Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler FRS FBA FSA was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army. He is recognised as one of the most important British archaeologists of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Military Cross for his services in World War I. He died in a car crash in London in 1998. He left behind a wife and two children, one of whom died in childbirth.
About Mortimer Wheeler in brief
Sir Robert Eric Mortimer Wheeler FRS FBA FSA was a British archaeologist and officer in the British Army. Over the course of his career, he served as Director of both the National Museum of Wales and London Museum, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, and the founder and Honorary Director of the Institute of Archaeology in London. He is recognised as one of the most important British archaeologists of the twentieth century, responsible for successfully encouraging British public interest in the discipline. However, many of his specific interpretations of archaeological sites have been discredited or reinterpreted and he was often criticised for bullying colleagues and sexually harassing young women. In later life, his popular books, cruise ship lectures, and appearances on radio and television, particularly the BBC series Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?, helped to bring archaeology to a mass audience. He was awarded the Military Cross for his services in World War I. He died in a car crash in London in 1998. He left behind a wife and two children, one of whom died in childbirth. His widow, Emily Wheeler, died in 2011, aged 89, and is survived by her husband and their two children. She was the niece of Thomas Spencer Baynes, a Shakespearean scholar at St. Andrews University. Wheeler was also the great-nephew of the writer and playwright William Makepeace Thackeray. He also had a son, Peter, who died in 2007.
He has written 24 books on archaeological subjects, including several on the Roman and Iron Age periods, and a number of guides to the archaeology of the Roman period. He wrote about discovering a late prehistoric cup-marked stone and digging into a barrow on Baildon Moor, Ilkley, Yorkshire, for the first time in his later life. He had a daughter, Amy, who he called ‘Boberic’ or ‘Amy Boberic’, after the name of his first wife, Tessa Wheeler. Wheeler died of a heart attack in 2008, aged 90. He leaves behind a son and two daughters, Peter and Amy, both of whom are now in their 60s and 70s, and his wife Emily, who is now in her 60s. Wheeler is buried in a plot of land he inherited from his father in the village of Saltaire, near Bradford in the northeast of England. His wife Emily Wheeler died in 2010, aged 87, and he is buried next to his daughter Amy in a nearby village. Wheeler’s son Peter died in 2012, at the age of 89. He will be buried alongside his wife, Emily, and their daughter Amy, in a private ceremony at the University of London. Wheeler also has a daughter named Amy Wheeler, who was born in 1973. He lived in Bradford, where he was inspired by the surrounding Saltaire moors and was fascinated by the area’s archaeology. In his youth, he considered becoming a Baptist minister, but instead became a staunch freethinker while studying at University of Edinburgh.
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