation of Charles Phillips). During World War II he worked as an aerial photograph evaluator in India, but also studied Indian archeology, which led to two books. After the war he was in Oxford and from 1946 professor of archeology at the University of Edinburgh as the successor to Vere Gordon Childe . In 1977 he retired.

In 1938 he introduced the concept of the Bronze Age Wessex culture . He wrote some overviews of British prehistory, which were standard works of his time.

He often excavated with his assistant Richard JC Atkinson , including at Cairnpapple Hill in West Lothian , Wayland's Smithy in Oxfordshire and West Kennet Long Barrow (1955/56) and Stonehenge (1950 and with Atkinson as the main excavator in 1956) in Wiltshire .

From 1946 until his retirement in 1977, Piggott held the chair of prehistoric archeology at the University of Edinburgh , named after its founder John Abercromby , as the successor to Vere Gordon Childe . In 1953 he became a member of the British Academy and in 1957 the Royal Society of Edinburgh . In 1960 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . 1960 to 1963 he was President of the Prehistoric Society, 1967 to 1972 President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and 1967 to 1970 of the Council for British Archeology . From 1968 to 1974 he was a trustee of the British Museum . In 1972 he became Commander of the Order of the British Empire . In 1983 he received the Gold Medal from the Society of Antiquaries of London and in 1992 the Grahame Clarke Medal for contributions to prehistoric archeology from the British Academy.


  • Ancient Europe from the beginnings of agriculture to classical antiquity. A survey , Edinburgh University Press 1965
  • with Grahame Clarke The age of the British Flint Mines , In: Antiquity 7, 1933, 166-183
  • The early Bronze Age in Wessex, In: Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 4, 1938, pp. 52-106
  • Some Ancient Cities of India, Oxford University Press 1946
  • Prehistoric India to 1000 BC, Penguin 1950
  • William Stukeley , an eighteenth-century antiquary , Oxford, Clarendon Press 1950.
  • Scotland before History: an essay, New York: Nelson 1958
  • The Prehistoric People of Scotland, London 1962
  • British Prehistory, Oxford UP 1949
  • Approach to Archeology, London: AE Black 1959
  • Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles: a study of the stone-using agricultural communities of Britain in the second millennium BC, Cambridge University Press 1954
  • Abercromby and After. The Beaker Cultures of Britain Re-examined , in ILL Foster, L. Alcock (Ed.): Essays in Honor of Sir Cyril Fox , 1963
  • The Druids. ( Ancient Peoples and Places ) New York: Praeger 1968
  • with Grahame Clark: Prehistoric Societies, Penguin 1970
  • The Earliest Wheeled Transport: from the Atlantic Coast to the Caspian Sea, Cornell University Press 1983
  • Wagon, Chariot and Carriage, Thames and Hudson, 1992
  • Ancient Britons and the Antiquarian Imagination: ideas from the Renaissance to the Regency, Thames and Hudson 1989
  • (Ed.): The dawn of civilization; the first world survey of human cultures in early times , McGraw Hill 1961
    • German translation: The world we come from. The prehistory of mankind , Droemer / Knaur, Munich 1961


  • Roger Mercer: Stuart Piggott 1910-1996. In: Proceedings of the British Academy 97, 1998, pp. 413-442 ( full text ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The tradition of archeology at Edinburgh on the University of Edinburgh website, accessed July 16, 2018
  2. ^ Fellows Directory. Biographical Index: Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002. (PDF file) Royal Society of Edinburgh, accessed March 30, 2020 .