A J Clark (1930 – 1997)

 A pioneer of archaeological geophysics.

Physics-based methods now play a vital role in helping archaeologists to discover new archaeological sites, and help to define and interpret sites that are not completely understood.  Clark described archaeological geophysics as the ability to “see beneath the soil”.

He was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, leaving at 16 to enter the publishing trade.  During the Second World War he joined the Photographic Interpretation School of the RAF and later worked for the Distillers Company Ltd in Epsom.  In this time he studied chemistry, maths and physics at Birkbeck College and pursued his archaeological interests.  He developed the Martin-Clark resistivity meter with John Martin, a colleague from the instrumentation section of the Distillers Company, which became commercially produced in 1960.

Clark became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities in 1961 and joined the Ancient Monuments Laboratory (of the then Ministry of Public Buildings and Works) to start the geophysics section.  Later he became a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Physics Department of Surrey University.  He became involved in supervising a range of student projects, including scientific methods of analysing archaeological materials, such as kilns, medieval glass, soils and tree-rings.

He supervised excavations at Guildford Manor Park in the 1970s and helped the Surrey Industrial History Group propose the Chilworth gunpowder site for protection as a Scheduled Monument.  His book “Seeing Beneath the Soil” was published in 1996.  His research interests are continued at the Clark Laboratory for the Museum of London Archaeology Service which opened in 1996.

Anthony John Clark, archaeologist: born Guildford, Surrey 22 March 1930; married 1966 Una Millet (died 1996; two sons); died Farnham, Surrey 3 June 1997. Obituary

One thought on “A J Clark (1930 – 1997)”

  1. Asish Ghosh says:

    I had the opportunity to work with Tony at the research laboratories of Distillers Company in 1960’s. I will always remember him for his inquisitive and interesting personality along with his fine sense of humor.
    I am glad that he made such a great contribution in the field of archaeological geophysics.
    Asish Ghosh

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