A renowned expert in Roman archaeology.
Frere held influential university posts in the archaeology of the Roman Empire at Oxford and London. Formerly Emeritus Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at the University of Oxford, the archaeology of Roman Britain has been at the heart of Sheppard’s research interests, to which he has made a distinguished contribution.
Whilst teaching classics at Lancing College, West Sussex, he was responsible for excavations at Canterbury during the summer vacations. It was this that convinced him to go into archaeology full-time, and in 1954 he worked at Manchester University for a year. Subsequently he became the director of the Institute of Archaeology in London and excavated Verulamium, the important Roman town that is now St Albans, between 1955 1961. He then became Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Provinces at the University of London from 1961 to 1965 before becoming Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire at Oxford University. He retired in the early 1980s, but is still involved with archaeological report writing.
In Surrey, he participated in excavating a Roman Villa site at Walton on the Hill in 1939-1940 and the Roman bathhouse at Chatley Farm in 1942, which is published in the Surrey Archaeological Collections. Although primarily interested in the Roman era, Frere was involved with excavation sites and identifying finds from various periods in Surrey. He helped excavate an Early Bronze Age burial discovered at Epsom College in 1938 and was also responsible for reporting the occasional Prehistoric chance finds.