Neil Faulkner: obituary

Remembering Neil; 22 January 1958 – 4 February 2022. An obituary from Neil's friends and colleagues at Archaeology Worldwide.


This obituary was originally posted on the Archaeology Worldwide website and can be found here.

It is with immense sadness that we write of the death of our friend, the co-founder and contributing editor of Archaeology Worldwide, Dr Neil Faulkner.

Neil was well-known as a fieldwork archaeologist, historian, magazine editor, author, lecturer, broadcaster, and political activist. A Hegelian Marxist, his politics infused everything he did.

One of the most proactive archaeologists of our time, Neil excavated widely and indefatigably – from his Great Arab Revolt Project in Jordan to pioneering the archaeology of the cinema. While his long-running research project at Sedgeford, UK, not only produced fascinating insights into the workings of the Anglo Saxon period but also introduced hundreds of people to archaeological excavation and research.

Neil was a talented and prolific writer, covering archaeology, history, and politics – typically combing all three in any given text. With a history degree from Cambridge University, Neil took a PhD in Roman archaeology from UCL. His many books include Empire and Jihad: The Anglo Arab Wars of 1870-1920 (2021), Lawrence of Arabia’s War (2016), and A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics (2012).

His unusual breadth of knowledge, and sharp political insights, meant Neil had a nose for a good and novel story. For Neil, a bit of broken bit of pottery from Ipswich or Istanbul was not simply a bit of broken pottery. Instead, he could use the humblest of sherds to open a window onto the entire social order behind the pot.

An expert speaker, Neil frequently appeared on TV and radio, lectured widely, and led numerous historical/archaeological tours. We have uploaded a series of films on the history of the world, from Neil’s perspective here.

Neil’s light shone very brightly. His generosity of spirit was second to none. Having trained as a schoolteacher, he was mentor to many. He linked arms with the oppressed, spoke up, and pushed for change in the world.

Above all, Neil was the partner of Lucy Harris, and father of their three children, Tiggy, Rowena and Finnian. Our love and thoughts go out to the family.

Nadia Durrani and all at Archaeology Worldwide

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